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U.N. calls for probe into Darfur violence

  |   Aug. 3, 2012 at 11:52 AM
GENEVA, Switzerland, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- The United Nations calls on the government of Sudan to conduct an investigation into violence targeting civilians this week in the restive Darfur region.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights reports that at least eight people, including five teenagers, were killed and 50 others were injured when security forces fired on demonstrators in Darfur.

Ravina Shamdasani, acting spokeswoman for the OHCHR, said Khartoum is called on to condemn the use of heavy force against peaceful demonstrators.

"We urge the government to promptly launch an independent and credible investigation into the violence and the apparent excessive use of force by security forces," she said in a statement.

Mass protests erupted in Khartoum last month as the government unveiled austerity measures. It's unclear if the Darfur protests were related.

The U.N. Security Council this week expressed deep concern about insecurity in Darfur in a resolution extending the mandate for a hybrid peacekeeping missing with the African Union.

It opted, however, to cut down on the military and police component of the peacekeeping force in order to focus on parts of Darfur "with the highest security threats."

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