Sudan to Cut Paramilitary Forces in Darfur
In a goodwill gesture on the eve of peace talks, Sudan said Sunday it would reduce paramilitary forces in Darfur by 30 percent to try to ease tensions in the western region, where an 18-month conflict has killed an estimated 30,000 people. The reduction of the volunteer force was ordered to build confidence ahead of African Union-sponsored peace talks starting Monday in Nigeria between government officials and two African rebel groups, said Sudan’s state minister for interior affairs, Ahmed Mohamed Haroon. Also, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, who also is chairman of the AU, said the organization should work with the Sudanese government to disarm the rebels. The AU is sending 300 troops to help protect monitors observing a little-respected cease-fire hammered out in April talks hosted by neighboring Chad.