South Sudan cluster of homes.

South and Darfur, East Sudan is one of the least developed areas of the world and life here is tough.

Photo: BBC
Cluster of homes
South and Darfur, East Sudan are one of the least developed areas of the world and life here is tough
 
Wednesday, 17 December 2008
'Thousands made slaves' in Darfur
Strong evidence has emerged of children and adults being used as slaves in Sudan's Darfur region, a study says.
A Sudanese rebel fighter watches an abandoned village less than an hour after Janjaweed militiamen set it ablaze in Darfur in September 2004.
A Sudanese rebel fighter watches an abandoned village less than an hour after Janjaweed militiamen set it ablaze in Darfur in September 2004.
Kidnapped men have been forced to work on farmland controlled by Janjaweed militias, the Darfur Consortium says.
Refugee

Being in a refugee camp is no safeguard against attack by militiamen
Being in a refugee camp is no safeguard against attack by militiamen
Eyewitnesses also say the Sudanese army has been involved in abducting women and children to be sex slaves and domestic staff for troops in Khartoum.
Up to 300,000 people have died and 2.7 million have fled their homes since conflict began in Darfur in 2003.
Sudan's government has not yet commented on the allegations in the report, published on Wednesday.
The Darfur Consortium says it has around 100 eyewitness accounts from former abductees.
Thousands of people from non-Arabic speaking ethnic groups in Darfur have been targeted, its report says.
Victims have been rounded up during joint attacks on villages by the Arabic-speaking Janjaweed and the Sudanese Armed Forces, according to the study.
Civilians are also tortured and killed while their villages are razed to ethnically cleanse areas, which are then repopulated with Arabic-speaking people, including nomads from Chad, Niger, Mali and Cameroon, it says.
They were kept telling
us that we are not
human beings and we
are here to serve them
Testimony from unnamed boy
Most of the abductees are women and girls, but there is new evidence in Darfur of kidnappers targeting men and boys for forced agricultural labour, says the report.
The abducted women and girls, meanwhile, are raped and forced to marry their captors as well as carry out household chores and sometimes cultivate crops, according to the study.
'Told to serve'
The report includes the testimony of children forced to become domestic workers.
One boy said he had suffered regular beatings from his Janjaweed abductors.
Child baby refugee Darfur, Sudan

Darfur kidnapped children are being made domestic slaves, says the study
Kidnapped children are being made domestic slaves, says the study
"They were treating me and the other boys very badly, they kept telling us that we are not human beings and we are here to serve them, I also worked on their farms," he said.
A woman said she was kidnapped from a refugee camp and her captors "used us like their wives in the night and during the day we worked all the time.
"The men they abducted with us were used to look after their livestock.
We worked all day, all week with no rest."
Sudan's government has always denied the existence of slavery in the country, although Khartoum has previously admitted abductions occurred in the north-south civil war of 1983-2005, when up to 14,000 people were kidnapped.
But a senior Sudanese politician who did not wanted to be named said kidnappings had also occurred more recently in Darfur.
"The army captured many children and women hiding in the bush outside burnt villages," he told the report's authors.
"They were transported by plane to Khartoum at night and divided up among soldiers as domestic workers and, in some cases, wives."
A Rwandan African Union soldier surveys an abandoned village in Darfur in June 2006.

The report calls for the joint UN-AU force to be beefed-up.
A Rwandan African Union soldier surveys an abandoned village in Darfur in June 2006
The report calls for the joint UN-AU force to be beefed-up
Call to action
The report urged Sudan's government to disband the Janjaweed and other militia and to fully co-operate with the United Nations and the African Union.
Dismas Nkunda, co-chair of the Darfur Consortium, said: "Urgent action is clearly required to prevent further abductions and associated human rights violations, and to release and assist those who are still being held."
The study also calls for the mandate of the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur (Unamid) to be beefed up so it can use force to protect civilians.
The Darfur Consortium also wants Khartoum to prosecute all those responsible for abductions and ban them from holding public office.
It notes that no-one has ever been arrested over the wave of kidnappings.
MMVIII
 
Saturday, 6 September 2008
Sudan army 'attacks Darfur towns'
A member of the Sudan Liberation Army

The five-year conflict in Darfur has left 300,000 people dead
A member of the Sudan Liberation Army
The five-year conflict in Darfur has left 300,000 people dead
Sudanese government troops have launched attacks on two towns in Darfur, three rebel groups in the region have said.
The rebels said the troops, backed by militias, helicopters and planes, had attacked Disa and Birmaza in North Darfur state early on Saturday.
The joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur said it was investigating the reports.
There has been no comment on the rebel claims from the Sudanese military.
'String of attacks'
"There are many dead, both civilians and some of our soldiers too," a commander of a faction of the rebel Sudan Liberation Army, Ibrahim al-Helwu, was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.
"The fighting is still going on, they are inside the town and are looting," he said from Disa.
Commanders of two other rebel groups also said their forces in the area, north of the town of Kutum, were also involved in the fighting.
Map of Sudan Dafur Kutum
Rebel groups have accused government forces of launching a string of attacks on insurgent-held areas in North Darfur in recent months.
One rebel commander, Sherif Harir, from the Sudan Liberation Movement — Unity faction, said Khartoum was trying to wrest control of key transport routes and oil reserves in the area, Reuters news agency reported.
The five-year conflict in Darfur has led to the deaths of more than 300,000 people and the displacement of two million others, according to UN estimates.
The violence began in 2003 when rebel groups complaining of discrimination against black Africans began attacking government targets.
Akech Arol Deng

Akech Arol Deng has not seen his wife and son since they were seized by Arab militias from their home in south Sudan 19 years ago.
Not seen wife and son for 19 years ago.
Friday, 16 March 2007
No return for Sudan's forgotten slaves
By Joseph Winter
BBC News, southern Sudan
Akech Arol Deng has not seen his wife and son since they were seized by Arab militias from their home in south Sudan 19 years ago.
His son, Deng, was just three years old at the time but Mr Arol is sure they are still alive, being used as slaves in the north.
"I miss them so much.   I really hope that one day they come back," Mr Arol told the BBC News website mournfully in his home of Malualbai, just a few hours' on horseback from the Bahr el-Arab river which divides Muslim northern Sudan from the Christian and Animist south.
Arek Anyiel Deng

It's like I was still in the camp, it's the same situation as in the north
It's like I was still in the camp, it's the same situation as in the north
Arek Anyiel Deng

Some 8,000 people are believed to be living in slavery in Sudan, 200 years after Britain banned the Atlantic slave trade and 153 years after it also tried to abolish slavery in Sudan.
But rows about money mean no-one is doing anything to free them.
In the same year that Mr Arol's family was kidnapped, Arek Anyiel Deng, aged about 10, was seized from her home, not far from Malualbai.
Arab militias rode in to her village on horseback, firing their guns.
When the adults fled, the children and cattle were rounded up and made to walk north for five days before they were divided between members of the raiding party.
Forced conversions
Ms Anyiel returned home under a government scheme last year.
"My abductor told me that I was his slave and I had to do all the work he told me to — fetching water and firewood, looking after animals and farming," she said.
"When I was 12, he said he wanted to sleep with me.   I could not refuse because I was a slave, I had to do everything he wanted, or he could have killed me."
Such raids were a common feature of Sudan's 21-year north-south war, which ended in 2005.
The northern government is widely believed to have armed the Arab militias in order to terrorise the southern population and distract rebel forces from attacking government targets.
According to a study by the Kenya-based Rift Valley Institute, some 11,000 young boys and girls were seized and taken across the internal border — many to the states of South Darfur and West Kordofan.
The boys generally looked after cattle, while the girls mostly did domestic chores before being "married", often as young as 12.
Most were forcibly converted to Islam, given Muslim names and told not to speak their mother tongue.
Akech Arol Deng

Akech Arol Deng has not seen his wife and son since they were seized by Arab militias from their home in south Sudan 19 years ago.
Boys were forced to look after cattle all day.
War of words
Sudan's government has always rejected claims that people are living in slavery but admits that thousands were abducted during the war.
It says this is an ancient tradition of hostage-taking by rival ethnic groups.
One senior government official strenuously denied there was any slavery in Sudan but bizarrely acknowledged: "It was the same as when people were taken from West Africa to America."
Sudan abduction zone for slavery.

No return for Sudan's forgotten slaves.

It's like I was still in the camp, it's the same situation as in the north

The United Nations defines slavery as: "The status or condition of a person over whom any or all of the powers attaching to the right of ownership are exercised."
Ms Anyiel and several others we spoke to certainly seemed to have been living in conditions of slavery — having been abducted, subjected to forced labour and often beaten.
To be able to work with the return programme the government set up in 1999 under intense international pressure, donors agreed to use the euphemism "abductee".
About 3,000 were taken back home before the programme ran out of money in 2005.
Donors pulled out, saying some were not genuine slaves, some had been returned against their will and had been left to fend for themselves in the desolate, under-developed south.
The government then funded the return for a while but strangely, the end of the war seems to have taken the urgency out of the project.
The governments in both north and the autonomous south seem more interested in spending their new oil wealth.
Officials from both administrations say they are still working out their new policy on the "abductee file".
Disillusioned
Ahmed Mufti from the government's Committee for the Eradication of Abduction of Women and Children (CEAWC) says the Arab tribal leaders are now more than happy to release the "abductees" but his group does not have the $3m he estimates it would need to arrange transport and pay officials to organise the operation.
Dinka woman with traditional facial scars

Dinka facial markings help identify children even if they have forgotten their names
Dinka woman with traditional facial scars
Dinka facial markings help identify children even if they have forgotten their names
Faced with this lack of progress, James Aguer, the man at the forefront of the campaign to free Sudan's slaves, is becoming increasingly disillusioned after spending some 20 years risking his life for the cause.
"With peace, I thought they would be freed by now," he says bitterly.
He says he has the names and location of 8,000 people, who could easily be freed from the Arab cattle camps, as soon as the political will is there.
He says the true number of those being forced to work against their will without pay in Sudan is more than 200,000, although most donors believe that is an exaggeration.
Sitting on the dusty ground outside the abandoned mud hut where she and her five children now live, Ms Anyiel is delighted to have finally gained her freedom and to be able to make decisions about her own life.
But freedom is not necessarily easy — she now has to support the children on her own, with no assistance from donors or the government.
Her only income comes from collecting firewood in the bush to sell in the local market.
"It's like I was still in the camp, it's the same situation as in the north," she complains.
Tribal markings
Ghada Kachachi, from United Nations' children's agency Unicef, uses Ms Anyiel's case to explain why funding was stopped for CEAWC's return programme.
She says those who are freed must be helped when they get back home — both economically and socially, as they move from an Arabic society to the Dinka community some left 20 years ago.
But campaigners say the first priority must be to free them from slavery and then sort out the details of their return.
Ms Kachachi also points out that it can be difficult to trace the parents of children abducted in a war zone up to 20 years ago.
Some have forgotten their real names and where they come from, although they can sometimes be identified by the marks cut into their faces as children - a part of Dinka traditions.
Save the Children UK is still helping foster parents look after some children several years after they returned "home".
While officials debate the best way to organise the return, Mr Arol and many others are just desperate to see their loved ones again.
He has gone to meet four different convoys of returned abductees in the hope of being reunited with his family, only to be disappointed each time.
"I always ask God, why other children come back but not mine. What have I done to deserve this?" he asks.
MMVIII
Picture: DigitalGlobe, Inc. and US Department of State via USAID
Satellite image of destroyed village in the Darfur region of western Sudan.
The conflict in Sudan's western Darfur region has its history in a territorial dispute between nomads and pastoralists
Nomads have been encroaching on farming communities in Darfur for many years and the Janjaweed (men on horses) campaign is an extension of this activity.
In February 2003 two rebel groups, formed from the black African Zaghawah, Masalit and Fur tribes in Darfur, took up arms against the government, arguing Khartoum had neglected the vast western region (the size of France) and was failing to protect the people from the militias.
This was seen as another uprising by the government, similar to the uprising in the south in which a treaty in 2004 has established a period of semi-independence for southern Sudan for six years, to be followed by a plebiscite to determine the future of the southern region of mostly Christian and animist believing people.
The government fearing the Darfur uprising would result in a similar semi-independence began bombing the rebels and villages in the west of the country, in Darfur, in an attempt to quash the farming community rebels seeking to stop the Janjaweed.
The govenment would bomb and shortly afterwards there would be an attack on the village by the Janjaweed.
Mounted on camels and horses, the Janjawee set fire to the villages, killing many of the men and boys, raping the women and girls.
More than one million of the pasturalist Muslim Darfuris, the mainly subsistence farmers from a wide variety of ethnic groups, have fled their homes, creating what the United Nations has described as the world's worst humanitarian cris1s.
Orphanage
Mohamed Baraka Mohamed, 56, lawyer
What is happening in Darfur is a result of many years of persecution against specific tribes in the province.
Mohamed Baraka Mohamed

Mohamed Baraka Mohamed used to be a minister in Sudan's parliament
Mohamed Baraka Mohamed used to be a minister in Sudan's parliament
These tribes are viewed with contempt such as my tribe, the Fur.
When I was at school, I was beaten if I didn't speak Arabic even though my tribe has its own language.
This and other forms of "forced Arabisation" suggests the disrespect with which we are viewed.
This attitude is not confined to the Sudanese government — other Arab and Muslim countries are included.
Has a single Arab or Muslim country condemned what is happening in Darfur?
From my experience as a Sudanese member of parliament (2001 — 2005) for Darfur, I can confirm that what is going on is genocide.
In my village, Shuba, the Janjaweed have killed many people, burnt homes and stolen herds.
If people file a complaint to the authorities, the police are always late — at least five hours — despite the police station being only seven kilometres away.
Instead of chasing the attackers, the police question the villagers over how they procured the arms which they use for self-defence.
This happens despite the fact that the corpses of villagers are scattered around.
In some instances, the number of corpses has reached 60.   For example, Shuba village was attacked at around 0500 local time.   Though more than 600 homes were burnt, the government forces, stationed in a nearby base, only arrived at the village by 0915.
Attacks don't usually target a single village.   Instead, they attack a wide range.
I support the deployment of international forces because the 7,000-strong African Union (AU) forces are incapable of protecting themselves, never mind the people of Darfur.   They have been repeatedly attacked in the past.
The international forces will be empowered to stop the attacks and put pressure on the government, unlike the AU which does nothing but write reports whenever an attack occurs.
I find the attitudes of those who claim that the deployment of international forces would only bring colonial forces to Sudan odd.
Why don't they think of hundreds of thousands of Darfuris who were either killed or driven from their homes?   Aren't they human beings who deserve protection?
The United Nations said in a report last week that there were indications that Sudan's military participated in attacks that left over 50 people dead — including 27 children under the age of 12.    Thousands more were displaced.
The United Nations said witnesses identified the 300 to 500 attackers as Arabs riding on horseback, wearing green camouflage military uniforms and armed with AK-47 assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades.
More than 200,000 people have been killed — and 2.5 million displaced — in fighting between rebels and government-backed militias since early 2003.
The U.N. Security Council voted in August to send over 20,000 peacekeepers to Darfur to replace the African Union force — but Sudan has rejected the decision.
      Monday, November 13th, 2006      See below      
Monday, June 4th, 2007
Politics of Naming: Genocide, Civil War, Insurgency
US Columbia University Professor Mahmood Mamdani discusses how the media and the Save Darfur Coalition has been misrepresenting the situation in Darfur.— Click Here
AMY GOODMAN:    Last week's US announcement of sanctions blocks thirty-one companies tied to the Sudanese government from using the US banking system.
MAHMOOD MAMDANI:    I think the larger question is the names — genocide, in particular — come into being against a background of the twentieth century and mass slaughter of the twentieth century, and particularly the Holocaust.
And against that background, Lemkin convinced the international community, and particularly states in the international community, they have an obligation to intervene when there is genocide.
He’s successful in getting the international community to adopt a resolution on this.
Then follows the politics around genocide.
And the politics around genocide is, when is the slaughter of civilians a genocide or not?
Which particular slaughter is going to be named genocide, and which one is not going to be named genocide?
So if you look at the last ten years and take some examples of mass slaughter:
For example, the mass slaughter in Iraq, which is — in terms of numbers, at least — no less than what is going on in Sudan
Or the mass slaughter in Congo, which, in terms of numbers, is probably ten times what happened, what has been happening in Darfur.
But none of these have been named as genocide.
Only the slaughter in Darfur has been named as genocide.
So there is obviously a politics around this naming, and that’s the politics that I was interested in.
AMY GOODMAN:    And what do you think this politics is?
Instrumentalized by United States
MAHMOOD MAMDANI:    Well, I think that what’s happening is that genocide is being instrumentalized by the biggest power on the earth today, which is the United States.
It is being instrumentalized in a way that mass slaughters which implicate its adversaries are being named as genocide and those which implicate its friends or its proxies are not being named as genocide.
And that is not what Lemkin had in mind.
I was struck by the fact -- because I live nine months in New York and three months in Kampala, and every morning I open the New York Times, and I read about violence against civilians, atrocities against civilians.
There are two places that I read about
Une is Iraq.
The other is Darfur.
Largest political movement against mass violence on US campuses is on Darfur
I’m struck by the fact that the largest political movement against mass violence on US campuses is on Darfur and not on Iraq.
And it puzzles me.
Because most of these students, almost all of these students, are American citizens.
I had always thought that they should have greater responsibility, they should feel responsibility, for mass violence which is the result of their own government's policies.
And I ask myself, “Why not?”
I ask myself, “How do they discuss mass violence in Iraq and options in Iraq?”
And they discuss it by asking -- agonizing over what would happen if American troops withdrew from Iraq.
Would there be more violence?
Less violence?
It is easy to hold a moral position emptied of political content
But there is no such agonizing over Darfur.
Because Darfur is a place without history.
Darfur is a place without politics.
Darfur is simply a dot on the map.
It is simply a place, a site, where perpetrator confronts victim.
And the perpetrator’s name is Arab.
And the victim’s name is African.
And it is easy to demonize.
It is easy to hold a moral position which is emptied of its political content.
This bothered me, and so I wrote about it.
Donkey Carcass, Darfur, Sudan

Photo: US AID
Donkey Carcass, Darfur, Sudan
Photo: US AID
MAHMOOD MAMDANI:   
Well, let’s begin with the numbers of the dead, OK?
The only group in a position to estimate how many people have died in Darfur is UNICEF, because UNICEF is the only one that did a comprehensive survey in 2005 in Darfur.
Everybody else only knows the piece of ground on which they work and will then extrapolate from it, like any other NGO, like Oxfam or Medecins Sans Frontieres or World Food Program.
The WFP estimate was 200,000.
Out of these 200,000, the WPF report tells you that roughly about 20% died of actually being killed, of violence, and 80% died mainly from starvation and from diseases.
And normally in our understanding of genocide, we put both those together and look at them as a result of the violence, because the violence prevents the medicine going in, etc., except in the case of Darfur, it’s not a single-cause situation.
Darfur is also the place which has been hit hard by global warming.
The UN commission which sat on global warming very recently spoke of Darfur as the first major crisis of global warming.
Desertification — Global Warming
In other words, from the late 1970s you have had a significant desertification, and you’ve been having in the north of Darfur basically a situation where people’s simply entire livelihoods are destroyed, and which has been one of the elements, because it has driven the nomadic population in the north down into the south.
So how many people are dying from desertification?
How many people are dying from the violence that has been unleashed through this civil war in Darfur?
Second element in this is that there’s a civil war going on in Darfur.
There are two rebel movements, and both rebel movements were born in the aftermath of the peace in the south.
And those who were unwilling to accept the peace in the south, who thought the peace in the south should have included a resolution for all of Sudan, particularly for Darfur and not simply for the south, they were the inspiration behind the two movements that developed.
One movement, the Sudan Liberation Army, was a movement strongly connected with the SPLA in the south, especially with those sections of the SPLA who were not happy with the partial nature of the settlement in the south.
Islamist rebel movement and secular rebel movement 
The SPLA is the Sudan People's Liberation Army, which had organized and led the guerrilla war in the south for several decades under John Garang.
The second movement was the Justice and Equality Movement.
The Justice and Equality Movement, unlike the SLA, which is a secular movement, Justice and Equality is an Islamist movement.
And it was a break-off from the regime in the Sudan.
It was a break-off between two sections of the regime, the military and the civilian section, and particularly the section led by the chief ideologue, Hassan al-Turabi, who split from the military wing and was the inspiration behind the formation of the Justice and Equality Movement.
So you have, in a way, a very strong Islamist rebel movement and you have a strong secular rebel movement, and these two began their operations in 2003.
Sudan government's response was to pick a proxy and arm it 
The government's response — and I saw the ambassador's response there, which was as disingenuous as Bush's response, in a sense, because he’s claiming that it’s just a civil war inside, the government has nothing to do with it.
It’s not true.
The government's response was to pick a proxy and arm it.
And the government was, in a way, smart enough to pick those who were the worst victims of the desertification and the drought.
It picked the poorest of the nomads from the north whose livelihoods had been entirely destroyed and who had simply no survival strategy at hand and gave them weapons.
And these guys went down south, and their object was not to kill the peasants in the south, but to drive them off their land.
The larger came from the regular Salvadoran armed forces and police.
He also had U.S. backing.
In fact, D’Aubuisson launched his career as a major figure in Salvador by going on TV and making a speech.
He had a video role as he spoke with an illustrated death list of union people and religious figures and others who he said should be killed as traitors to the country.
And the data for the list were supplied to him by American intelligence, again according to the officers there I interviewed.
Displaced boy, Darfur, Sudan

Photo: US AID
Displaced boy, Darfur, Sudan
Photo: US AID
MAHMOOD MAMDANI:   
The government’s response was also to pick a second group, and that second group are the nomads from Chad who have come into Darfur.
Problem stems from Colonial Empires enhanced by US intervention
And to understand that, one has to look at the third dimension of the conflict, which is that over the last twenty-five, thirty years there has been a civil war going on in Chad.
Chad, during the Cold War, was a bone of contention, first and foremost between the US and France, and both had their allies in the region.
France allied with Libya.
The US allied with the military dictatorship in Sudan, with the Numeri dictatorship in Sudan.
And every oppositional movement in Chad had a base in Darfur, and they armed themselves, organized themselves in Darfur.
So Darfur was awash with weapons for two decades, OK.
And those who ran away from the civil war in Chad came into Darfur.
So the other wing of those who were armed, whether by the government or whether by this weaponry which was awash, were the Chad refugees in Darfur.
So what we call the Janjaweed are two groups.
They are the Chad refugees in Darfur, and they are the poorest of the northern camel - the pastoralists divide into two: the camel pastoralists and the cattle pastoralists.
And the camel pastoralists, because the camel is the only game which will survive in the worst conditions where even cattle will not survive, they are the poorest of the poor.
So these are what are called the Janjaweed.
AMY GOODMAN:    I wanted to play a clip for you from John Prendergast.
He is the senior adviser for the International Crisis Group, leader of the Save Darfur Coalition, has argued that genocide is occurring in Darfur, that the Sudanese government is trying to mask what’s really happening.
JOHN PRENDERGAST:    This policy of divide and conquer, which has been in place since the early part of this decade, had as its objective the creation of anarchy in Darfur.
So when people take a snapshot today and see Darfur and go, “My god, all these groups are fighting against each other. It seems like it’s chaos,” it’s precisely what the government intended.
US state-sponsored terrorist movement in Mozambique 
MAHMOOD MAMDANI:    We need to keep in mind, and John Prendergast needs to keep in mind, that the history of state-sponsored terrorism in that part of Africa begins with the US providing a political umbrella to South Africa to create a state-sponsored terrorist movement in Mozambique: RENAMO.
And it is after a full decade of that impunity that others learn the experience, and Charles Taylor begins it in Liberia.
The Sudanese government begins it in the south.
But this is the second thing, which builds on this history of political violence.
The third thing is that when the rebel movements begin in 2003 in Darfur, the Khartoum government responds in the same way, which is it looks at the scene, and it picks the weakest, the most vulnerable, the ones that they can bring under their wing.
It arms them and says, “Go for it.”
And they go for the land.
AMY GOODMAN:    Professor Mamdani, you quote the saying, “Out of Iraq, into Darfur.”
What about intervention?
MAHMOOD MAMDANI:    Well, look, the question in Darfur is really, how do we stop the fighting.
Because if we want to stop the killing of civilians, we have to stop the fighting.
The only way to stop the fighting is a political resolution.
In 2005, African Union troops came into Darfur.
I interviewed the Ghanaian general who was deputy to Dallaire in Rwanda and who is the chief of the UN nucleus force in Darfur.
And he said to me that the African Union troops were spectacularly successful in 2005.
The killing came down dramatically.
Human bones and skulls lie inches below the surface
Mukjar, West Darfur, Sudan
And then, he said, two things happened.
Both happened around the question of finances, because African countries can provide troops but they don’t have finances to provide salaries or logistics.
So the first shift was around salaries.
The salaries of African troops were being paid by the European Union, which paid them from an emergency fund, and it shifted the payment to quarterly payments.
So they would make payment every three months.
They would only make the next three-month payment if the paperwork was done properly, if there was accountability.
So, as I speak now, African Union troops have not been paid for four months, because the EU says there hasn’t been proper accountability.
Second is about logistics.
The troops have to work with planes, and the planes provided are not military planes.
They are planes flown by civilian pilots.
And civilian pilots have the right to refuse to fly in areas which they consider dangerous.
Now, of course, all these areas are dangerous.
So you’re operating with logistics that you don’t control.
Civilian pilots will not.
The Ghanaian general said to me - I asked him, I said, “Why do you think these changes happened?”
He said, “I don’t know.
But the only thing I can think is that the reason would only be political.”
I had the same response when I heard President Bush’s speech.
Shelters, displaced camp, Darfur, Sudan

Photo: US AID
Shelters, displaced camp, Darfur, Sudan
Photo: US AID
West Darfur town of Mukjar
'Security bubble'
Janjaweed fighters stroll through marketplace rifles over shoulders
MAHMOOD MAMDANI:   
The contention has been over who has political control over the troops in Darfur.
The African Union troops are under the political control of African Union.
And there is a concerted attempt being made to shift the political control of any intervention force inside Darfur from inside Africa to outside Africa.
The second thing is that the African Union is convinced that they cannot go in and fight.
They can only go in with the agreement of both sides, so they can only intervene consensually.
And that is crucial and important, because if they go in with the two sides not agreeing, the fighting will simply increase and the slaughter of civilians will increase.
President Bush's speech yesterday — the response of the UN, the UN Secretary General, was, “Look, we’re just arriving at an agreement.
We’ve been working for the last four, five months, and the Sudan government is agreeing.”
The South African response was the same.
Why sanctions now when we are about to arrive at an agreement?
Any sane thinking person would think that, intended or unintended, the consequence of these imposition of sanctions is to torpedo that process on the ground.
And that process is the political process which is absolutely vital to stopping the fighting.
AMY GOODMAN:    You mentioned Congo.
What about the comparison of the conflicts and the attention given to each?
MAHMOOD MAMDANI:    Well, no two comparisons are exactly alike, of course.   We know that.
But to the extent that numbers are being highlighted, the numbers are huge in Congo.
The Congo estimates are four million-plus [killed] over several years.
The Darfur estimates go from 200,000 to 400,000.
So why no concern about Congo?
Congo involves, again, multiple causes, like Darfur.
It’s a huge place.
But both states are allies of the US in the region so there's nothing said about it 
But in Kivu province, where I have been, the conflict has been very Darfur-like, in the sense that you’ve had proxies being fed from the outside, the Hema and the Lendu.
You have the recruitment of child soldiers.
You have two states in the region arming these proxies: Uganda and Rwanda.
But both states are allies of the US in the region, so there's nothing said about it.
The most recent example is Somalia.
We can see that the civilian suffering is going up dramatically in Somalia since the intervention, Ethiopian intervention force.
And we know that the Ethiopian intervention force had at least the blessings of the US, if not more than that — I’m not privy to the information.
And nothing is being said about it.
So one arrives back at the question: what is the politics around it?
And I’m struck by the innocence of those who are part of the Save Darfur — of the foot soldiers in the Save Darfur Coalition, not the leadership, simply because this is not discussed.
Where does Save Darfur Coalition money go? 
Let me tell you, when I went to Sudan in Khartoum, I had interviews with the UN humanitarian officer, the political officer, etc., and I asked them, I said, “What assistance does the Save Darfur Coalition give?”
He said, “Nothing.”
I said, “Nothing?”
He said, “No.”
And I would like to know.
The Save Darfur Coalition raises an enormous amount of money in this country.
Where does that money go?
Does it go to other organizations which are operative in Sudan, or does it go simply to fund the advertising campaign?
AMY GOODMAN:    To make people aware of what’s going on in Darfur.
MAHMOOD MAMDANI:    To make people aware of what is going on.
But people, who then, out of awareness, give money not to fuel a commercial campaign, but expecting that this money will go to do something about the pain and suffering of those who are the victims in Darfur.
So how much of that money is going to actually — how much of it translates into food or medicine or shelter?
And how much of it is being recycled?
Prepare mud bricks
Abu Shouk refugee camp, Al-Fasher, Darfur, Sudan
AMY GOODMAN:    Do you think the UN process, if allowed to carry forward, would be the answer right now?
MAHMOOD MAMDANI:    Well, the answer has to be a political process.
The African Union, if its hands are not tied — if this money was translated into salaries and logistics for the African Union force, it would untie those hands.
If the governments who claim to be speaking and acting for the people of Darfur, if they actually directed the money they intend to spend on intervention to paying salaries for the African Union forces, to providing the logistics without these constraints, the problem would be much closer to solving.
This traditional storage vessel for excess food would normally help a family cope during times of food insecurity.  

Attackers have destroyed the container and emptied it of its contents.

Photo: US AID
Traditional storage vessel for excess food would normally help a family cope during times of food insecurity
Attackers have destroyed the container and emptied it of its contents
Photo: US AID
Monday, November 13, 2006
Darfur Diaries: Filmmakers Return From Sudan to Bring Stories of Oppression and Survival
We speak with three young filmmakers about their journey into Darfur where they interviewed refugees living in camps in the harshest of conditions and produced the documentary, "Darfur Diaries."
— Click Here
AMY GOODMAN:  Our guests today traveled to the refugee camps in eastern Chad and the Zaghawa tribal region of northern Darfur in October 2004.
hey snuck across the border between Chad and Sudan and remained behind rebel lines.
They interviewed refugees living in camps in the harshest of conditions and produced the documentary "Darfur Diaries: Message from Home."
In this clip from the film, a young boy is speaking inside a refugee camp.
MUBARAK:    I can't sleep all night long.   I also can't eat.   I have bad nights.   I’m always thinking about back home.
REFUGEE GIRL:    All the kids dream at night and cry.   You ask why, and they say, “The planes come.”
Some of them wake up and run.
When you stop them and ask them why, they say, “because the soldiers are coming to beat me!”
MUBARAK:    When the Antonovs dropped bombs on us, we ran to hide under the trees.
The ones who were not killed ran away.
Antonovs killed my father.
I saw many people killed.
I saw it with my eyes.
Many people were killed with him.
The bombs severed people’s arms and legs, and the people fell.
We were forced to leave by army, Janjaweed and Antonovs.
Three days later, we came back and buried the dead.
After the bombing, we came and dug many graves.
We used tools and cut wood from the trees to dig the graves.
After we buried the people, we left.
Even after we left, the Janjaweed and army came and killed people.
Interview continues — Click Here
 
  • Omar Hassan Al-Bashir, President of Sudan:
    "We are against invading forces, the 1906 resolution places Sudan under supervision because we are an independent nation and we don't want colonialism to return to Sudan.   In any cases we have African forces installed in our country within the African Union.   We have reached a peace agreement in the south after a war which lasted twenty years."
  • For more on Darfur we are joined by two guests:
  • Mohamed Adam Yahya, chairman of the Damanga Coalition for Freedom and Democracy, an organization founded to promote the human rights of Darfuris in exile as well as in Sudan.   He spoke at the rally in New York yesterday.
  • Jason Miller, national policy director of the Sudan Divestment Task Force, also a graduate student at the University of California.
  • AMY GOODMAN:  Now, explain what's happening.   At the end of the month, the African Union forces leave and the Sudanese government will not allow UN forces to enter.
    MOHAMED ADAM YAHYA:  In this case, the situation is going to be worse, and there is going to be a real disaster over there, because the government of Sudan right now threatening to send those African Union troops, almost about 7,000, who are already doing the job over there, but they are not sufficient to do the job perfectly, because Darfur is really double size of France, not only size of France, and it’s even bigger than Texas, a state here in the United States, and it is not enough for the African Union to do that job.
    And even though the government of Sudan trying to get them out of the country and to open the way to the troops from the government, which has already deployed in Darfur about 3,000 troops, this for the first time since this war began in Darfur to send this big amount of people over there, all those troops.  
    This is really creating a new disaster.   The government has started in just two weeks, and even before this resolution passed in August 31st, they watched and launched those troops in Darfur, and they targeting those civilians in the villages and bombed them, and even they displaced so many recently from their villages.
    AMY GOODMAN:  Jason Miller, can you talk about the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act, what the U.S. Congress is doing about Darfur?
    JASON MILLER:  The U.S. Congress major piece of legislation, as you mentioned, is the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act.   Unfortunately, as it went through multiple iterations that passed through the House and Senate, it got watered down to some degree to the extent now that the current version that we have has dropped the possibility for a no-fly zone and secondly has also dropped the federal government's explicit support for the divestment campaign that’s happening across the country at the state level.
    AMY GOODMAN:  And what is that divestment campaign?
    JASON MILLER:  So, the general concept of divestment is that right now there are no economic levers or pressure from the U.S. on Sudan, because the U.S. already had sanctions on Sudan because it’s a state sponsor of terrorism.   But as U.S. citizens, we can exert pressure on companies that are significantly supporting the Sudanese government and allowing them to carry out their military campaign.   So what we’re trying to do across the country is pull that economic lever so that Sudan has a buy-in into creating peace in Darfur.   They have a worse alternative if they don't create peace, and that is the economic fall-out of this divestment campaign.
    AMY GOODMAN:  Like against Apartheid South Africa.
    JASON MILLER:  Very much similar to that.
    AMY GOODMAN:    Who is putting pressure, who pulled these sections of the bill out?
    JASON MILLER:  Well, the current Section 11, which helped to give federal protection to states divesting, was pulled out by Senator Lugar, who is chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
    And he just introduced that — pulled that revised version last Monday.
    AMY GOODMAN:  And who’s putting pressure on him?
    JASON MILLER:  We don't know the exact people.
    We do know that the National Foreign Trade Council, which is a coalition of the largest multinationals with a presence in the U.S., is actively against the Sudan divestment campaign.
    We also suspect through our contacts in Congress that some members in the State Department are against the divestment campaign, because they view it as a turf war between the federal government and the state's rights to do what they deem as foreign policy.
    AMY GOODMAN:  The Trade Council you mentioned saying that we're not going to have foreign policy determined by the Mayor of Berkeley.
    JASON MILLER:  Right, that is the exact group that mentioned that, and their view is that only the federal government determines foreign policy.   Our view is that this isn’t an issue of foreign policy, it’s a state’s right to invest based upon financial risk and moral factors that they deem okay for them.
    AMY GOODMAN:  Is the Trade Council suing Illinois?
    JASON MILLER:  The Trade Council is indeed suing Illinois for its divestment bill right now.   And our worry is that if they are successful in Illinois, that will give cold feet to other state legislatures who are right now actively considering divestment.
    AMY GOODMAN:  Mohamed Yahya, do you support a divestment campaign of companies involved with Sudan?
    MOHAMED ADAM YAHYA:  Absolutely, I support divestment, and especially those companies who are working on investing their money in a large scale in Sudan.   This is really one of the bad things that are affecting those Darfurians and those victims, who are already victimized by the government of Sudan.
    They use this money to fuel the war, to fuel the war, and as the government gets this money to use to get the weapons and to get, yes, a kind of, you know, yes, weapons of mass destruction and to use it against those civilians in Darfur.
    We’re against this kind of act.   We encourage all those companies or even governments who are working in Sudan to divest immediately, because the money, this — we consider this money is bad money, because blood money is a bad money.
    AMY GOODMAN:  Jason Miller, what companies are doing business with Sudan?
    JASON MILLER:  It's important to emphasize that our group is not interested in targeting all companies, because some are doing substantial good in Sudan, but the ones that are really helping the government without providing benefit to Sudan’s citizens tend to be oil and energy companies from China, Russia, India, Malaysia, and to some degree France.
    Not surprisingly, these are the same countries, especially China and Russia, that are impeding a lot of international action on the issue of Darfur.  
    They’re protecting their commercial interests in the country.
    AMY GOODMAN:  Mohamed Yahya, what at this point are you saying needs to be done?
    Do you believe that a U.N. peacekeeping force in Sudan will make the difference?
    Is it at all possible?
    We're talking just a matter of days before the end of September, when the African Union forces leave.
    MOHAMED ADAM YAHYA:  Certainly, the peacekeepers, if deployed immediately to Sudan, they are going to make a difference.
    Our people over there, they are waiting for a long time to get those peacekeepers in Darfur.
    They even demonstrated in their camps, those IDPs and those refugees in the cities, in the towns, in their shelters in Chad.
    They made a statement, and they said, “Welcome, welcome, U.S.A.   Welcome, welcome, United Nations.”
    Because the only way out from this really terrible war and this genocide is to send the international peacekeepers, the foreigners, and this is going to — hopefully United States of America to lead this mission, and immediately, before those African Union withdrawn from Darfur.
    This is the only solution, I believe.
     
    Oil Strengthens the Sudanese Government
    By Tanguy Berthemet
    Le Figaro
    Saturday 11 November 2006
    The tall skyscraper looks like a big glass and steel egg posed along the banks of the Nile.
    In a few months, the Fatah Hotel will open its doors and offer the Sudanese its covered swimming pool, its bars, its fitness rooms.   Western luxury, unimaginable only a short time ago.
    Khartoum's residents are already rushing to taste the first fruits of this international modernity under the Ozone Cafè's outside air conditioners, at the Solitary Internet restaurant's tables, and under the new shopping mall's vaulted ceilings.
    In its aisles, rich families and laughing young people belted into pants labeled "Made in Dubai" stroll about.
    Khartoum is only a thousand kilometers from the evils of Darfur.
    But it's another universe.
    The city is too absorbed in its many construction sites and its arteries gorged with cars to worry about the conflict.
    "This whole story about the war is exaggerated by Westerners to keep Sudan in poverty and loot its wealth," answers an annoyed Ali Ousman Ibrahim, a student who sips on fruit juice at the Ozone.   "But it's not working."
    Swollen with petrodollars, the Sudanese economy is experiencing a veritable boom.
    Growth posted at 8.2% in 2005 should reach 10-12% this year.
    Gross domestic product went from 14.6 billion dollars in 2001 to 36 billion, according to the estimates of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
    The American embargo, supposed to suffocate Sudan, is caving in all over.   Attracted by the smell of black gold, China, Malaysia, India and the Gulf countries have rushed in.
    "Oil is the motor for the Sudanese takeoff," asserts Rachad Ousman, an executive from the Dal Group, one of the country's most important industrial conglomerates.
    Production remains modest, certainly: officially 500,000 barrels a day.
    But that's enough to breathe the necessary fresh money into the economy.
    China, Premier Partner
    To limit this sudden prosperity to oil alone would, however, be a mistake.
    "The Islamists who hold the larger share of power are very skillful people, well-educated and pragmatic, who understand the ropes of [economic] liberalism," anonymously insists an Arab political scientist from Khartoum.
    A few adjustments suggested by the IMF attracted the financiers of the Gulf and expatriate Sudanese only too happy to return to the country.
    Foreign investments in Sudan jumped from 120 million dollars in 2000 to 2.3 billion today.
    This slight gentrification has not, all the same, pushed the police regime to greater leniency.
    "Khartoum is only a showcase.   The money stays in the capital and nothing goes to the provinces, where there are no roads, no schools, no water.   The only thing that's decentralized is poverty," asserts Alfred Taban, Director of the Khartoum Monitor daily newspaper.
    According to the NGO International Crisis Group (ICG), most business — through a complex game of shell companies — is in the hands of those close to the government or to the security apparatus.
    "Everything is terribly opaque.   It's even impossible to know the exact amount of oil production or the income that comes from it," emphasizes the political scientist.
    The government, which is finally garnering the fruits from its exercise of power, seems less inclined than ever to share them.
    And now it possesses the means to assert its will.
    "It is obvious that without money it would have been less arrogant with the UN and the United States and would not have rejected the Blue Helmets' arrival so easily," parses Alfred Taban.
    Supported by Arab opinion very hostile to Westerners, the very unpopular Sudanese government has even succeeded in regaining a bit of credit in the eyes of its own people by engaging in these contests.
    But, above all, the petrodollars allow it to pursue the costly war against the Darfur rebels.
    The construction of a weapons and munitions factory assures Sudanese soldiers and their allies regular supplies.
    Sudanese
    President
    Omar al Bashir
    Beijing, China
    Khartoum, become an oil power, has also won itself some powerful allies.   Beginning with China.
    By far Sudan's first partner, Beijing, not very observant of human rights, supports the regime almost unconditionally.
    "China is present in almost all the big projects — which it most often finances with very advantageous loans," a diplomat indicates.
    The gamble attempted by Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bachir nonetheless sets teeth on edge.
    In Khartoum, businessmen are discreetly beginning to worry about growing Western pressure.
    "We must speedily find the means to a true reconciliation in Darfur," a financier slips in.
    "The economy, security, and politics are very linked and always end up influencing one another."
    Translation: t r u t h o u t French language correspondent Leslie Thatcher.
    © : t r u t h o u t 2006
     
     
    Saturday, 18 November 2006
    Sudan 'begins new Darfur attacks'
    AU soldier in Darfur.

African Union troops are overstretched in Darfur
    African Union troops are overstretched in Darfur
    The Sudanese government together with the Janjaweed militia have launched new attacks in northern Darfur, the African Union (AU) has said.
    The AU said the ground and air offensive was a flagrant violation of security agreements.
    It said there had been a heavy toll on a civilian population. Rebels in the area said 70 people had died.
    Earlier, Sudan welcomed the UN's support for AU peacekeepers in Darfur but denied the UN will take command.
    The AU said in a statement that Birmaza, a much fought over village in Darfur, had been subject to ground and aerial assault.
    I met... women who were pleading for security, who said we are abused, we are raped, we are attacked and nobody seems to want to protect us
    Jan Egeland
    UN humanitarian chief
    Rebels in the area said the government troops and Arab militia were continuing on Saturday to burn villages and loot cattle.
    So far there has been no official reaction from the government in Khartoum.
    'No UN troops'
    The AU statement comes only days after the Sudanese government welcomed the UN's support to strengthen the AU peacekeeping mission in Darfur.
    UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said on Thursday after talks on Darfur in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, that a compromise had been reached for a hybrid UN-AU force in Sudan's western region.
    But Sudanese Foreign Minister Lam Akol said shortly afterwards that "there should be no talk about a mixed force" and that there would be no UN troops in Darfur.
    Mr Akol said that the UN would simply provide technical support.
    Darfur map
    Khartoum has always rejected plans to replace the AU force with a larger, stronger UN mission.
    Violence has intensified despite a peace deal in May between the government and one of the Darfur rebel groups.
    UN humanitarian chief Jan Egeland has cut short his trip to Darfur after Sudan's government told him it would be too dangerous for him to travel outside the region's major towns.
    Mr Egeland said on Saturday the international community should not drag its heals over implementing the Darfur deal, warning that more people would die in the region.
    He said that leaders "from all over the world... swore to protect civilian populations. We have a responsibility to protect. We are not living up to that responsibility in Darfur today.
    "I met... yesterday women [in Darfur] who were pleading for security, who said we are abused, we are raped, we are attacked and nobody seems to want to protect us," Mr Egeland said.
    A mother attends a clinic in the north Darfur town of Mellit, Sudan.

The conflict has killed or displaced hundreds of thousands of people.
    A mother attends a clinic in the north Darfur town of Mellit, Sudan
    The conflict has killed or displaced hundreds of thousands of people
    Violence spreads
    A further possible area of disagreement on the peacekeeping mission is the size of the new force.
    The UN also wants a force of 17,000 troops, while Sudan says 12,000 would be enough. There are currently some 7,000 AU troops in Darfur.
    Sudan has always said that the problems in Darfur are being exaggerated for political reasons.
    It denies backing Arab Janjaweed militias, which are accused of genocide against Darfur's black African population.
    Sudan says the militias are being disarmed but reports from Darfur say the army is working with the Janjaweed to destroy villages.
    More than 200,000 people have died in three years of conflict in the region.
    About three million have fled their homes.
    Friday, 15 September 2006
    Darfur toll 'at least 200,000'
    Darfur refugee in camp inside Chad this month
    Darfur refugee in camp inside Chad this month
    The toll includes refugees who die of hunger and disease
    More than 200,000 people have died in Sudan's Darfur conflict, according to a new scientific study.
    US researchers writing in the peer-reviewed journal Science say that their figures are the most compelling and persuasive estimate to date.
    An accurate count is hugely difficult in practice but hugely important in political terms, correspondents say.
    On Thursday, Oscar-winning actor George Clooney urged the UN Security Council to stop the "genocide" in Darfur.
    The UN says violence and displacement have recently increased in Darfur, despite a May peace deal.
    Sudan has rejected a UN resolution authorising a 20,000-strong force for Darfur, saying it is an attack on its sovereignty.
    Apart from the dead, more than 2m people have been driven from their homes in three years of fighting.

    We do not believe it is possible or defensible to go below in estimating the scale of this genocide
    Dr John Hagan,
    Northwestern University

    Sudan's government and the pro-government Arab militias are accused of war crimes against the region's black African population.
    'No fewer than 200,000'
    Unlike a natural disaster there is no simple way of counting the bodies in a war-torn environment, BBC science reporter Matt McGrath notes.
    So international organisations and aid agencies have had to rely on surveys carried out on the displaced millions to try and work out how many have died.
    These surveys have varied enormously, ranging from fewer than 70,000 to more than 300,000 deaths.
    BBC science reporter Matt McGrath says that politically, accurate figures are crucial in determining whether the deaths in Darfur are genocide or — as the Sudanese government says — an exaggeration.
    George Clooney addresses the UN Security Council on Thursday
    George Clooney addresses the UN Security Council on Thursday
    George Clooney has been a regular campaigner on Darfur
    Dr John Hagan of America's Northwestern University believes his figures are the most credible estimate to date.
    "We've tried to find a way of working between those overestimations and underestimations," he told the BBC.
    "We believe the procedures we have used have allowed us to come to very conservative and cautious conclusions which we used to try to identify a floor to these estimates — a floor figure of 200,000.
    "We do not believe it is possible or defensible to go below in estimating the scale of this genocide."
    He and his colleague believe the eventual death toll may be much higher.
    They have made no distinction between those dying as a result of violence and those dying as a result of starvation or disease in refugee camps.
    Holocaust survivor call
    In his impassioned speech, Mr Clooney told Security Council members genocide was taking place on their "watch", and how they responded would be their legacy.
    Mr Clooney and his journalist father, Nick, spent five days in Darfur in April hearing personal stories of some of the victims of the fighting, and have campaigned on it since.
    "It is the first genocide of the 21st Century and if it continues unchecked, it will not be the last," he said.
    He was speaking at a special informal session hosted by US ambassador to the UN John Bolton.
    Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, whose Foundation for Humanity organised the session, also addressed the council.
    "You are the last political recourse of Darfur victims and you can stop it," he said.

    Armed men from the Sudan Liberation Movement Army (SLM/A) in Gereida town, south Darfur, Sudan, 24 February 2006.

The SLM/A welcomed the UN Security Council resolution No 1706 for the deployment of an international force in Darfur region, and urged the international community to put pressure on Khartoum to accept its implementation.

Photo: UN/Derk Segaar/IRIN
    Armed men from the Sudan Liberation Movement Army (SLM/A) in Gereida town, south Darfur, Sudan, 24 February 2006.
    The SLM/A welcomed the UN Security Council resolution No 1706 for the deployment of an international force in Darfur region, and urged the international community to put pressure on Khartoum to accept its implementation.
     
    Fatima Abdelshafi, 28, farm labourer
    Hamid and his family (his wife Fatima Abdelshafi and their child)

Fatima Abdelshafi and her son came to London from Chad
    Fatima Abdelshafi and her son came to London from Chad
    I cannot distinguish between the government armed forces and the Janjaweed.
    I cannot forget [bursting into tears] the killing of 21 people from my village.   They were buried in one well which was covered with earth and then levelled.
    Our herds were stolen from us and we were forced to leave our homes.   We had no choice but to head for the surrounding mountains without shelter, food or water.
    Why did they do that to us?
    I find no single explanation for this but because we have "blue" skin — they call us the "blues".
    I belong to the Zagawa tribe.
    In el-Fasher, West Darfur's capital city, the Janjaweed either killed the "blue" children as they were leaving school or arrested them and then killed them later.
    Three of my uncles were killed during an air-raid two years ago.   Many other members of my family have met the same fate.
    I am extremely worried for the safely of my relatives who are still living in Darfur.
    After fleeing my village, I walked for two whole days until I reached the border with Chad.   There, I lived in a refugee camp where living conditions were comparably much better.
    My worst fear is for the fate of the remaining members of my family in Darfur.   They, along with thousands of other families, are in real danger.

              
    Peace totters in Sudan
    Saturday 29 July 2006
     Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) militants wait to receive the African Union mediator in the Darfur conflict, Salim Ahmed Salim, at the SLA-controlled Galoul locality in Jebel Marra area in North Darfur State, 31 August 2005.
    Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) wait to receive the African Union mediator in the Darfur conflict, Salim Ahmed Salim, at the SLA-controlled Galoul locality in Jebel Marra area in North Darfur State, 31 August 2005.
    Armed groups in Sudan’s western Darfur region have launched a series of counterattacks against government forces after the Sudanese military attacked militia groups opposed to May’s ceasefire.
    The latest attacks in north Darfur killed a government soldier and an unknown number of rebels on Friday, the Sudanese military said.
    "A group of rebels ... on about nine vehicles ambushed an administrative patrol Friday," said Sudanese army brigadier Osman Al-Aghbash.
    "A soldier was martyred and another wounded in the fighting," he said.
    On Friday, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), an armed Darfuri opposition movement which did not sign the peace deal in May, had accused the government in Khartoum of attacking rebel bases.
    The JEM said the government, supported by its Janajaweed militia, had shelled the area of Kulkul, about 35 kilometres (22 miles) from North Darfur's capital Al-Fasher and launched numerous air attacks.
    "The battle is still continuing," said Izz Al-Din Yusuf, a local JEM fighter, warning that the group would retaliate.
    "We will enter Al-Fasher and occupy the airport if the government continues shelling them by planes," Yusuf said, warning citizens to evacuate the area.
    The JEM says that the government was attempting to punish groups who had not supported the peace agreement which Khartoum signed with Darfur’s main opposition group, the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) in Nigeria on May 5,
    "The Khartoum regime has begun implementing a military project that aims at an all-out assault on the parties which did not sign the farcical Abuja 'agreement'," JEM spokesman Ahmed Hussein Adam said.
    The United Nations and African Union peace-keeping missions in Sudan denounced Sudan’s attack on the JEM, saying they were "deeply concerned about the fighting."
    Janjaweed mobilised
    The JEM spokesman said Khartoum was planning more attacks and had mobilised "some 400 Janjaweed on horses and camels with full armament and logistic support, including 82 vehicles."
    Under the terms of the May peace agreement, Sudan had promised to disarm the Janjaweed militia which is accused of raping and murdering thousands of Darfuri civilians.
     
    Over 2 million civilians have been displaced by fighting in Darfur
    Over 2 million civilians have been displaced by fighting in Darfur

    A smaller faction of the SLM and the JEM had rejected the peace deal in May, saying it did not meet their demands and provided no safeguards to ensure that Sudan would not renege on its promise to disband the Janjaweed.
    The Sudanese government has denied using aircraft or the Janjaweed in the latest violence.
    Since 2003 fighting in Darfur has killed at least 300,000 people — most of them civilians — and displaced 2.4 million more.
    The violence began when inhabitants of Darfur protested against what they saw as systematic under-funding and under-development of their region by Sudan’s Arab, Islamist government in Khartoum.
    Southern tensions
    The leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), south Sudan’s main secessionist movement, has meanwhile accused Sudan’s government of continuing to arm and support militias in the south.
    "The continuation of support to militias in the south from elements of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) is a violation of the peace agreement," said Pagan Amum, secretary general of the SPLM.
    The 2005 peace agreement that ended the war between mainly Christian south Sudanese tribes and the Islamic government in Khartoum specified that Sudan must not arm rival tribes in the region.
    However since the peace treaty was signed, continuing violence in southern Sudan has killed hundreds, leading separatist groups to claim that pro-Khartoum tribes are still being supplied by the government.
    "It is known who is giving them arms, it is known who is giving them money ... elements from SAF are continuing to arm them," Amum said.
    There are 10,000 United Nations troops deployed in southern Sudan but they have been largely unable to stop the sporadic violence which has mainly taken place around the Upper Nile region and near Sudan’s main oil fields.
              Agencies
    An African Union armored vehicle in Gereida town, south Darfur, Sudan, 24 February 2006.

Attacks against the African peacekeepers in Darfur have increased by 900 percent since last year, according to United Nations figures.

Photo: UN/Derk Segaar/IRIN
    An African Union armored vehicle in Gereida town, south Darfur, Sudan, 24 February 2006.
    Attacks against the African peacekeepers in Darfur have increased by 900 percent since last year, according to United Nations figures.
    Friday, 28 April 2006
    Darfur food rations cut in half
    Women waiting for food to be distributed in Darfur in 2004
    Malnutrition is on the rise again in Darfur
    The UN is cutting in half its daily rations in Sudan's Darfur region due to a severe funding shortfall.
    "This is one of the hardest decisions I have ever made," James Morris, head of the UN's World Food Programme, said.
    From May the ration will be half the minimum amount required by each day.   The cut comes as the UN said Darfur's malnutrition rates are rising again.
    Nearly 3m in Darfur are totally reliant on food aid after being driven off their land by three years of conflict.
    Despite a ceasefire and on-going peace negotiations, large areas of Darfur are now affected by fighting between government forces, militias and rebels.
    This is also hampering the delivery of food and other aid operations.
    Hunger season
    "Haven't the people of Darfur suffered enough? We are adding insult to injury," Mr Morris said as he explained that despite appeals to donors, the WFP has received only a third of the money it needs.
    DARFUR DAILY FOOD RATIONS
    Minimum requirement: 2,100 kilocalories per person
    New amount: 1,050 kilocalories per person
    Cut by half: Cereals, blended fortified food and oil
    Cut by three-quarters: Pulses, sugar and salt
    More than 6.1m people across Sudan require food aid — more than any other country in the world.
    The bill to feed them all is $746m.
    The United States has provided $188m, but little has been received from the European Union and nothing at all from any of Sudan's partners in the Arab League, other than Libya, the WFP says.
    The EU says it has allocated 48m euros ($60m) for the whole of Sudan this year, while the UK will donate £49m ($88m) through various aid agencies.
    The ration cut is designed to ensure that some food lasts through the "hunger season" between July and September.
    "We have been pushed into this last resort of ration cuts in Sudan so we can provide the needy with at least some food during the lean season," Mr Morris said.
    The BBC's Jonah Fisher in the capital, Khartoum, says even if more money was to be immediately promised, Darfur's location, in the centre of Africa, means it could still take up to four months for the rations to arrive.
    Earlier this week, Ted Chaiban, head of Unicef's mission to Sudan, said in the last three months alone, there had been 200,000 people newly displaced in Darfur.
    Aid agencies last year managed to bring the malnutrition rate below the emergency threshold of 15% but south Darfur was seeing those figures again, he said.
    The African Union has set a 30 April deadline for the government and rebel groups to accept their draft peace agreement which addresses power-sharing, wealth-sharing and security.
    Women returning to an IDP camp in Darfur after collecting firewood.

[Date picture taken: 08/17/2006]

Photo: UN/Derk Segaar/IRIN
    Women returning to an IDP camp in Darfur after collecting firewood, August 17, 2006
    Prisoners captured after a rebel assault on the capital, N'Djamena, put on display at the Place d'Independence

Photo: BBC
    Prisoners captured after a rebel assault on the capital, N'Djamena, put on display at the Place d'Independence
    Chad closes borders with Sudan
    Chad's government has announced it has cut off diplomatic relations with Sudan after repelling a rebel attack on the capital, N'Djamena, on Thursday.
    Sudan denies Chad's accusations that it backs the United Force for Change rebels, who were beaten back by Chadian troops after launching a dawn raid.
    Chad warns it might expel refugees who fled conflict in Sudan's Darfur region.
    On Friday, Chad paraded 160 captives, said to be rebels, in a public square while crowds and soldiers looked on.
    "We have taken the decision to break our diplomatic relations with Sudan today and to proceed to close our frontiers," Chadian President Idriss Deby told a rally in N'Djamena.
    Mr Deby warned that the international community had until the end of June to resolve the conflict in Darfur.
    Otherwise they would have "to find another country" to shelter some 200,000 Sudanese refugees in eastern Chad.
    He said he had ordered all Sudanese diplomats to leave the country.
       BBC    Friday, 14 April 2006     
    Boys and young men from the White Army civilian defence force in Akobo, Jonglei State, South Sudan, July 2006.

Some members of the White Army have resisted disarmament for fear of increased vulnerability to attack.   Others do not accept the authority of the Government of South Sudan, which is trying to disarm them.

Photo: UN/IRIN
    Boys and young men from the White Army civilian defence force in Akobo, Jonglei State, South Sudan, July 2006.
    Some members of the White Army have resisted disarmament for fear of increased vulnerability to attack.   Others do not accept the authority of the Government of South Sudan, which is trying to disarm them.
    Sunday, 5 February 2006
    Sudan militia 'is targeting Chad'
    Chadian soldier patrols the border with Sudan
    Chadian soldier patrols the border with Sudan
    Chad and Sudan have traded insults over border town clashes
    Militias based in Sudan's western Darfur region are carrying out almost daily cross-border raids on villages in neighbouring Chad, says a rights group.
    The New York-based group Human Rights Watch says most attacks were by militia from Sudan and Chad, apparently with some Sudanese government backing.
    Human Rights Watch has called for an expanded international force in Darfur.
    It says a force is also needed along the border with Chad to protect civilians.
    Pro-government Janjaweed militiamen are accused of killing thousands of civilians in attacks on villages in Darfur and forcing 2m people to flee in reprisals following a rebel uprising in the region.
    HRW researchers said they had documented numerous attacks on villages just inside Chad by militias who had crossed over the border from Sudan.
    They said the militias killed civilians, burned villages and stole cattle.
    Selective attacks
    The human rights agency's report found nearly half of the 85 villages in the Barotta region just inside Chad had been attacked and subsequently abandoned, with 16 villagers killed in a single month.
    HRW said they were told by witnesses that those responsible were ethnic Arabs who wore Sudanese army clothing and spoke Sudanese Arabic.
    Some attacks have also been carried out by Chadian rebels who operate from bases inside Darfur.
    The report said most of the victims in Chad, as in Darfur, came from African ethnic groups and that the Arab civilians living in the same area were not harmed.
    Human Rights Watch said tens of thousands of people in Chad had been internally displaced by the violence.
    "Sudan's policy of arming militias and letting them loose is spilling over the border and civilians have no protection from their attacks, in Darfur or in Chad," said HRW's Africa director, Peter Takirambudde.
    Currently some 7,000 troops from the African Union are attempting to maintain security across the huge Darfur region.
    However, funding is running out and the Security Council is discussing changing this to a UN peacekeeping operation.
    HRW said any such UN mission should have a strong mandate to protect itself and civilians, by force if necessary, and to disarm and disband the Sudan government-sponsored militia.

    Nov-11-2005
    Attacks have left many people from Darfur living in refugee camps
    SUDAN: UN TOLD OF ATTACKS ON SOUTH DARFUR VILLAGES
    Khartoum, 11 Nov. (AKI) — The United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) says it has received an unconfirmed report that some 1,500 armed men attacked and burned six villages in southern Darfur earlier this week, killing some 18 people.
    Meanwhile, the UN secretary-general's special representative, Jan Pronk, said he had notified the Sudanese government that a UN expert panel monitoring the arms embargo was mistreated over the weekend.
    UNMIS said the report about the attacks in Darfud indicated that on Sunday and Monday the armed group travelling on camels and horses and in vehicles killed 18 people, wounded 16 others, and attacked and burned the Dar es Salam, Jamali, Funfo, Tabeldyad, Um Djantara and Um Putrum villages in the Gereida area of Darfur.
    The African Union (AU) has been notified of these reports and intends to investigate them, UNMIS said.
    The secretary-general's special representative in Sudan, Jan Pronk, reported that he sent a demarche, or diplomatic protest, to the Sudanese foreign ministry about an incident on Saturday in which two members of the UN arms embargo panel had been manhandled, forcibly restrained and suffered abrasions, despite the fact that they had clearly identified themselves and their capacity.
    Pronk said he met on Thursday with the foreign minister, who said the behaviour of military intelligence "had been wrong" and promised that the panel's mission would not be hindered further.
    (Slb/Aki)
    Nov-02-05
    >
      
    30 September 2005
    Refugees burned alive as violence returns to Darfur
    By Meera Selva, Africa Correspondent
    Rebel commander Khalil Abdalla

Photo: BBC
    The rebels accuse the government of discriminating against black Africans
    Darfur is in the grip of a fresh outbreak of violence, with hundreds of civilians being killed by warring militias and the United Nations mission considering pulling out of the region.
    At least 29 people were reported killed yesterday in an "unprecedented" attack on the Aro Sharow refugee camp in the northwestern area of Sudan.
    The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said people in the camp and local villagers had been attacked by 300 "armed Arab men on horses and camels".
    Over the past two months thousands of civilians have fled their villages across Darfur. At least 5,000 people have been driven to shelter in camps, saying their villages had been attacked by the pro-government militias known as the janjaweed. Hundreds more are reported to have been killed.
    The Sudanese government had promised to clamp down on militias operating in the region earlier this year, but both the rebel Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the janjaweed have stepped up attacks on civilians, aid workers and each other.
    On Wednesday, the UN's under secretary general for humanitarian affairs, Jan Egeland, warned that the situation in Darfur was becoming so violent that the UN and other aid agencies may have to pull out. He said: "As we speak, we have had to suspend action in many areas. Tens of thousands of people will not get any assistance today because it is too dangerous and it could grow."
    Since the beginning of August, more than 45 aid convoys have been attacked on roads leading to the main camps by militias who have beaten up drivers and stolen food from the vehicles. Aid agencies have now stopped using main roads, and are relying on a few helicopters to get supplies to displaced people. Local staff working at many of the camps have not had their salaries paid for months.
    Nicki Bennett, based in Nyala for Oxfam, said: "The security situation in Darfur remains extremely volatile — people still face the threat of horrific violence on a daily basis, and insecurity is also hampering humanitarian access ... The African Union peacekeeping troops are helping to improve the situation in the areas where they are deployed, but there are not nearly enough of them. At the moment, there are not even 6,000 troops trying to patrol a region the size of France."
    Map: BBC
    The humanitarian situation has been worsened by rains, which have flooded many of the camps. Medical workers say outbreaks of malaria and diarrhoea are increasing, but they are not able to get medicines to the worst affected areas. A fuel shortage is also hindering the delivery of food and medicines.
    All sides have also intensified military operations. Last week, the SLA launched a surprise attack to gain control of the southern Darfur town of Sheiria, and on Monday, the janjaweed, in uniform and on horseback, crossed the border and killed 36 people in Chad. The Chad army, which claims to have killed seven of the attackers, said the janjaweed crossed the border to steal livestock.
    Peace talks between the Sudanese government and the SLA resumed in Nigeria this week, but the AU has complained that the SLA is destabilising the talks by continuing to fight. The SLA insists it is only defending itself. The talks are also likely to be hindered by the fact that the SLA has splintered into several groups. A recent UN policy meeting in Darfur was disrupted by Sudanese national security forces, which arrested and later released several of the Sudanese participants.
    More than two million people have fled their homes in Darfur over the past two and half years, and an estimated 180,000 have been killed. After an international outcry last year, the Sudanese government agreed to take measures to end the violence, but international attention has moved away from the region.
    © 2005 Independent News & Media (UK) Ltd.
     
    Aiding Darfur: A nurse's story IX
    Trauma nurse Roberta Gately, who works for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) aid agency, tells the BBC News website about trying to help some of the 1.6 million people who have fled their homes in Sudan's war-torn region of Darfur.
    Roberta Gately with children at the Kalma camp
    Roberta (pictured) has found laughter among the tears in Darfur
    Saying goodbye is never easy. It is especially difficult to say goodbye to the people of Darfur.
    I have been in Darfur for the last three months.   This most recent posting followed another stint here late last winter and spring.
    I have come to know this region well.   I understand its troubles and its people, and I call many of them my friends.
    I know how the sun sneaks up quickly in the morning and then disappears just as swiftly in the evening.   I know the sounds of the call to prayer, the almost dream-like melody of the chant.
    With my eyes closed, I can see the haunted, hungry eyes of the children here.   I can hear too the sound of a dying baby's cry.   There is no sadder sound in the world.
    But I can hear too the unforgettable music that the laughter of Darfur's children creates.   For even in their deepest misery, they somehow manage to find joy.
    Lasting memories
    It is the staff and the displaced in the camps too that I will always remember.   Their names and stories flow through my memory like pearls through a string.
    There is Dr Mohammed, in charge of our clinic in Kalma, busily caring for his countrymen and women with a tireless energy, ceaseless smile and unwavering humour, especially appreciated here amidst the sadness and gloom.
    And I will never forget Abdullah, a resident of the Kalma camp who works with us as a medical assistant, or the time I saw him cradle a dying baby as though it were his own.
    The janjaweed's bullets tore off her right hand before settling in the heart of the baby she held so tightly
    There is Maryam, a nurse, whose home is a tiny hut in this sprawling camp. Despite her own misery, she somehow manages to care for her patients and her family with a quiet grace that takes my breath away.
    And Ali, our outreach worker, who also calls Kalma home.   He knows every inch of this sprawling, squalid camp.   His own escape from his burning village was not so long ago.   His memories of his family's torment are fresh wounds but still he tends to the wounds and needs of others here in Kalma.  
    He lives in a small hut with his wife, three children, two sisters and a mother.   His job here at the clinic helps to support them.   He stutters when he tries to speak English but he calms himself, takes a deep breath, and continues on.
    There are Hawa and Kosar, two gentle midwives who live here in Kalma.   They never speak of their escapes or their desperate lives.   They simply tend to their patients, the babies and mothers of Kalma, with concern and love.
    There is Abdul, the tailor, whose horrific burns inflicted by the Janjaweed [Arab militia], mean that he will sew no more.   Neither will he cradle his children.   He is unable to even wipe away his own tears.
    There is little Mohammed Hossein, whose burns have scarred not just his body, but his young spirit as well.
    There is Aseena, the young mother, who tried to escape the attack on her village cradling her two-year-old daughter as she ran.   But the Janjaweed's bullets tore off her right hand before settling in the heart of the baby she held so tightly.   Her baby died instantly.
    And Melha, a widowed mother of 10 when her village was attacked last spring.   During the ensuing chaos, she was separated from seven of her children.   She has not seen them since that mournful day.   She has no idea if they are dead or alive.
    And so she holds her three remaining children close.   And she waits.
    How can I ever say goodbye to these people, to this place? The truth is, I simply cannot, and so like a precious string of pearls, I will carry their names and memories, tucked safely into my heart.
    And when I need to feel their lustre, I will take them out and there I will linger over my memories of these noble, graceful people.
    Roberta's previous articles
    Eyewitness: Terror in Darfur
    The BBC's Fergal Keane witnesses an assault by Sudan's security forces on a refugee camp in the troubled region of Darfur.
    Samira temporarily lost her baby during the assault
    The first police action at El-Geer refugee camp near Nyala began soon after midnight.
    I saw at least four jeep-loads of police driving over the flimsy shacks erected by displaced people.
    Later they returned and began to beat and tear-gas the frightened crowd.
    I saw one of the community leaders being thrown to the ground and attacked by several policemen.
    The police launched tear-gas grenades into a compound where women and children were sheltering.
    Police then entered and forced them to flee.
    Relocation
    El-Geer camp
    A police commander at the scene told me he was under orders to move the people to a new camp several kilometres away.
    Forcible relocation is a grave breach of international humanitarian law, but the internal community is powerless here.
    The police showed open contempt for United Nations officials when they arrived, firing tear-gas grenades and driving aggressively around the camp.
    African Union (AU) peacekeepers at the camp said they did not have power or mandate to intervene.
    More police have now arrived to reinforce the earlier contingent.
    The UN representatives pulled out of the camp for security reasons.
    All of this took place on a day when the UN representative in Sudan, Mr Jan Pronk, was due to visit the camp to talk with local officials.   Government officials in this area knew this.
    Provocation
    Some 1.6m people have fled their homes in the conflict
    For the UN and African Union, this assault on El-Geer camp is a calculated affront.
    The police staged two assaults on displaced people, and wouldn't desist from bulldozing their camp, despite the presence of representatives of the UN, AU and international aid agencies.
    At one stage a plastic bullet was fired at a BBC cameraman standing next to a UN vehicle.
    The BBC has also confirmed that tear gas was fired at people, mostly women and children, queuing at a nearby medical clinic.
    We witnessed harrowing scenes.
    One woman was crying hysterically because her baby son had been lost in the panic.   She later found him.

    A number of men and women were also arrested.
    Bewilderment
    The displaced people here are vulnerable and defenceless, and they felt real terror.
    All the people here I have spoken to were driven out of their own villages by the pro-government Janjaweed militia and have witnessed rape and murder.
    It is really hard to convey what it is like, when in the dark hours of the early morning, jeeps come in with searchlights, knowing that these people have absolutely no protection.
    I've been covering Africa for 21 years and I thought I'd seen everything, but to watch the officials and the police of a state like Sudan — which has just signed a peace agreement — demolishing people's shacks under the eyes of international observer and breaching international law, is quite extraordinary and unique.
    The population is terrorised and bewildered, with little faith in the power of the international community.

    Slide cursor underneath or side of photos

              
    AU losing patience with Darfur rebels
    Friday 03 February 2006
     
    New disagreements have emerged between Darfur rebel groups
    New disagreements have emerged between rebel groups
    International mediators are increasing pressure on fractious rebel groups from the Darfur region of Sudan to strike a peace deal with the government.
    Delegates at talks in Nigeria said on Friday that rival rebel factions, whose arguments hampered six previous rounds of talks, have negotiated jointly during the current round, but new signs of disunity have come out into the open.
    Noureddine Mezni, a spokesman for the African Union (AU) mediation team, said: "We cannot continue to negotiate forever. Divisions in the [rebel] movements complicate the whole process and we are trying to bring the factions closer together."
    The AU, which has about 7,000 peacekeepers in Darfur where violence is growing, says it is hopeful that a deal will be reached, but it is sending increasingly strong signals that its patience with the Abuja negotiators is limited.
    Salim Ahmed Salim, the AU special envoy for the Darfur conflict, told the UN Security Council last month that it should consider "carefully targeted sanctions" against those who delay progress towards a settlement.
    Proxy militias
    Delegates from the two rebel movements, the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the smaller Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), said they felt that a peace deal could be achieved. However, rival factions accused each other of undermining the talks.
    The SLA and the JEM took up arms in early 2003 over what they describe as marginalisation by Khartoum. The government backed proxy militias to fight the rebels and the conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and driven more than two million from their homes.
    The UN Security Council is calling for early contingency planning for a UN peacekeeping mission to replace the AU contingent in Darfur.
     

              
    Threats ground Darfur aid flights
    Friday 09 December 2005
    An AU force is deployed in Darfur to maintain stability
    An AU force is deployed in Darfur to maintain stability
     
    The United Nations has grounded some aid flights and evacuated workers in parts of West Darfur state because of the escalating violence crippling humanitarian efforts in Sudan's vast west, UN officials said.
    Militia attacks have forced aid workers to evacuate, closed off roads, and sent 7000 Darfuris from their homes in South Darfur and West Darfur, Radhia Achouri, a UN spokeswoman, said on Friday.
    "Our humanitarian efforts are being destroyed on the ground," she said.
    One of the world's largest humanitarian aid operations is under way in Darfur, with more than 11,000 aid workers trying to feed, clothe and shelter the more than two million Darfuris who fled to miserable camps during almost three years of fighting.
    A 6000-strong African Union force deployed to monitor the violence secured a brief respite but recent months saw a return to insecurity.
    Further fighting
    Achouri said government forces and Darfur rebels have been fighting in West Darfur, and there have been joint army and militia attacks on villages in South Darfur.
    In West Darfur there are also reports of Arab militias fighting each other as their traditional nomadic migratory paths have been blocked by the conflict and desertification has dried up many of the drinking holes for their animals.
     
    Talks to halt the violence in Darfur have resumed in Nigeria
    Talks to halt the violence in
    Darfur have resumed in Nigeria
    Water points have been targeted, making it difficult for civilians to return home.
    Meanwhile, all roads out of the West Darfur state capital el-Geneina have been closed to UN traffic.
    Now many aid workers have been temporarily evacuated from two main areas of operations and a rebel renegade group is threatening helicopters, prompting the UN to ground its aircraft over their areas, UN officials said.
    "Humanitarian access is worse than ever," said UN worker Matthew Ryder in el-Geneina.
    Meanwhile delegates at the AU-sponsored peace talks seeking an end to the 33-month-old crisis in Sudan's Darfur region returned to the negotiating table in a bid to resolve a row over power and wealth sharing, an AU spokesman said.
    Peace talks
    "The meeting of the commission on power sharing is now under way.   While that of wealth sharing will start at 4.00pm," Nouredine Mezni said.
    "The representatives of the government of Sudan and those of the movements are expected to respond to a compromise proposal by the AU," he said.

    “Our humanitarian efforts are being destroyed on the ground”
    Radhia Achouri, UN spokeswoman
    Mezni added that the meeting on power sharing was postponed to allow the region's two rebel movements to reach a compromise with delegates from the Khartoum government on some contentious issues.
    The row over power sharing had almost stalled the latest round of talks which resumed on 28 November.
    Up to 300,000 people have died and more than two million fled their homes in what UN aid agencies have dubbed world's worst humanitarian crisis.
    The UN has accused Khartoum of arming Arab proxy militias to fight the rebels who say they are marginalised by the central Arab-dominated government.
    Police kill protesters in Port Sudan
    Saturday 29 January 2005
     
    A curfew has been imposed in Port Sudan
    Sudanese police killed about 20 people and injured 40 on Saturday when they opened fire on hundreds of demonstrators in the Red Sea city of Port Sudan, a local political leader said.
    A U.N. spokeswoman said as-yet-unconfirmed reports put the death toll to at least 17 people and maybe as high as 30.
    A hospital source in the city said 17 people were killed and 20 injured when police opened fire on a protest march. An official source said the death toll was lower.
    Abdullah Moussa Abdullah, secretary-general of the Beja Congress in Red Sea state, told Reuters by telephone from Port Sudan that he had seen 17 bodies in the hospital morgue and had the names of three other people killed.
    Protest rally
    A witness to the unrest, Khalil Usman Khalil, told Aljazeera TV that the protest rally started Friday night.
    "Clashes took place between demonstrators and police, lasting for almost all Friday night. Work at Port Sudan was partially stopped and almost completely this morning after renewal of violence, so police resorted to disperse demonstrators," Khalil said on Saturday.
    Moussa said he was present in the morning when 300 to 400 members of the Beja ethnic group gathered to prepare for a march to demand that the Khartoum government start negotiations with the Beja on sharing power and the country's resources.
    "There was a special police unit that appeared and just opened fire at them before they even moved. They fired at their heads and bodies, not even in the air," he said. Three children were among those killed, he added.
    The source at the hospital said all of the wounds were from bullets. "About 17 were killed and around 20 injured," added the source, who declined to be named.
    List of demands
    Three days ago members of eastern tribes, mostly the Beja, presented a list of demands to the Red Sea state governor, including wealth and power sharing. They warned they would take unspecified actions if the demands were not met within 72 hours.
    "This time was up today and they started a march towards the wali's (governor's) office," the hospital source said, adding the police stopped the march before it got very far.
    The source said seven soldiers were injured by stones, but only civilians suffered gunshot wounds.
    Peace deal
    U.N. spokeswoman Radhia Achouri said the United Nations was concerned at the reports of violence and that if it escalated it could detract from a peace deal signed earlier this month to end over two decades of civil war in the south.
    "It's a big, big problem which we would face if the situation in the east would blow up in our face," she said.
    Moussa said the Beja Congress, a local ethnic-based party with a military wing, had asked the governor of Red Sea state to withdraw security forces from residential areas and the governor had complied. "It is relatively calm now," he added.
    The interior ministry declined to comment on the numbers killed but said in a statement: "A number of civilians tried to create a state of chaos in the town ... and the police forces moved to challenge them."
    Curfew
    The regional security committee on Saturday placed the town under a night-time curfew from 5pm (1500 GMT) to 6am (0300 GMT) for two consecutive nights, Sudan's state news agency said.
    The minister of finance in Port Sudan, Ali Mahmoud, told Reuters by telephone that a number of the demonstrators this morning started looting shops and the police had intervened.
    "Some were killed but not as many as 17," he said. He said he did not know of shots fired or how the people were killed.
    "There were some little clashes between the police and those making chaos," he said.
    One police official in Port Sudan said many were killed and injured by gun shots. "There was shooting in the centre of the town at the demonstration," the official said.
    The Beja Congress, like other Sudanese opposition groups, accuses the Khartoum government of neglecting the remote regions of the country in favour of the centre, which is the powerbase of the traditional political elite.
    They see the agreement this month between the government and the southern rebels of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement as a model for their own regions. The agreement gives the southerners a share of their region's oil revenues.
    The World Food Programme says some areas of eastern Sudan, where the Beja live, have higher malnutrition rates than the crisis-hit western Darfur region.
     

        
    Darfur described as a living hell
    Thursday 17 February 2005
    Annan says there is a breakdown in law and order in Darfur.
     
    Despite peace deals, Sudan's Darfur region is lapsing into chaos, with rebels attacking police and the government ignoring brutal tribesmen they once armed, according to a UN report.
    UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said close to 2.3 million people were in desperate need of aid, more than a third of an estimated population of six million in Darfur.
    Annan urged the UN Security Council to take immediate steps to stop the violence in Darfur, which has killed at least 70,000 people and displaced two million.
    "Darfur's people are living in hell," said Chadian President Idriss Deby at the start of the Darfur talks in Chad's capital N'Djamena, which were also attended by international mediators and African Union (AU) Commission Chairman Alpha Oumar Konare.
    "We hope the parties will declare a total and definitive ceasefire. It is time for them to respect their commitments," Deby told the talks' opening session late on Wednesday.
     
    The report says up to 2.3 million people desperately need aid
    Negotiations
    Sudanese government officials and Darfur's two main rebel groups — the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) — attended the N'Djamena talks, which are meant to prepare for full political negotiations.
    The talks are due to end on Thursday.
    Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo, current chair of the 35-member AU, said on Wednesday he hoped full peace talks would start again in Abuja at the end of February.
    AU Chairman Konare said a team of AU and Chadian officials would be sent to Darfur after the talks to map out the positions of the belligerents and check on the commitments made.
    The leaders of Sudan and Chad on Wednesday warned the international community not to send non-African troops to Darfur or to impose sanctions. The AU has 1400 troops in Darfur and expects the force to grow to more than 3000.
        
     
    A UN panel said the Janjawid militias committed mass killings
    Janjawid leader tells of Khartoum links
    Thursday 03 March 2005
    Sudan's government in Khartoum directed and supported ethnic Arab militia attacks on ethnic Africans in Darfur, a top militia leader has told Human Rights Watch.
    The New York-based human rights group said on Wednesday that Musa Hilal, who has been identified by the US State Department and others as a leader among the Arab militias operating in Darfur, spoke to its researchers last year.
    Sudanese government officials repeatedly have rejected allegations they were linked to the Arab militias known as Janjawid.
    A Sudanese Foreign Ministry official, who said he had not read the Human Rights Watch report, said on Wednesday that Hilal must have been misquoted.
    Child being bathed
     
    The Darfur conflict began after two non-Arab rebel groups took up arms against the central government in a bid to win more political and economic rights for the region's African tribes.
    Sudan's government denies that it backs the Janjawid militias.
    No firm estimate of the direct toll of the war yet exists, but it is thought to be in the thousands.
    Orders from Khartoum
    In the videotaped interview, Hilal told Human Rights Watch: "All the people in the field are led by top army commanders."
    Hilal, speaking in Arabic, said in the transcript provided by Human Rights Watch: "These people get their orders from the Western command centre, and from Khartoum."
    The tapes were made over several hours of interviews with Hilal last September in Khartoum. Human Rights Watch said the release of the tape was delayed for technical reasons related to translating Hilal's comments and formatting the tape.
    African Union forces came under attack near Edwa
     
    Since the United States accused the Arab militias of committing genocide, Hilal has been in seclusion in the capital, under close watch by Sudanese officials, those in contact with him say.
    Hilal, from the North Darfur town of Mistiria, recruited, trained and armed militia fighters who called themselves the Border Intelligence Division, accused of the bulk of the atrocities reported in Darfur.
    That militia also calls itself the Second Reconnaissance Brigade, or the Quick and the Horrible, say officers of the African Union, a 53-nation bloc whose monitors are inspecting compliance with a repeatedly violated ceasefire.
    Denial of command
    In the Human Rights Watch tape, Hilal confirmed being a recruiter but denied he commanded the militia: "Yes, it's true, I mobilise people, I coordinate with recruiters ... but I was never a commander of troops in a war zone.
    "But as for the military units, with guns, that move around to attack rebel areas or that are attacked by rebels — they're under the order of field commanders," Hilal said.
    “We now see that the two parties responsible for crimes against humanity in Darfur are pointing the finger at each other”
    Peter Takirambudde, executive director, HRW Africa division
    The executive director of Human Rights Watch's Africa division highlighted Hilal's denial of command responsibility: "Musa Hilal squarely contradicts the government's claim that it has 'no relationship' with local militias," Peter Takirambudde said.
    "We now see that the two parties responsible for crimes against humanity in Darfur are pointing the finger at each other," Takirambudde said.
    A UN-appointed panel said in February that Sudan's government and the Janjawid militias were not guilty of genocide but did commit mass killings, torture, rape and other atrocities in the Darfur region that merit trials in the International Criminal Court.
    The United States has called on the Sudanese government to do more to end the Darfur conflict, which the United Nations says has created the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
              AFP + Aljazeera + Agencies and Reuters
     
    Tuesday, 13 December 2005
    Sudan bars Darfur atrocity probe
    Darfur refugees
    No high-level officials have been prosecuted for the atrocities in Darfur
    Sudan's government says it will not allow international investigators into the troubled province of Darfur to collect evidence on alleged war crimes.
    The ban comes as the chief prosecutor from the International Criminal Court told the UN Security Council that he wanted more co-operation from Sudan.
    Luis Moreno Ocampo said he had identified mass killings and rape but had not decided who to prosecute.
    Some two million people have fled their homes in the three-year Darfur war.
    Sudan's Justice Minister Muhammad Ali al-Mardi told the BBC that the ICC had no jurisdiction to try Sudanese nationals.
    "We have the national law authority... The government is willing and able to try to these cases," he said.
    President targeted
    The BBC's Jonah Fisher in Khartoum says only a few low-level military officers have faced charges over the violence in Darfur, which has left tens of thousands dead.
    Displaced Darfurian women in Abu Shouk, North Darfur
    Millions of people have been displaced by the conflict
    An earlier investigation by a UN-appointed commission drew up a list of 51 possible suspects for alleged war crimes in Darfur.
    But Mr Ocampo said the ICC would conduct its own investigations and no decision had been taken as to whom to prosecute.
    On Monday, lobby group Human Rights Watch called for senior Sudanese officials — including the president — to be investigated for crimes against humanity in Darfur.
    Its latest report names more than a dozen civilian and military officials it says helped co-ordinate militias and armed forces who attacked civilians.
    It adds that the leadership in Khartoum relied on the civilian administration, the military and Janjaweed militias to implement a counter-insurgency policy that deliberately targeted civilians.
    A Sudanese official dismissed the report as "ridiculous" and "baseless".
    Sudan's government has said that the violence in Darfur is a tribal conflict and the attacks are carried out by militias and rebels.
    It denies that the state has co-ordinated the violence.

    www.democracynow.org
    December 20th, 2004
    Sudanese Liberation Army Forces Asks the World For Help Against Government Campaign of "Genocide"
    AMY GOODMAN:   We're joined by Mark Brecke, a documentary photographer and filmmaker, who has worked in conflict zones around the world.  Late last week, he rushed to the U.S. from Sudan, where he had spent almost a month in Darfur.  We welcome you to Democracy Now!  What did you see?
    MARK BRECKE:  I think what's most struck me is the amount of burned out villages and other peoples who are displaced within Darfur.
    I toured with a Sudanese Liberation Army, and we would go through some towns that were completely burned out, others were partially inhabited, and there are many thousands of people are scattered throughout Darfur, living in trees.
    I was surprised to see the bombs that the government would drop on the small towns, and some had not exploded, and some were still stuck in the ground.
    You can see the writing on the fins of the bombs.
    The government has denied this, and the evidence is all around.
    I saw open gravesites with 13 men who were brought up to the rocks, and shot.
    Three bodies were — they tried to hide and S.L.A. came in to retake this particular town, and ten bodies exposed.
    They weren't able to hide them in time.
    I saw hospitals which I visited as recently as two days before I returned.
    There were farmers who were shot by the Janjaweed in the leg and arm. 
            Race, resources, oil drives Darfur conflict       
    Screams of Sudan's starving refugees
    Hilary Andersson
    By Hilary Andersson
    BBC Africa correspondent


    Darfur refugee woman
    Hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled their homes
    A pro-government Arab militia, known as the Janjaweed, is accused of carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the African population there.  Hilary Andersson has been to one of the Darfur refugee camps.
    The 15-month long conflict in Sudan's western province of Darfur has produced what the United Nations is calling "the worst humanitarian crisis in the world".
    It is very disturbing to be a me or a you and to see what is happening in Darfur.
    To see humanity stripped to its barest bones.  To see people so traumatised that they stutter from their memories, or wail at night, and now so destitute that they simply have nothing.
    Not a blanket, not shelter, not water, not food, not basic health. Nothing.  And the prospect of things getting worse.
    I spoke to so many displaced Darfurians that my notebook is jammed with endless identifying scribbles like woman in red headdress; starving child with crinkled face like old man; pathetic-looking child leaning against mother — and next to them name after name.
    WATCH AND LISTEN
    The BBC's Richard Lister
    "The UN calls this the worlds worst humanitarian crisis"
    Children starve
    Stories that relay horror piled on horror.  And stories that are all very similar.
    Child death
    Out of all of them, the first displaced woman I spoke to in Darfur sticks in my mind, though her name is lost to me.
    She sat on a small mat with her nine-month-old boy who was gaunt and famished.  His name was Abdul Rahim.
    One morning, before dawn at 0400, Abdul's mother was sleeping in her village — Shattay — when they came.  The Janjaweed. A word that carries tremendous fear.
    It is a play on the local, roughly spoken Arabic and translates as "evil men on horseback with guns".
    This was the dawn when the so-called evil ones set fire to her village.
    She heard chaos breaking out and ran with her children.
    Janjaweed were firing, killing men and, so she and others said, shooting and hurting children too.
    Her husband fled also.  She does not know if he was killed.
    The next day, children in tow, she began her three-day journey to Kalma, in searing Saharan heat.
    On her way to the camp her seven-year-old child could not cope — and he died.
    Map of Sudan
    The Darfur conflict began last year after rebels claimed the region was being neglected by Khartoum
    She told this part of the story in a matter-of-fact sort of way.
    I suppose she knows that Abdul, her youngest, might die of hunger — and she has no house now, no shelter, no blanket.
    'Better than dying'
    "How do you find it here?" someone asked her.
    She answered without hesitation and quietly.  "It is better than dying," she said.
    Perhaps you have to have seen the horror of death in Darfur to make a statement like that.
    For outsiders it is hard to see anything redeeming about life for the displaced people.
    In the past two weeks I have met families with no food at all in their shacks.
    It makes you want to scream to see it
    I have seen a family's one bowl of rotting food crawling with insects. Seen a starving child being washed in water dirtied with his own blood. Seen stick-thin infants covered in excrement and throwing up their food because they are too weak to eat it.
    Starvation is a horror. It is a slow and painful way of dying.
    Mothers have to watch their children suffering terribly in the process.
    It makes you want to scream to see it.
    Except you cannot because it is not your trauma, it is someone else's and they do the screaming.
    It happens at night.
    I say that because we kept hearing it.  We stayed in a camp called Mornei for three nights, right next to a small tent.
    The tent served as a clinic for the worst cases of children with severe malnutrition.
    Some of the children who came into that tent daily looked barely alive.
    Darfur refugee women
    The displaced Darfurians are very short of food and shelter
    Strangely, if you looked at any one of them for long enough they would look back with large, penetrating, angry eyes.  It was haunting.
    The tent stank.  The temperature was over 40C (104F).
    When the sun went down there came a slight relief.
    But it was the minute drop of heat in the evenings that was killing the weakened children — their bodies too traumatised to cope with any change at all.
    And so, after going to bed, at two or three in morning the darkness and silence would be abruptly cut through with the sound of an awful scream of anguish as a mother mourned her child's passing away.
    That, at this awfully lonely hour, would start it all off.  The donkeys would let rip tortured moans, the famished dogs would begin to howl.
    And if ever there was a reason or place for the imagination to start working, it was this.
    Terrifying thought process
    One night when the wailing began, the stories from the day began circling in my head and I realised that these must be the same screams heard in the villages at the moment of attack by the Janjaweed — these were after all the same noises of catastrophe from the same people.
    I began to imagine the gut-wrenching fear that the mothers must have felt when — having heard for months of villages nearby being burned — their turn came.
    All the houses on fire, their neighbours screaming and running, their children scattering in the chaos, running past dead bodies on their way out of the village, not knowing if their husbands were alive or dead.
    They are refugees, but they have found no safe refuge
    Sleeping perhaps under a tree.  Walking the next morning with no shelter, no family in the middle of a desert.
    Then ending up in the nearest town, only to find everyone else there half-starved.
    It is a terrifying thought process — made all the more real because, not a few hundred metres from where we slept, where the refugees sleep nightly, are the Janjaweed.
    The very men who are tormenting the civilians by driving them from their villages are right in the middle of the camps, patrolling them by day, terrorising the women by night.
    If the women try to go out of the camps to get food they face the real prospect of being killed, beaten or raped.
    No-one has documented it precisely but probably thousands of women have been raped so far.
    Can you imagine how frightened these people are?  They are refugees, but they have found no safe refuge.
    Hard facts
    There is a lot more to said about Darfur.  But one of the most galling thoughts is this.
    These people do not have to be starving.  There is not a major drought, there is a war.
    This situation has been brought about by men.
    The men involved are the Janjaweed militia and the Sudanese government which has admitted to backing the militia in parts of this war — though the government also says it cannot control them.
    Either way, the destruction of Darfur is a massive reprisal against a black Darfur rebel group — the Sudanese Liberation Movement (SLM) — which is fighting for greater representation for the region.
    Fair enough, fight the rebel group — you might say.
    Governments cannot just ignore rebellions on their territory, and militias will be militias.
    It is not a war as we know it; it is the mass punishment of the people
    For the sake of argument, let us be generous to the armies here — that is war.
    But why take it out on the mothers, the children, the old men, the civilians?
    That is the evil of what is happening in Darfur.
    These are the facts:  children are starving to death because of a fight between a group of powerful, well-armed, dirty fighting men — who are grown-ups.
    And many more will die before this is over.

     
    www.democracynow.org   December 20, 2004
    If your push the Sudanese people off their land
    AMY GOODMAN:    Explain who the Janjaweed are?
    MARK BRECKE:    Janjaweed are basically nomadic or of Arab descent.
    They live in parts of Darfur. They number around 300.
    The Darfur people themselves, the Sudanese, the black Sudanese started to demand rights.
    That was almost two or three years ago.
    From this, the Khartoum government pretty much promised the Janjaweed, if you pushed the Sudanese people off their land, they promised they could take whatever they wanted in the land.
    They are basically hired by the government.
    When the uprising started, the government was like, how dare you demand your rights, you demand equality and you demand resources.
    So, the Janjaweed pretty much have done the dirty work for the Khartoum government.
    This has been going on, well, for a while, but since 2001.
    Slide cursor underneath or side of photos
    www.democracynow.org   December 20, 2004
    'Genocide underway' in Sudan
    AMY GOODMAN:    The S.L.A., who are they?
    MARK BRECKE:    The Sudanese Liberation Army, some call them rebels, but they're much more than rebels.     They're a real people's movement.
    Extremely organized and very educated.
    I was with a unit for almost three weeks.
    I was with some of the top commanders.
    The commanders come from different varieties of occupations.
    One was a veterinarian.
    One was a college professor, one used to work for the government.
    The younger members of the S.L.A. have left university early to join the movement in Darfur.
    This is their land.
    This is where they have come from for generations.
    This is what they're fighting for.
    Just equality and not autonomy.
     
    Testimony Before the Committee on International Relations U.S. House of Representatives May 06, 2004
    Roger Winter Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance
    ...Our experts have put together a mortality chart, which I will submit for the record.
    I would like to focus attention on this chart because it shows what we have feared for some time, and especially since the violence escalated dramatically last December.
    This chart shows why we were raising that alarm and what we are faced with now since we have not had adequate humanitarian access.
    Looking at this mortality chart, several points stand out immediately.
    The threshold mortality rate for an emergency is one person per ten thousand dying everyday from the effects of the emergency.
    At the time the chart was created, the number of people "affected" by the emergency in Darfur was 1.2 million people.   USAID estimates that by June 2004, Darfur will reach three deaths per 10,000 people per day.
    This is just the starting point.
    In a normal year, this is the time when Darfurians finish consuming their crops from the last growing season.
    They are also preparing for the long "hunger gap."
    They plant their crops for the new year before the rains begin.
    Once the rains start, it is difficult to get food, so people use their stored crops and their animals to sustain them through this period.
    In Darfur, they also typically migrate to other parts of Sudan or other countries to earn cash through this rough period.
    At the market, they purchase what they could not grow on their land.
    This year, however, is tragically different.
    Water sources have been destroyed and crops burned by the jingaweit.
    The people who have fled their homes have no food stocks, having left with only a few possessions.
    People who are still in their homes have depleted their food stocks by feeding themselves and their displaced relatives.
    The livestock, at least the ones that were not looted, were sold for cash.
    Donkeys, which are vitally important to the livelihoods of rural people, have died in huge numbers, leaving households without the ability to transport water and other critical items.
    Because of the conflict, the population has not been able to earn cash.
    Even if they have cash, many markets have also been looted, burned, and deprived of commodities coming into the region.
    They are now barren and empty.
    In short, the agricultural cycle for this year has been lost.
    Even if people no longer feared the jingaweit and returned to their land, many would still die because the crops have already been destroyed.
    If they cannot return before the rainy season to plant, they will have no harvest for the next year.
    Friday, 11 March, 2005
    Darfur's hunger set to continue
    Darfur children (Pic: Laura Melo/ WFP
    Darfur's children dream of a brighter future
    Laura Melo works for the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in East Africa and has just been on a trip to the war-torn Darfur region of Sudan.
    This is her account of what she saw.
    "We are children, when we grow up we will build our country and will make it strong," sing a group of youngsters.
    It is an ambitious plan when their starting point is a camp for people displaced by the conflict in Darfur.
    Gathered under the shade of a tree in a makeshift nursery in Zamzam camp in North Darfur, they sing the songs Sudanese schoolchildren have always sung.
    But this might be the only element of normality in their existence.
    Their lives have been shattered by violence that is incomprehensible to them.
    Looted
    More than two million people in Darfur fled their homes — most to neighbouring areas, some across the border to Chad and elsewhere — to escape a conflict that is often simplified as a fight between Arab and African groups, but is also a conflict for the control of scarce resources such as water and fertile land.

    Asha Khatir, refugee (Pic: Laura Melo/ WFP)
    I saw six bodies, but we didn't have time to see who they were or whether there were more people killed
    Asha Khatir

    Homeless and destitute, the displaced and refugee families rely almost entirely on food aid to survive.
    So do hundreds of thousands other people who live in Darfur but whose lives are in disarray.
    At the beginning of the year, the WFP estimated a progressive increase in the number of those in need of food assistance to a peak of 2.8 million people during the July-September rainy season.
    Now, some anticipate that this figure could be much higher.
    Last April's ceasefire for Darfur is violated on a regular basis, and thousands of people continue to be forced out of their homes — often at a rate that humanitarian agencies find difficult to keep up with.
    Asha Khatir and her four children had just arrived when I met them in Kalma camp, near the South Darfur capital, Nyala.
    They had fled Marla, 53km south-east of Nyala, following a series of attacks — the last against women and children getting water from a well.
    Asha's story is tragically familiar in the camps scattered across Darfur.
    "Our village was attacked and all the houses burned," she says.
    "I saw six bodies, but we didn't have time to see who they were or whether there were more people killed. My uncle was also killed."
    Holding her eight-month-old baby, Asha assures me that she feels safe in Kalma camp.
    She laments, however, the loss of the harvest: "All our food was looted."
    Grim prospect
    Fighting has reduced food production in Darfur to a minimum, most economic activities have ceased and the strain on the land available is increasing.
    Traditional nomadic movements are disrupted, leaving herds to overgraze in areas without sufficient water, resulting in drought-like conditions.
    Darfur refugee camp (Pic: Laura Melo/ WFP)
    Darfur's people are not going to grow new crops for many months
    Insecurity has prevented both the traditional export of camels to neighbouring markets and cattle sales within Darfur, dramatically decreasing the pastoralists' purchasing power.
    Moreover, most farmers don't have access to their land.
    Darfur is facing the grim prospect of worsening hunger.
    With the continued displacement, and prevailing economic hardship, more and more people are likely to find themselves with nothing to feed their children.
    The price of millet, the preferred staple food, has increased by 50% since January 2004 (from $20 to $30 for 100kg), while most families are poorer now than a year before.
    Women in the camps are terrified of going out to collect firewood or grass to sell.
    Despite a decision to have a buffer zone around the displaced camps, people there continue to talk about armed men on camels harassing those who venture out.
    Casual labour is scarce. There are no signs of people feeling safe enough to go home in time to cultivate for the next harvest.
    Food shortages are, therefore, a long-term prospect.

    On the move
    Humanitarian agencies, meanwhile, continue to race against time to reach those in need.
    Every day, hundreds of trucks and aeroplanes are on the move to deliver much-needed food aid.
    Insecurity, bad roads, lack of funds and a consequent lack of capacity are, however, major deterrents to the Herculean task of delivering an average of 30,000-40,000 metric tons of food a month.
    It can take as long as four months for food contributions from abroad to reach Port Sudan and two more months for the commodities to reach Darfur.
    With the rainy season approaching, the pressure is even greater.
    Large areas of West Darfur will be cut off during the rainy season between July and September.
    An additional 23,000 metric tons of food need to be moved to be ready for distribution when the rains start.
    WFP is, however, short of funds to purchase all the food required or enough trucks to transport that food.
    Amidst this uncertainty, and as WFP and other agencies struggle for a second straight year before the rains to reach all those in need, the voices of the children of Zamzam camp return to me: like all other children in the world, they want to grow up and be strong.
    Their dream cannot be ignored.
     
     
    Darfur crisis: How to help
    Sudanese refugees in eastern Chad
    About a million of Darfur's residents are now displaced
    Global aid organisations have launched urgent appeals for donations to help people fleeing from fighting between rebel groups and government militias in western Sudan.
    Aid agencies believe one million people have been forced to flee thier homes.
    Many are camped along the border with Chad, where food and water are in short supply and they are still vulnerable to attacks.
    The area is remote, and aid agencies fear that rain will soon make roads impassable.
    The United Nations World Food Programme — www.wfp.org — is seeking $200 million to feed refugees in the area.

    1m displaced
    Up to 50,000 killed
    More at risk from disease and starvation
    Arab militias accused of ethnic cleansing
    Sudan blames rebels for starting conflict


    "The situation in Darfur is becoming more critical every day; the worst is still to come," said WFP Country Director for Sudan, Ramiro Lopes da Silva in a statement.
    Medecins Sans Frontieres — www.msf.org — is working to combat malaria and malnutrition in west Darfur.
    Oxfam — www.oxfam.org.uk — is providing clean water supplies and sanitation to the refugee camps where one Oxfam worker described "80 families living together in one compound without any shelter and only one latrine."
    Islamic Relief — www.islamic-relief.com — has also launched an appeal and food has already been distributed to around 18,000 people.



    RELATED INTERNET LINKS:


    The United Nations Childens Fund, Unicef — www.unicef.org — is seeking to vaccinate children against disease in the refugee camps. It has appealed for $46m.
    Save the Children — www.savethechildren.org — has already distributed plastic sheeting and water storage cans in the area.
    Anti-poverty organisation Care International — www.care.org — is working in Chad to help alleviate conditions for refugees who have crossed the border.
    Cafod, the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development — www.cafod.org.uk/sudanappeal — is working with partners in Southern Darfur to provide clean water, shelter, supplementary feeding in camps for the displaced.
    UK residents can donate via the British Red Cross — www.redcross.org.uk — who have launched an appeal for food and blankets for the region.
    Medair — www.medair.org/en_portal/index.php — is providing treatment kits for malaria, cholera, and dysentery.
    The UN High Commission for Refugees — www.unhcr.ch/donate/redirect.html — is helping to relocate refugees on the border with Chad.
    You can donate to all the campaigns via their websites.

    AMY GOODMAN:   We're joined now by Suleiman Jamous, with the Sudanese Liberation Army.  He is speaking to us from Darfur.  Welcome to Democracy Now!.  What is the situation right now in Darfur?
    SULEIMAN JAMOUS:    The situation now in Darfur is the government is not respecting our agreement of cease-fire, and is violating everywhere, especially in the south Darfur to the east of Niala, and are speaking to the media that they are respecting the cease-fire agreement, but on the ground, they're preparing themselves, I think, for a bigger war.
    And I think we may be led to a war which is bigger than the previous one.
    Our government is using all weapons, gunships and tanks and big artillery against the civilians.
    And they're avoiding our towns where the S.L.A. groups are counting, and they're burning villages and farms which are ready to cultivate, and scaring all of the citizens who are now fleeing to the areas which are controlled by the S.L.A.
    This started on the 6th of December, until today, they are doing the same.
    AMY GOODMAN:    Can you tell us why the S.L.A. has decided to take up arms against the Khartoum government?
    SULEIMAN JAMOUS:    Well, we don't know the reason, but we found that the government is trying to work with our area, and by killing or scaring or raping our women and girls everywhere, and they were trying to take us out of the area.
    This kind of — they made us some kind of genocide.
    So we decided to defend ourselves against the government with the Janjaweed, and when we defeated the Janjaweed, government itself came to the field of fighting, and they fought us.
    So, we started as a defending group to defend our areas against the Janjaweed that were backed by the government.
    Further on, the government itself participated in the fight with the Janjaweed, and we did not find any way, unless we fight until the government goes out of power.
    This is, of course, what started the war at first.
    What I am calling for is — those who are here in the field can see more than those who are away, waiting to learn from the media.
    I think my friend, Mark Brecke was here and he saw at least so many areas, the mass graves and mass killing and some raids, I think, and he saw the recent field of war and how the government is burning our villages and looting our animals to compel to us leave the area, or — like that.
    So, what I’m asking the world to do is make come kind of pressure to the government at least to give us our rights and leave us alone to live.
    And if they are not going to help us with any kind weapons of defending to defend ourselves, so they have to a least help us overthrow this government, and make some kind of a democracy in Sudan with equal rights for all the Sudanese people, and to not leave us to genocide, and to be smashed from the air.
    They are using this helicopters and this scares the citizens.
    Armed men came and razed
    their village four days previous
    40 kilometers from Goz Beida
    Eastern Chad
    The citizens are very scared from this, and they are fleeing in numbers towards the different parts of the S.L.A. controlled area, and they need to be assisted at least to live.
    Janjaweed (Jingaweit) roughly translated means "evil men on horseback with guns"
    US AID    US Government website
    The humanitarian emergency in Darfur is a direct result of violence and harassment directed toward the Fur, Zaghawa, and Masaalit civilian groups by Government of Sudan (GOS) forces and GOS-supported militia groups collectively known as Jingaweit.
    In early 2003, the Sudanese Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) stated that they would engage in armed struggle to achieve full respect for human rights and an end to political and economic marginalization in Darfur.
    On April 24 and 25, 2003 the SLM/A attacked GOS military forces at El Fasher in North Darfur.
    Following this attack, GOS military forces and Jingaweit militia initiated a more coordinated campaign of violence against civilian populations, including aerial bombardments to kill, maim, and terrorize civilians who the GOS claimed were harboring opposition forces.
    Conflict-affected populations have described recurrent and systematic assaults against towns and villages, looting, burning of buildings and crops, destruction of water sources and irrigation systems, gang rape, and murders.
    Throughout late 2003, armed conflict intensified, as GOS military and Jingaweit clashed with the two main opposition groups – the SLM/A and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) – in Darfur.
    Following U.S. Government (USG) and European Union (EU) facilitated negotiations in N’Djamena, Chad, the two main opposition groups and the GOS signed a renewable 45-day humanitarian ceasefire on April 8 that took effect on April 11.
    This agreement included a GOS commitment to disarm Jingaweit militia groups and a protocol on providing humanitarian assistance in Darfur.
    The ceasefire agreement was renewed on May 22.
    Despite the ceasefire, Jingaweit violence against civilians continues in all three states of Darfur resulting in increasing displacement.
    Because the victims are displaced and vulnerable, they become targets of further violence.
    Even in villages where there is nothing left to burn, the fear of further violence continues to paralyze displaced populations, preventing voluntary returns.
    This cycle prevents many internally displaced persons (IDPs) from safely returning home, trapping them in camps or informal settlements for the foreseeable future.
    Out of an estimated population of 6.5 million in Darfur, approximately 2.2 million people are affected by the crisis, including more than 1 million IDPs and approximately 158,000 refugees who have fled into neighboring Chad.
    Humanitarian access to conflict-affected populations outside of the state capitals of Geneina, El Fasher, and Nyala was extremely limited until late May due to GOS impediments that blocked humanitarian access and relief operations.
    As a result of intense international pressure, the GOS lifted some of the restrictive travel regulations and announced a series of measures, effective May 24, to facilitate humanitarian access to Darfur.
    USAID’s Disaster Assistance Response Team (USAID/DART) and other humanitarian agencies have deployed additional staff to Darfur to increase emergency response capacity.
    However, several obstacles remain, including continued delays in obtaining visas for relief personnel, travel restrictions within Darfur, difficulties in clearing essential relief supplies and equipment though customs, and GOS interference in relief activities that address protection of civilians and human rights abuses.
    Darfur aid worker's diary XVII
    Sacha Westerbeek and friends
    Sacha Westerbeek is one of the people trying to help some of the one million Sudanese people who have fled their homes in what the UN is calling "the world's worst humanitarian crisis".
    She is working for the United Nations children's agency, Unicef, in Nyala, southern Darfur and is writing a diary for BBC News Online about her experiences.
    I wake up in Zalingei to a cosy atmosphere in the room I am sharing with my two colleagues, but that soon disappears at the smell — and sight — of the toilet.
    Since my time in Africa I prefer going in the bush then going to an enclosed toilet to be honest.
    During breakfast we meet the commissioner from Zalingei, who is very concerned that the international community only focuses on the IDPs (internally displace persons) and forgets about the development of the country as a whole.
    The commissioner is afraid that if we "spoil" the IDPs with schools, clinics, water and food they will have no reason to return to their villages.
    Unicef is in Sudan to support all vulnerable women and children, regardless of ethnic background, colour and religion.


    A woman breastfeeding twins at Zalingei hospital

    The issue of reconstruction, rehabilitation and repatriation, I reassure him, will definitively be taken into account.
    No permission
    The rest of they day I spend in the hospital in Zalingei where I see many ill and malnourished children and have a long talk with a woman with four gunshot wounds.
    We then left for Nertiti, where we had planned to stay. Some 25,000 IDPs stay here and we wanted to see the team that runs the newly opened clinic.
    But unfortunately our pass only indicated clearance to travel from Zalingei to Nyala and not our stop-over in Nertiti.
    Without permission from the government we are not allowed to stop.
    The authorities in Nertiti understand that a mistake has been made, but only allow us to stay for 10 minutes.
    Thursday 12 August
    The water supply for the hospital in Zalingei
    I leave Nyala for Zalingei in west Darfur, which is an area where Unicef has not yet been able to support many activities besides latrines, basic drugs and medical equipment.
    One of the reasons is the limited capacity of implementing partners, such as the government and national and international non-governmental organisations (NG0), but also because of rain and insecurity.
    We are going to assess the situation in the town and the two IDP camps.
    I arrive in Zalingei at 1600 and we have to look for accommodation.
    The guesthouse has had no water for a while and we are happy that the commissioner of Zalingei offers us government accommodation.
    The government and Unicef have a good and longstanding relationship so we are welcomed with a clean bed and a wonderful supper of beans, meat, chicken, local cheese, salad and bread.
    Evening classes
    In the afternoon we try to make the most of the couple of hours of light left and we leave for a tour around town and the two IDP camps.

    Adam Adam, a teacher in Darfur, Sudan
    Adam's bicycle helped save his life
    The IDPs who had settled in the centre of town were relocated to a camp on the outskirts of town as the situation had become overcrowded and unbearable.
    The total population in the area probably exceeds the estimated 80,000 made up of 30,000 local residents and at least 25,000 in each of the two camps.
    Unicef has unfortunately not yet been able to support education projects in this area, but I have a look at a school supported by a local NGO.
    Even though it is late afternoon, it is busy at the school and I'm surprised to see so many bicycles.
    Mr Adam Adam, a teacher at the school, explains it is because there are evening classes for adult men.
    When I ask about the women, the men laugh: "No, no, this is only for men. For women — too difficult."
    No pay
    Adam and his 26 colleagues are having a difficult time as they do not yet receive a salary for teaching.
    Reluctantly he tells me that they ask for money from their students in order to buy food and other items.

    IDP girl in Darfur, Sudan
    Many children are on school waiting lists in the camps
    I wonder how much they ask for and receive — knowing that there are about 800 children at intermediate level and over 1,000 at primary level.
    There are clearly not enough classrooms, which each take up to 100 students, and there are still over 1,650 children on the waiting list, including two of Adam's children.
    He and his wife and their three children came to the camp about two months ago.
    Adam fled his village in February in fear of his life. He managed to get away on his bicycle.
    This life-saving bicycle and the set of clothes he was wearing on the day of his escape are his only possessions.
    He wants to go back to his village as soon as it safe — back to teaching Arabic, history and a little bit of English, he says with a smile.
    Sacha's previous entries


            The Ordeal of Suleiman Jamous       
            Race, resources, oil drives Darfur conflict       
            Janjaweed being trained to fight        
            Both sides in Darfur are Muslim        
            Sudanese people living abroad return from overseas        
     SPLM officials say Obama's family originally came from Sudan
    not Kenya
    As the world turns its attention to this western region of Sudan, oil is a factor in global politics and in relations with Khartoum.
    Sudan's oil reserves
    By Phil Gasper     Socialist Worker Online     June 11, 2004
    ...The tactics employed in Darfur by the Sudanese government are similar to those it has used in its 20-year civil war with the Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA) based in the south of the country.
    Arab-African conflicts have a long history in Sudan, but they were deliberately manipulated and intensified during British colonial rule from the late 19th century to the 1950s.
    Britain’s policy of divide and rule left African areas of the country in the south and west economically undeveloped.   Civil war between the north and south broke out in 1955, a year before Sudan's formal independence, and lasted until 1972.
    War resumed in 1983 and intensified in the late 1990s when a 1,000-mile pipeline was constructed to connect Sudan's southern oilfields with Port Sudan in the north.
    With assistance from foreign oil companies, the Khartoum government carried out a scorched-earth policy, destroying all African villages near the pipeline.
    The result was a famine in 1998 — which was made much worse by the government's policy of blocking aid to the south.   By last year, over 2 million people in the south had died, and over 4 million were refugees.
    But Western governments now prefer a more stable environment to gain access to Sudan's oil reserves, currently estimated at over 2 billion barrels.
    This is why they have pressured the central government into peace negotiations with the SPLA.
    ...an agreement that would give the south a more equitable sharing of Sudan's oil revenues, political autonomy and an eventual referendum on independence.
    The rebel groups in Darfur would like to negotiate a similar agreement, but instead, the Khartoum government has conducted its massive campaign of ethnic cleansing.
    The U.S. government has imposed sanctions on Sudan since the mid-1990s and classifies the country as a "sponsor of terrorism."
    But Washington has quietly been mending fences with the regime — because of Sudan’s oil resources.
    Thus, while Washington verbally condemns the human rights abuses in Darfur, it is far more concerned that negotiations with the SPLA are successful — to allow better Western access to the oil.
    According to Georgette Gagnon, Africa Director of Human Rights Watch, "Most of the international community has been very concerned with ensuring the north-south talks don't fall apart, [so] they have been tiptoeing around this Darfur problem to some extent."
    As a result, it is far from clear that the Sudan government will feel obliged to allow humanitarian aid to reach Darfur in the next few months — or that Western governments will provide the necessary funds to pay for it.
    Jan Egeland, the UN under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs, says that the organization still needs another $100 million for the rest of the year.
    That’s less than what the U.S. government spends in one day on the occupation of Iraq. v "This is exactly what it would take to avoid massive death and starvation," Egeland told Reuters news agency.
    "If we don’t get it all, so many people will perish.   It is as dramatic as that."
            Race, resources, oil drives Darfur conflict       
     
    Hamid Saleem, 37, farm labourer
    Hamid Saleem (husband of Fatima Abdelshafi)

Hamid Saleem doesn't know what happened to his first wife
    Hamid Saleem doesn't know what happened to his first wife
    30 April, 2004 marked a crucial point in the life of my family.
    We used to live in a small village in northern Darfur called Boba.
    That day a military aircraft attacked our village.   We had no choice but to leave, fleeing to the surrounding mountains.
    It was the last time I saw my family.
    I still don't know where my first wife and our four children disappeared to.
    The Janjaweed forces also killed my brother and 15 other Darfuris in a raid and buried them in a pit.
    The hole was then filled up with earth as if nothing had happened.
    Even my five-year-old child was not spared the fear spread by the Janjaweed.   He used to lie down spontaneously whenever he heard the voice of a flying aircraft.
    I was lucky to reach London.
    Then my second wife, Fatima, and our child were found in a refugee camp in Chad.
    The British Red Cross helped to reunite me with them and two months ago, they came to live with me in London.
    Now, my life has considerably improved compared to the lives of those who are still living in Darfur or in the refugee camps in Chad.
    The British government provides us with accommodation, medical treatment and education.
    I am lucky as many of my relatives are still living in appalling conditions in Darfur.
    What is happening there is genocide.   A specific race is being targeted — my Zagawa tribe.

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