SUDAN WATCH: Chris Mullin, British Foreign Office minister with responsibility for Africa accuses Sudan over Darfur tragedy

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Chris Mullin, British Foreign Office minister with responsibility for Africa accuses Sudan over Darfur tragedy

Copy of report in today's Scotsman: "A British government minister criticised Sudan today for not doing enough to disarm militias blamed for killing thousands of people and forcing more than 1.5 million others from their homes in the western Darfur region.

Chris Mullin, Foreign Office minister with responsibility for Africa, said security in Darfur must be restored quickly to enable those who fled their homes to return in time for the planting season that begins in March.

“If we go past that and there are still people in the camps, then the crisis is going to last for much longer and is going to require large amounts of international aid,” he said during a visit to neighbouring Kenya.

The UN says more than 70,000 people have also been killed in Darfur since February 2003. Originally a clash between African farmers and Arab nomads, the conflict has been inflamed by a counterinsurgency in which pro-government Arab militia have raped, killed and burned the villages of their enemy.

Mr Mullin said Sudanese authorities “have not done enough to rein in the local militia.”

International pressure has compelled Sudanese authorities to open up Darfur to international aid, allow in foreign workers and deploy police officers from outside the region, he said.

The UN food aid agency warned today that Darfur remains dangerous, with road closures cutting into its ability to provide aid."

http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=3660358

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