UN envoy visits Darfur rebel heartland to muster support for peace talks

The UN special envoy for Darfur toured the tribal heartland of the region's top rebel, trying to draw the reluctant chief's followers into new peace talks that have stalled since October. But Jan Eliasson's effort Saturday faced firm opposition by local Fur tribesmen, hardened by what they describe as years of persecution at the hands of the Sudanese government. Most Fur tribal chiefs follow rebel leader Abdulwahid Elnur, who is boycotting the UN-brokered peace talks until a planned UN-African Union peacekeeping force of 26,000 deploys in the region and proves effective in ending the bloodshed. Among those skeptical of peace talks was Elnur's elderly father. "Tell my son we are proud of him, that he must continue the fight because we are dying," Mohamed Ahmed Elnur told The Associated Press.