SUDAN WATCH: Darfuris hostile towards AU peacekeepers - 20 armed factions create hell around ZamZam, Darfur

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Darfuris hostile towards AU peacekeepers - 20 armed factions create hell around ZamZam, Darfur

It's no wonder the gangsters and uneducated masses in Sudan are ruled with a stick. Even peacekeepers costing the international community $1 billion a year are treated with contempt by Darfuris. What a waste. Imagine all the water pumps and school books that could be purchased with such sums of money.

AP report by Alfred de Montesquiou June 12, 2006 - excerpts:
"With all the splinter rebel groups, the Janjaweed controlled by the Sudanese army and those who act own their own, there are maybe 20 armed factions in this zone," said Lt. Col. Mohammed Sallam, an Egyptian officer who commands AU military operations in the Zamzam area. "When you get in an ambush, you know you are being shot at, but you never know by who." [edit]

In Zamzam, officers say they never leave their small police office without a military escort. "We're scared. The situation is completely unpredictable here," said Lekbaraki Salem, a Mauritanian police officer. He said he suspected there were many weapons in the camp, and that combatants from the Sudan Liberation Movement -- the region's main rebel group -- crossed the lines at night to visit their families. [edit]

Still, communication is a problem. The peacekeepers said many refugees who support Elnur's faction blame the AU for the treaty, which they consider unfair. While several translators at the nearby El Fasher headquarters complained they were underworked, the AU military patrol Friday did not include a single Fur or Arabic speaker.

"We have to explain it (the treaty) better to them," said Maj. James Mulenga, a Zambian officer with the AU. A group of Zaghawa and Fur sheiks said they would be eager to return to their villages if security improves, and hoped to be compensated for their loss. But they didn't want to discuss the peace agreement, and AU peacekeepers insisted on leaving before the gathering grew hostile.

In Zamzam, Hawatilin Hamid said finding wood for cooking was one of her hardest chores. AU soldiers once accompanied women gathering wood, but such patrols were stopped because of the growing hostility among many refugees toward the African force.
[Why are the translators underworked? You'd think they'd distribute radios and work flat out to broadcast the real deal so that all the women and children in Darfur and Chad get a chance to hear the full story, not just what the rebel leaders and their henchmen choose to impart to the uneducated masses]


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