KHARTOUM, Sudan – Angelina Jolie (search), visiting Sudan in her role as U.N. goodwill ambassador, said it's too soon for refugees from western Darfur to return to their homes, as the government is urging.
"Return, I believe, is what the government wants to see happen. We would all like to see that happen. But the sense I got from the people and from my observations during this visit, it clearly is not the time," the Oscar-winning actress said Wednesday.
She said an officer from the African Union (search) troops monitoring the situation in Darfur (search) told her that a village had been raided and destroyed Tuesday. Jolie also said she was told of a woman and her 12-year-old daughter who were raped repeatedly last week.
Jolie said such accounts are "shocking and horrifying and showed very clearly that there is no stability yet."
"This is the worst situation I have seen," she said, during her visits to about 20 countries across the world as U.N. goodwill ambassador.
"What is going on here and what happened to the women is just unbelievably horrible," she said. During her three-day visit, Jolie traveled to refugee camps and met with aid groups, U.N. agencies and African Union troops.
At least 70,000 people have died and 1.5 million have been forced from their homes in the fighting, which began in February 2003 when two rebel groups took up arms over what they regarded as unjust treatment by the government and ethnic Arab countrymen. Major bloodshed ensued when pro-government militias reacted by attacking villages in Darfur.
African Union mediators are trying to broker peace talks in Nigeria, but those talks were complicated Wednesday by rebel accusations that new government air raids killed 26 civilians. A Sudanese army official denied the report.
Jolie won a best-supporting actress Oscar for 1999's "Girl, Interrupted." Her screen credits also include the "Tomb Raider" films and the upcoming "Alexander."