SUDAN WATCH: SUDAN'S FORCES HAVE SEALED OFF AREA TO STARVE 20,000 TO DEATH? UN staff members evacuated from camp on July 29?

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

SUDAN'S FORCES HAVE SEALED OFF AREA TO STARVE 20,000 TO DEATH? UN staff members evacuated from camp on July 29?

Here is a copy of a comment I have just left at Jim's post of Sep 6 (sorry still can't direct link to posts at the Passion) entitled "Crimes of the Sudenese government, oil boycotts and sanctions":

Jim, the report "The government of Sudan doesn't hide its atrocities", that you've linked to here, I found alarming. Authored by Kelly D. Askin, it was published yesterday, and again at IHT today, entitled "Sudan's government does not hide its atrocities". Kelly Askin is senior legal officer at the Open Society Justice Initiative - where the report also appears. Note these two paragraph excerpts, in particular the second:

" ... I met with survivors from nine different villages that had been attacked, although exactly how many villages were involved is unclear. I spoke with one survivor after another who told a strikingly similar story of the most recent attacks: Government planes flew overhead to view the villages, and then government vehicles attacked from the hillsides while thousands of janjaweed simultaneously set in on horseback. Most of the villages had been attacked before, and survivors had sought safety in the nearby mountains. But Sudanese policemen had gone to the mountains and used microphones to lure the civilians back to the villages, saying it was safe and offering protection.

While on the border we could hear planes and bombing just to our north. Survivors told us that a UN camp for internally displaced persons had also been attacked that Saturday and, ominously, that UN staff members had been evacuated from the camp on July 29, a week and a half before the attack. There were also reports that some 20,000 men, women, and children were trapped in the Jabal Moon mountains near Chad. Soldiers had sealed off the area to prevent their escape and to stop aid from getting through in what was apparently an attempt to starve them to death. ..."

Has anyone read elsewhere that UN staff members had been evacuated from a camp on July 29? And what about the 20,000 men, women, and children reportedly trapped in the Jabal Moon mountains near Chad? Is it true that Sudanese soldiers recently sealed off the area to prevent their escape and to stop aid from getting through in what was apparently an attempt to starve them to death? Can anyone verify this information? If it is true, why has a big deal not been made of it by the UN and news agencies?

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