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African Union to probe rape, child abuse charges against Darfur peacekeepers

[JURIST] The African Union (AU) [official website, JURIST news archive] says that it will "take all necessary measures to establish the facts" concerning accusations of rape and child abuse brought against members of its peace-monitoring forces in Sudan's Darfur region [JURIST news archive] and will form an independent panel to probe the matter. AU forces, numbering over 7,000, have entered Darfur to observe an uncertain cease-fire stemming from the Sudan Liberation Army's (SLA) violent takeover and occupation of more than 90 villages in the Gereida area. The SLA takeover has resulted in deaths in the tens of thousands and has forced two million into camps, prompting Washington to call the situation a genocide [HRW materials].

The underfunded AU mission in Darfur is already the focus of international criticism, with other states, international agencies [JURIST report] and rights groups calling for a UN takeover of the Darfur operation, currently scheduled for September 30 [JURIST report]. The Sudan government has thusfar rejected that option [JURIST news report] as a challenge to the country's sovereignty. Reuters has more. The Sudan Tribune has local coverage.

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