SUDAN WATCH: Sudan: Darfur Mortality 380,000 + 15,000 deaths per month

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Sudan: Darfur Mortality 380,000 + 15,000 deaths per month

During an intermission of posting at this blog, please read a March 11 report by an American academic and Sudan expert, Prof Eric Reeves, whose Darfur updates and analyses over the past year have proved extremely accurate. It is an analysis of the situation to date and is a must read. Here is an excerpt:

"Building on eleven previous assessments of global mortality in Darfur, this analysis finds that approximately 380,000 human beings have died as a result of the conflict that erupted in February 2003, and that the current conflict-related mortality rate in the larger humanitarian theater is approximately 15,000 deaths per month. This monthly rate is poised to grow rapidly in light of famine conditions now obtaining in various parts of rural Darfur and threatening the entire region."

Full Story via Sudan Tribune, March 12, 2005.
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UK to mediate between Sudanese government, rebel Beja Congress

The following material is provided by the BBC Monitoring Service via Sudan Tribune Mar 12, 2005:

The secretary-general of the Beja Congress, Abdallah Kunah, has disclosed that his organization and that of the Free Lions have accepted to go into peace negotiations with the government in the framework of the British initiative. He said that the talks will commence after the conclusion of the conference of the Beja Congress on 17 March.

In a statement to the Khartoum based Al-Sahafah newspaper via telephone from his residence in Eritrea, Kunah further said that the British ambassador in Asmara has proposed an initiative to sponsor the talks between the government and the Beja Congress and the Free Lions.

He said that during his meeting with the leaders of the two groups recently, the British diplomat asked the two groups the possibility of holding a procedural meeting between the three sides on 15 March.

He further said that the Beja Congress excused itself on the proposed date because it is preoccupied in its annual general meeting which will start on 17 March in the areas under its control. He also confirmed the acceptance of the Beja Congress and the Free Lions to participate in the talks at the said date.

Kunah further said he requested the British diplomat to give his organization copy of the written initiative in order to assess and respond to it.

Kunah also disclosed that Jan Pronk, the UN secretary-general's representative in Khartoum, has proposed holding of a general conference on the problems in east and west of the country after the formation of the a transitional government which will include the Sudan People Liberation Movement.
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AU to assess Darfur

11 March Reuters (SA) report 11:

The African Union sent a delegation to Sudan's Darfur on Friday on a 10-day mission to assess the political, security and humanitarian needs in the troubled region.

The delegation is headed by AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Said Djinnit, includes AU mission in Sudan chief Baba Gana Kingibe, as well as officials from the United States, United Nations and European Union, the AU said in a statement.

Before leaving Khartoum, the delegation held talks with Sudanese officials and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's Special Representative in Sudan Jan Pronk about how to bolster the AU's peacekeeping role in Darfur.

The statement said the AU has 2,061 monitors and military observers in addition to 112 civilian police personnel deployed in Darfur, a region in western Sudan around the size of France.

On its first major peacekeeping operation, the pan-African body has been struggling to deploy troops rapidly and has failed to stem the violence on the ground.

Several rights groups have charged the AU force lacks broad international support and financial backing.
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Sudan urges int'l community to press Darfur rebels for peace talks

12 March (Xinhua) via Sudan Tribune:

The Sudanese government on Saturday urged the international community to press Darfur rebels for the resumption of peace talks.

[In my view, resumption of talks is the fastest and only way to stop the violence in Sudan. The regime in Khartoum and Sudan's rebels could, if they wished, stop the killing and violence. The UN ought to demand the warring parties cease their violence and the leaders of all sides - including tribal leaders - get together and keep talking until they have agreed a peace pact ... or else.]

Darfur rebels listen to radio
A member of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), listens to a radio at Dorsa village in west Darfur , October 10, 2004. (Reuters).
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Hoping for a Sudanese golden age

To get an idea of what is happening in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, please see March 12, 2005, report by the BBC's correspondent in Khartoum, Jonathan Fryer, that explains why the locals are upbeat about Sudan's prospects.

[Note, the report says the Chinese and Malaysians have both built smart residential hotels for their nationals on the banks of the Nile. A son of Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi is constructing a huge five-star establishment alongside, ready for the day when Khartoum becomes the new boom-town. And, next to the sleepy old Sailing Club, where Lord Kitchener's rusting gunboat is preserved as a surreal reminder of the 1898 Battle of Omdurman, the Chinese have built a social club called Oil House.]
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World Bank poised to re-engage in Sudan

13 March, 2005 Bank Information Center USA report extract:

Absent from Sudan since 1993, the World Bank plans to start lending to the country again this year in anticipation of huge reconstruction efforts.  Just months after a peace agreement was signed between the government in Khartoum and rebels in southern Sudan, the World Bank is preparing an assessment of the country's reconstruction for a meeting of donors in April and discussing plans to manage foreign aid to Sudan through trusts funds.  Debt relief for the war-torn country is a priority concern; according to some reports, the country has a $25 billion debt which would have to be reduced to $6 billion before relations with the World Bank could resume.

This apparent "rush to reengage" must be viewed in the context of a likely increase in oil production in Sudan in the coming years and the economic impacts of a new revenue-sharing arrangement for oil proceeds, which will sharply increase resource flows to southern Sudan, as well as ongoing conflict in Darfur and regional instability.

For more information, see the following articles:

World Bank considers relations with Khartoum (Sudan Tribune, March 12, 2005)

World Bank, Sudan seen resuming relations within year
(Katie Nguyen (Reuters) Sudan Tribune, March 9, 2005)

World Bank returns to Sudan as donors plan comeback
(Lesley Wroughton, Reuters, Sudan Tribune, January 18, 2005)
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The Third World's Odious Debt

Note Africa Commission report analysis by BBC News March 11, 2005.
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Rape and Sexual Violence Ongoing in Darfur

11 March, 2005, report by Doctors Without Borders (MSF), extract:

Women and girls in Darfur are continuing to suffer a high incidence of rape and sexual violence, according to a report issued today by Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF). Stories of rape survivors told to MSF are a horrific illustration of the daily reality of the ongoing violence that has displaced two million people in Darfur.

Between October 2004 and mid-February 2005, MSF doctors in numerous locations in South and West Darfur treated almost 500 women and girls who were raped. MSF believes that these numbers reflect only a fraction of the total number of victims because many women are reluctant to report the crime or seek treatment. Almost a third (28%) of the rape survivors who sought treatment from MSF reported that they were raped more than once, either by single or multiple assailants. In more than half the cases, the rape was accompanied by additional physical abuse. Women told MSF that they were beaten with sticks, whips or axes before, during or after the act of rape. Some of the raped women were visibly pregnant, as much as five to eight months, at the time of the assault.

The majority of survivors of rape and sexual violence tell MSF that the attacks occurred when women left the relative safety of villages and displaced camps to carry out activities indispensable of the survival of the families, such as searching for firewood or water.

81% of the 500 rape survivors treated by MSF reported being assaulted by militia or military who used their weapons to force the assault. In Darfur, as in other conflicts, rape has been a regular and deliberate tool of war. It is used to destabilize and threaten a part of the civilian population, often a particular group.

Rather than receiving appropriate medical and psychosocial care, women and child survivors of rape and sexual violence in Darfur often face rejection and stigma. In some cases, victims of rape have even been imprisoned while the perpetrators of the crime go unpunished, adding to an appalling pattern of neglect and abuse.

"Despite its devastating consequences, rape in Darfur and in other conflicts has not received the attention that the scale of the crime or the gravity of its impact call for," said Kenny Gluck, director of operations for MSF in Amsterdam. "This has to change. It is time to end this vicious crime, which is a clear breach of international humanitarian law. Perpetrators should be prosecuted not tolerated."

MSF urges local government and other health care providers in Darfur, as elsewhere, to ensure full and appropriate treatment for victims of sexual violence and to help end the stigma and rejection faced by victims of rape.
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FT breakfasts with Dallaire: Everything humanely possible

See Financial Times report by Craig Offman, March 11, 2005.
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Fear Drives Long Trek to Kenya from Darfur

Note the last few lines of the following Reuters report, dated 12 March, 2005, by C. Bryson Hull in Kenya:

Fear propelled Mohammed Ahmed Osman's two-year, 1,120-mile flight from Sudan's Darfur region to Kenya, but anger, he says, will bring him home.

The farmer never imagined Kenya, to where thousands of fellow Sudanese from the south fled in a 21-year civil war, would be his first taste of safety after marauders slaughtered most of his village in a separate conflict in western Sudan in November 2002.

But by foot, plane, train, truck and donkey, Ahmed and 21 friends and family criss-crossed Sudan and arrived in Kakuma camp in northwestern Kenya, the dusty desert home to 86,000 refugees from eight African countries.

Nearly 60 percent are Sudanese, but Ahmed's group makes up just over half of the 42 refugees in Kakuma from the Darfur crisis that has pitted non-Arab rebels against Arab militias. Nearly all the Sudanese in Kakuma fled the civil war in nearby southern Sudan.

"If I go back to Darfur, I will kill the Arabs. If I had power, I would go. We have no power here," he said, standing in front of his home of just a few weeks in Kakuma Three, the last built of three mud-hut complexes set atop red-tinged sands.

"We did not want to come to Kenya. We did not know about it," Ahmed said.

Terror sparked his flight in November 2002, when marauding militiamen known as Janjaweed torched his north Darfur village, Masmaji, killing his two brothers, his parents, three nieces and dozens of neighbors.

"They came at night and burned the houses and they went back and shot anyone who ran away from the fire. They took children around the back and shot them," he said.

"NOT THE TRUTH"

Ahmed, his wife and three children were out in their sorghum fields when the raiders came, and they only returned to their razed, lifeless village two days later.

They fled for nearby Habila but, warned of impending Janjaweed attacks, they moved again.

"I decided to go to Chad, because it was near, but the Janjaweed cut the way," he said.

Their next stops were the larger Darfur towns of El Fasher and Nyala, but a few months in each with no fields to tend left the farmer in Ahmed frustrated, and his family hungry.

He bought train tickets for Khartoum, looking to go to its squalid squatter camps. Police at the train station had different ideas. Ordered to give his reasons for traveling, Ahmed replied that there was war at home.

"The security said 'That is not the truth. You must go back to Darfur."'

They ordered him to take the next train home, in two days, or go to prison. But luck rumbled into town. "We stopped a lorry and the driver we knew from Darfur," he said.

Taking sympathy, the driver arranged to pick up Ahmed's family 1 mile out of town that night. Driving only in the darkness for two nights, the trucker drove them 145 miles to Kadugli, near the Nuba mountains in south Sudan.

A day later, Ahmed and his starving companions, among them his severely malnourished 3-year-old son, arrived by truck in Kauda, a stronghold of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement.

It was just two weeks after the former rebel group had signed a landmark peace agreement with the government, ending Africa's longest-running civil war.

"We've just stopped the war here. We have nothing to give you," Ahmed said the SPLM told him. But they arranged for his group's passage to Kakuma, where many thousands of southern Sudanese had fled the long war in their region.

Ahmed said he wishes for an end to the violence racking his homeland, but his anger now is greater than his capacity to forgive.

"We, the black man and the Arab, cannot live together. If the war stopped, we cannot live together, because they did bad things. If I went back to Darfur, I would kill all Arab people," he said, his hand trembling.

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