NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- U.N. and African Union leaders are condemning a militia-backed attack by government forces in Sudan against a rebel group in Darfur.
Violence in Sudan's Darfur region has created more than 25,000 new refugees in the past three weeks.
Turid Laegreid, head of the sub-office of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for North Darfur, said 18,000 people have made their way to refugee camps. She told the Integrated Regional Information Network areas in Darfur that are off-limits to aid workers are getting bigger.
"We have seen increased attacks against civilians -- including the killing of civilians. They are mostly beaten, forced to leave their villages, and then cannot move freely, even while they flee," Laegreid said.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's Special Representative Jan Pronk and the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission in Sudan, Baba Gana Kingibe, expressed "utmost concern" about last week's attack against the group, which has not signed the Darfur Peace Agreement.
A political analyst who did not want his name used said the Sudanese government and the SLMA have used the peace agreement as cover while attacking the other two factions.