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( Human Rights Watch) – Sudan government documents incontrovertibly show that government officials directed recruitment, arming and other support to the ethnic militias known as the Janjaweed, Human Rights Watch said today. The government of Sudan has consistently denied recruiting and arming the Janjaweed militias, including during the recent visits of U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Human Rights Watch said that Sudanese government forces and government-backed militias are responsible for crimes against humanity, war crimes and “ethnic cleansing” involving aerial and ground attacks on civilians of the same ethnicity as members of two rebel groups in Darfur . In a series of official Arabic-language documents from government authorities in North and South Darfur dating from February and March 2004, officials call for recruitment and military support, including “provisions and ammunition” to be delivered to known Janjaweed militia leaders, camps and “loyalist tribes.” While the government has committed itself to disarming “outlawed” groups, including the rebel insurgency, it is unclear whether the government considers the Janjaweed militias it has supported as among the groups to be disarmed. There are increasing reports that Janjaweed militia members are being absorbed into the new police forces deployed by the government to “protect” civilians in Darfur .