SUDAN WATCH: Sudan: Darfur 'descent into lawlessness' - Annan

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Sudan: Darfur 'descent into lawlessness' - Annan

A report by the Press Association in this morning's Scotsman and at Virgin.net says UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has accused Sudanese rebels of increasing abductions, extortion and banditry in a "descent into lawlessness" that has intensified insecurity in Darfur. Excerpts:
The targeting of humanitarian workers, harassment and looting of civilians, and "unprecedented criminality" in the town of Nyala are also part of the "dangerous pattern" of violence caused by the prolonged conflict, he said.

"While the daily rate of casualties from fighting has declined in recent months, the damage to the social and economic fabric in Darfur and the longer term costs of this conflict are steadily becoming clearer," Annan said in the report to the UN Security Council obtained on Tuesday.

"I urge both parties to recognise that despite some stabilisation of the security situation in Darfur, at a deeper level, living conditions are steadily deteriorating," he warned.

The secretary-general demanded "urgent corrective action" by the rebels and the government.

He noted that the government still shows no intention of disarming the Janjaweed or other militias, "and is yet to hold a significant number of them accountable for the atrocities of earlier months".

Second, Annan said, the government and rebels must prepare to reach an agreement at the next round of peace talks in Abuja, Nigeria, on August 24 on the difficult and divisive issues of sharing power and wealth "which are at the root of the conflict in Darfur".
UN's Kofi Annan accuses SLA and JEM of banditry

Today's Guardian report says Kofi Annan accuses SLA and JEM, of banditry:
The secretary-general blamed the SLA and the JEM - the rebel groups that first took up arms in Darfur and last month signed a declaration of political principles with the government outlining a long-term solution to the Darfur crisis - for the "considerable rise" in July in abductions, harassment, extortion and looting.

The abduction of Sudanese working for private aid organizations reached "alarming proportions" at the beginning of July with 10 being held by the SLA, he said. Ministry of Health teams conducting polio vaccinations were also abducted, he said.
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Aug 16 - UN Mission reports fresh violence and looting in Darfur.

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