SUDAN WATCH: AU's Darfur troops in abuse probe

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

AU's Darfur troops in abuse probe

On March 16, 2006 More4News, an offshoot of Channel 4 TV here in the UK, claimed that Sudanese air force resumes bombing Darfur villages. I don't recall seeing any other news sources reporting such a story.

Today, a report by Jonah Fisher in Khartoum for BBC News says AMIS will look into claims that its troops committed sexual abuse in Darfur. Excerpt from Mr Fisher's report 4 April 2006:

"The UK's More4 TV channel last week aired allegations [see More4 Exclusive: More abuse in Darfur?] that AU soldiers paid women, some as young as 11, for sex.

The AU said the claims were disturbing, but added there had recently been many allegations against its mission - all of which had been found to be baseless. The AU has 7,000 troops guarding some of Darfur's 2 million displaced people.

The report broadcast on More4 showed interviews with two women at a camp in south Darfur called Gereida. One said she had been paid for sex with an AU peacekeeper and was now pregnant. The other, an 11-year-old, said she was paid, then raped by a soldier. According to the reporter, many other women at the camp said they were being paid for sex.

A statement from the AU mission in Sudan said the accusations were very disturbing and that a committee including representatives from outside the AU had been set up to investigate them. It went on to say that there had been a spate of orchestrated allegations against the AU in recent months - all of which had been proven, after investigation, to be baseless.

The Sudanese government is keen for the AU peacekeepers to remain but Darfur's rebels would like to see them replaced by a larger, more robust United Nations force."

UPDATES

Apr 5 2006 Channel 4 acknowledges the report.

Apr 5 2006 More4 Darfur investigation

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