For the first time since a bloody conflict began there four years ago, Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir this week visited the Darfur region. The civil war broke out in 2003, when rebels from ethnic African tribes rose up against al-Bashir’s Arab-dominated government. Al-Bashir unleashed Arab militias against the tribes, and more than 450,000 people were killed in what the U.S. calls an act of genocide. Two weeks ago, the U.S. envoy to Sudan accused al-Bashir’s government of bombing villages in Darfur and resettling Arabs there. Al-Bashir told Darfur residents to ignore such news. “This is but a plot that seeks to divide people as Arabs and blacks,” al-Bashir said.
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