SUDAN WATCH: Rebel troops to sign Sudan peace deal by Wednesday

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Rebel troops to sign Sudan peace deal by Wednesday

Compared to American news reports on Darfur in papers such as the Washington Post and New York Times, notice the difference in tone and content of the following report from SABC News in South Africa May 27, 2006 entitled Rebel troops to sign Sudan peace deal by Wednesday. It seems much less aggressive and combatative and actually manages to impart some positive constructive news without politicising the story or putting an emotive, activist type spin on the facts:
Two rebel groups have till Wednesday to sign the Abuja peace agreement for Darfur. After more than three years of civil war in Western Sudan, this could bring lasting peace to this war torn region. While there's pressure on the Sudanese government to allow the UN to monitor compliance with the agreement, South Africans in the African Union's mission are quietly - but proudly - contributing to stability.

Returning to the Fata Burno refugee camp with food bought in Kutum is hazardous as many women have fallen prey to the Arab militia along the route. Few are willing to talk about the assaults and rapes that have taken place. Since the African Union has started regular escorts, incidents have decreased in Sector 6 - the sector dominated by South African forces.

Richard Lourens, a colonel and South African sector commander in Kutum, says: "We have pre-deployment training and we have mission-ready training - gives us an edge to come here and make a difference with regards to peace keeping."

South Africans the most self sufficient troops

More than 440 South African soldiers and police members have been deployed in Darfur - most serve as protection forces and military observers. Others teach about the dangers of the harsh local environment and expert shooting. Baba Kingibe, an AU special representative to Sudan, says: "The South African contingent who are based in sector 6 in Kutum, are the most self-sufficient unit we have."

These skills are sure to impress the UN once it requests countries to contribute forces to its mission. Yesterday Sudan has agreed to allow an African Union-UN assessment mission into the country ahead of a possible deployment of UN troops to war-torn Darfur. Speaking after a meeting with Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN troubleshooter, said the mission would start work in Khartoum and then go to Darfur. The Sudanese government and the main Darfur rebel faction signed a peace agreement on the fifth of this month.


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