An independent United Nations human rights expert today called on the Sudanese Government to urgently probe a recent attack in North Darfur that left dozens of civilians dead.

Mohamed Chande Othman, the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, called for a “thorough and transparent investigation” into the 2 September attack in the village of Tabarat.

“This incident should be investigated thoroughly and impartially and those responsible should be brought to justice,” he stated in a news release.

Mr. Chande Othman said that new information gathered over the past 10 days appears to confirm initial reports that more than 37 people were killed and over 50 injured after a militia group, identified by several witnesses as Janjaweed, attacked civilians gathered in a marketplace in the village.

“I am deeply disturbed about these killings which highlight the continuing deterioration of the situation in Darfur,” said the expert.

The incident is one of several fresh clashes in the strife-torn region of Darfur, where fighting between Government forces, allied Janjaweed militiamen and rebel groups has raged on and off for seven years.

Mr. Chande Othman urged the international community to continue its efforts to assist the African Union-UN peacekeeping mission (UNAMID), which has been in place since the start of 2008, to provide effective protection to civilians.

He also voiced concern that UNAMID teams that were dispatched to the area to assess the situation were initially prevented from reaching the village of Tabarat by Sudanese armed forces and an armed group.

Mr. Chande Othman, who was appointed to his post in October 2009, undertook his first fact-finding mission to Sudan earlier this year. He reports to the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council in an independent and unpaid capacity.