Janjaweed leader says followed orders in Darfur, Sudan
An Arab tribal chief suspected of human rights abuses in Darfur said on Sunday he was doing only what the government told him when he recruited militiamen to help put down an uprising there.
Musa Hilal, who tops the US State Department's list of Darfur human rights abuse suspects, said Khartoum had entrusted tribal leaders with recruiting young men to join the militias in Darfur. "The war in Darfur was not in our hands. The decision to make war was taken by higher powers in the state.
"We, the leaders of the tribes, Arabs and others, were charged by the government to take part in the conscription effort and we only obeyed," he said.
Darfur rebels and human rights groups have accused Khartoum of using the Arab militia, known as Janjaweed, as a proxy force to crush a rebellion in the dry western region, where at least two million people have been displaced in two years of violence.
They say the Janjaweed, whom the government calls outlaws, have conducted a campaign of rape and village burning. The government says it recruited militias to fight the rebellion but denies using the Janjaweed.
A UN-appointed panel has drawn up a confidential list of 51 people suspected of "heinous crimes" in Darfur and has recommended they be tried at the new International Criminal Court (ICC). UN sources say Hilal is on the list.
Hilal said he would not agree to the "humiliation" of being prosecuted abroad.
"As an individual who is independent and has a sense of his own freedom in his own country, I do not accept that I be prosecuted outside of Sudan. I reject it completely," he said.
The UN-appointed panel last month gave UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan its list of suspects and evidence of killings, pillaging and rape in Darfur, where at least 70,000 people have died since March.
"I have my doubts about the international community's agenda toward Sudan, both as an Islamic country and as a Third World country," Hilal said.
Further reading: 12 Feb post: Darfur war criminals in Sudan must fear The Hague
- - -
UN urges more troops to aid Darfur, Sudan
20 Feb Tribune news report says UN humanitarian chief urged world leaders Friday to vastly increase the number of troops in Darfur to protect unarmed civilians and relief workers facing a wave of murder, rape and looting.
Jan Egeland, the undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs, depicted a crisis in which the number of people needing lifesaving assistance could jump from 2 million to 4 million if immediate action isn't taken.
Egeland said the need for more African Union troops is urgent. There are 9,000 aid workers in the western Darfur region, but only about 1,850 African Union soldiers, he said.
A young Sudanese child is helped with a drink of clean water at the Abu Shouk refugee camp near El Fasher, in Darfur, Sudan, 24 August 2004. The United States proposed new targeted sanctions for Sudan in what it called a bid to turn up the pressure over Darfur and get both the government and rebels to end the bloodshed. (AFP/File/Jim Watson)
- - -
The world's worst dictator Al-Bashir lauds China's stances towards Sudan
20 Feb Khartoum news says Sudanese president Omer Al-Bashir has commended China's stands backing Sudan at international forums and its efforts to promote bilateral ties for realizing common interests.
Al-Bashir made the remark on Saturday when he received the visiting envoy of Chinese government. The meeting has explored means to boost further joint ties, said the visiting Chinese official, pointing to China's concern to enhance its relations with Sudan as the two countries maintain fruitful cooperation and share similar stance on international issues.
The meeting has also discussed Darfur, he said, adding that China will maintain consultations with Sudan to arrive at just solution to the issue.
- - -
Libya and Egypt back African answer to Darfur crisis
19 Feb AFP report: Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak agreed on the need to support efforts by the African Union to resolve the crisis in Darfur within an African framework and with out any foreign intervention that may hamper the continuation of the African efforts to solve Darfur crisis.
[Note they do not object to Sudan raking in foreign aid and money while it takes orders for brand new MiGs and shops around to buy its own 60 million dollar satellite]
- - -
Kenyan troops ready for Sudan peacekeeping role
19 Feb PANA report: The Kenyan military has finalised the training of a battalion comprising peacekeepers, peace monitors and senior military staff for possible deployment to southern Sudan and the western region of Darfur, military sources said Saturday here.
The troops, awaiting the final dispatch orders, were trained at the Nairobi-based peace support training centre, where peace and security monitors from across the sub-Saharan Africa do their military training.
Defence Department spokesman Bogita Ongeri said the training was done in advance to prepare the officers for deployment once the go-ahead orders are issued.
"The officers have been trained but no formal decision has been taken regarding their deployment. The decision would have to be taken on whether we are sending peacekeepers, peace monitors or military observers," Ongeri told PANA.
Further reading: 9 Feb article PANA - Kenya closer to sealing oil deals in Saudi Arabia, Sudan.
Photo: A Kenyan soldier brusher sand from a landmine during a de-mining demonstration at the East African International Mine Action Training Center (IMATC) in Kenya's capital Nairobi, February 17, 2005. (Reuters).