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Some 120 said to be killed or wounded in attack in Sudan's Darfur region -U.N.

More than 60 people were reported killed and nearly 60 others wounded during an armed attack in a village in Sudan's restive Darfur region on Saturday, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said late on Sunday.

By Khalid Abdelaziz

KHARTOUM, July 26 (Reuters) - More than 60 people were reported killed and nearly 60 others wounded during an armed attack in a village in Sudan's restive Darfur region on Saturday, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said late on Sunday.

The attack in Masteri village in the West Darfur state "was one of the latest of a series of security incidents reported over the last week that left several villages and houses burned, markets and shops looted, and infrastructure damaged," the U.N. body added in a statement. It did not cite the source of its information.

There was no official word from the government on the incident and Reuters was not able to reach officials for comment.

Sudan said on Sunday it would deploy joint forces from various state security services in Darfur after renewed violence there recently, SUNA, the state news agency, reported.

The forces will be deployed to the region's five states "to protect people and secure the agriculture season", Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said during a meeting in Khartoum with a delegation of women from Darfur. No further details were given.

The country's Security and Defense Council stressed the importance of "using the force necessary to save lives and property, confront all forms of lawlessness and support equal citizenship rights," it said after a meeting on Sunday.

In a separate incident, at least 20 people died and 22 others were injured after gunmen from an unidentified militia attacked a village in the state of South Darfur, witnesses and a local community leader said on Saturday.

On Sunday, three people, including a woman, were killed during a renewed dispute between farmers and shepherds in the Al-Jarf area in North Darfur state, SUNA reported, adding that security forces intervened and separated the two sides.

Recent violence by militias in North Darfur prompted authorities to declare a state of emergency on July 13.

"The escalation of violence in different parts of Darfur region is leading to increased displacement, compromising the agricultural season, causing loss of lives and livelihoods and driving growing humanitarian needs," the United Nations said.

The conflict started in Darfur, in the west of Sudan, in 2003 after mostly non-Arab rebels rose up against the Khartoum government. Government forces and mainly Arab militia, which moved to suppress the revolt, were accused of widespread atrocities. Some 300,000 people were killed in the conflict, according to U.N. estimates.

Omar al-Bashir, Sudan's ousted leader, is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

Sudan's transitional government is negotiating with some main rebel groups in Darfur aiming to reach a peace deal.

(Additional reporting by Nayera Abdallah and Samar Hassan in Cairo; Writing by Mahmoud Mourad; Editing by Peter Cooney)

((mahmoud.mourad@thomsonreuters.com))

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