SUDAN WATCH: Darfur rebels causing upsurge in violence and insecurity

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Darfur rebels causing upsurge in violence and insecurity

Jonathan Steele's report from Darfur in the Guardian Sep 26, says the latest violence, involving attacks on aid convoys and government officials as well as the theft of large numbers of camels - the main source of wealth for local nomads - comes from the rebel side. Excerpt re latest attacks:
"In one assault, which sparked a chain of clashes, the SLA seized thousands of camels in a well-prepared raid on a nomadic tribe that had previously not been part of the conflict. Tribal leaders appealed to the AU, which publicly used strong language to denounce the attack.

The owners of the camels got help from the militias and converged on villages at Tabit, west of El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur, that they suspected of holding the stolen animals. An estimated 3,000 people then fled.

Yesterday, Osman Mohammed Yusuf Kibir, the governor of North Darfur, did not deny the attacks. "But it's not true the attackers were supported by the government. There was not a single soldier with them. The camel owners waited 13 days for the AU and the international community to respond," he told the Guardian."
During the current and final round of Darfur peace talks, the report reminds us it is the Darfur rebels who are responsible for the insecurity that stops people from returning home:
"The SLA rebels last week entered Sheiria, north-east of Nyala. Although they did not attack the government garrison, they paraded in the streets in a show of strength and claimed they had killed 80 troops. They withdrew the next day. The government said they had been driven out after "heavy casualties". AU monitors who talked to residents said that they had found no evidence of serious clashes or killing."
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Sixth round of Darfur peace talks to start in Nigeria this week

The ongoing sixth round of peace talks for Darfur is scheduled to start in the Nigerian capital this week, chief negotiator Sam Ibok told Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) on Monday.

The negotiations are taking place between Khartoum and the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement and Army (SLM/A) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).

"We have not fixed any specific date. We are beginning separate consultations with the three parties today (Monday) and hopefully we will begin the main negotiations by Wednesday,'' Ibok said.
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Darfur rebel group JEM and Chad agree to cooperate

Sep 25 Reuters report says Darfur rebel group and Chad agree to cooperate:
The African Union, which is mediating, said on Sunday a JEM delegation met Chad's President Idriss Deby in N'Djamena to dispel misunderstandings and the JEM had accepted Chad as a co-mediator in the peace process.

The JEM, the smaller of two armed groups that rebelled against Khartoum in early 2003, has accused Chad of supporting some rebel factions over others, playing into the hands of the Sudanese government. Chad countered that it had no interest in prolonging the conflict and the rebels were looking for reasons to avoid making tough commitments to achieve peace.

The wrangling was one of the problems that have plagued peace talks in the Nigerian capital Abuja, now in their sixth round. A wider problem is disunity within the JEM and inside the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), the larger rebel movement.

The sixth round of talks started with a week of workshops during which the parties discussed power sharing, wealth sharing and security arrangements. Detailed discussion of these issues was due to begin on Monday.
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Darfur rebels say only war would bring fair rule

Reuters Sep 22 says Darfur rebel faction, which recently captured a town in Darfur, denounced Sudan's new coalition government on Thursday as exclusionary, adding only war would bring fair rule.

Darfur rebels say only war would bring fair rule

Photo: An internally displaced Sudanese man awaits the arrival of the UNHCR High Commissioner in Riyad camp in the west Darfur region of Sudan August 24, 2005. Photo taken August 24 2005. (Antony Njuguna/Reuters/Yahoo)

The United Nations Human Development Report says there are only 16 doctors for every 100,000 people in Sudan.
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Russian peacekeepers ready to join UN mission in Sudan

10,000 UN peacekeepers are earmarked for Southern Sudan to monitor January's peace agreement. During the last few days, Jan Pronk told the press the reason for the slow deployment of UN peacekeepers in S Sudan is due to disappointing numbers of troops offered by the international community.

[Maybe funding of peacekeepers is for a specfied amount of time and some are being held back until their presence becomes absolutely necessary. Sudan's infighting looks set to go on for many years.]

Russian peacekeepers ready to join UN mission in Sudan

Russian helicopter pilots are ready to participate in a UN peacekeeping mission in Sudan, said an official from the Torzhok Combat Training Center, whose pilots have recently finished a similar mission in Sierra Leone.

The official said the issue had already been discussed and the pilots had studied Sudan's geography and climate.

"The climate in Sudan resembles that in Sierra Leone and the Russian Mi-24 helicopters performed well in these hard conditions," the official said. - Novosti Sep 26, 2005.

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