( AFP ) - Darfur rebels on Sunday accused Khartoum troops of kidnapping six of its ceasefire monitors from the African Union base where they were staying in the ravaged western Sudanese region.
The leader of the AU peacekeepers later confirmed the incident.
The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) said on its website that an armoured unit entered the headquarters of the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) in Darfur's main town of Al-Fasher overnight.
A JEM spokesman who asked not to be named said the troops took away six JEM fighters who were taking part in the joint ceasefire commission that is supposed to be monitoring truce violations, of which there are reportedly many.
he JEM statement denounced the "violation of the immunity of a regional organisation," saying Khartoum had full responsibility for the men who were taken "to an unknown destination."
It said the African Union should "assume its responsibilities" and assure the men's safety and release.
AMIS chief General Martin Agwai in a statement confirmed that six JEM representatives had been detained and said everything was being done to secure their release.
He also said he regretted the resumption of hostilities between the JEM and government forces in northern Western Darfur and "JEM's publicly stated insistence on using force to address the conflict in Darfur."
Agwai called on "all parties to use restraint and renew their commitment to a viable ceasefire."
The JEM has claimed several attacks in recent months, notably two on foreign-operated oil fields in the neighbouring region of Kordofan.
The Sudanese military was not immediately available to comment on the abduction.
A beefed-up joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping force is set to take over from the current under-manned AU force on Monday in a bid to end years of bloodshed.
The United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) -- the UN's largest -- will eventually consist of 20,000 troops and 6,000 police and civilian personnel although only around 9,000 troops and soldiers are currently in place.