AU confirms Sudan gov't bombing of Joghana, S Darfur - In 3 months, 200,000 people forced to flee, says UNICEF
On Monday April 24, 2006, according to reports confirmed by African Union monitors in Darfur, Sudanese government helicopter gunships and Antonov aircraft attacked the village of Joghana in southern Darfur displacing thousands of people seeking shelter from the conflict, the Scotsman's Rob Crilly in Nairobi reported Apr 28. Two other villages have been attacked in the past ten days. Snippets from Crilly's report:
"This latest violence seems part of a strategy to clear the main road south from Nyala, the state capital, to Buram," said a UN source in Khartoum.
Aid workers in the neighbouring rebel-held town of Gereida report a daily influx of people fleeing government attacks and tribal leaders say that 320 villages have been attacked this year.
Paul Smith-Lomas, Oxfam regional director, said the situation all across Darfur had deteriorated. "In the last four months approximately forty thousand people have fled their villages seeking refuge in Gereida," he said. "Thousands more continue to arrive, scared and in desperate need of help."
Looting and attacks along the Nyala-Gereida road have limited the delivery of essential equipment and materials for assisting the estimated 90,000 people in the town, which had a population of 10,000 people when the conflict began.
Three years of fighting between rebels and Khartoum-backed militias in Sudan have left up to 300,000 people dead and 2.4 million displaced, according to international estimates.
Last week the International Committee of the Red Cross warned that much of the region had become inaccessible to aid workers. The result has been a 20 per cent increase in malnutrition rates among children, according to UNICEF officials, as 200,000 people were forced to flee their homes in the past three months.
Seasoned Darfur watchers say it is no surprise that the talks have coincided with fresh violence. "This happens every time a peace deal is on the table," said a Sudan expert based in Nairobi.
"Both sides step up their offensives in an attempt to grab a bit more land before they have to put down the guns."
Photo: Dec 19 2004 Darfur truce not being observed, AU chopper fired on: African Union - "One of our helicopters has been shot. They are firing on our helicopters. This shows that the ceasefire is not being observed. They did not comply. They have not stopped fighting," AU spokesman Assane Ba told reporters in Abuja. (Marco Longari/AFP)
Photo: Terbeba village in Darfur after being burnt last year. An Associated Press report Jan 26 2005 says the African Union confirms Sudan's air force used an Antonov to drop bombs outside the southern Darfur town of Shangil Tobaya, 65 kilometers south of El Fasher Jan 26 2005. "It is a major ceasefire violation," said a senior AU political officer for Sudan.
Oct 3 2005 Sudan admits using helicopter gunships in attack on Shearia South Darfur
Feb 3 2006 AU says SLA attacks in Shearia and Golo provoked Sudanese forces and prompted reprisal attacks by Janjaweed
Feb 5 2005 Sudanese government said it would remove all its Antonov planes and would not use them at all in Darfur
Feb 14 2006 SLA shot down gov't helicopter in Shearia, South Darfur
Feb 21 2006 UK urges lifting of Sudan curfew - AU says curfew hinders Darfur peacekeepers
Mar 2 2006 Gereida, South Darfur - "I know how many women and children have been killed. That is ethnic cleansing, and it should stop," UN envoy Pronk declared
Mar 11 2006 AU calls for SLA to withdraw from Gereida, South Darfur - JEM rebels say 27 killed by gov't, Janjaweed in Gereida area
Mar 15 2006 Warlordism on the increase - More troops in Darfur not much of a solution - Sudan's tribal: Janjaweed and major tribes have to be part of peace talks
Mar 16 2006 Sudanese air force bombed villages of Donkey Dreisa and Omgonya in South Darfur last month?
Apr 3 2006 What's going on in Janana, S Darfur? 60 villages attacked by Janjaweed while Khartoum "safeguards" Norwegians from being in Sudan for next 2 weeks?
Apr 25 2006 Oil in South Darfur - Uranium in Darfur? - Iran 'could share nuclear skills'
Apr 26 2006 Sudanese gov't bombing of Joghana village may be part of broader offensive in South Darfur - HRW
Apr 27 2006 UN experts propose possible no-fly zone in Darfur
Note Coalition for International Justice DARFUR CHRONOLOGY: Glossary of Places in Darfur which were sites of reported attacks.