If this story by Mike Cherney (IOL
/The Star June 1, 2006) is true, it's outrageous. Imagine what it must be doing to troop morale. Journalists and activists ought to back the peacekeepers in Darfur and concentrate on what is really going on instead of churning propaganda, denigrating AU capability and feeding the guerillas by undermining the Darfur peace process. The only solution to the war in Darfur is for the guerillas to stop fighting and start negotiating after they have committed to a ceasefire peace agreement. If infighting and disregard of deadlines, ceasefires and peace agreements is how they conduct themselves outside of government, imagine how fit they are to govern and fairly represent "their" people. Ruthless, greedy power crazies - inexperienced in government - makes them seem worse than the regime they are fighting. Never mind the millions of displaced uneducated women and children they are using as expendable pawns in their power game. The rebel leaders who think they are fighting a noble cause are deluded gangsters. Even Hitler cared for "his" people. After three years of fighting and killing, and all of the work that has gone into the Darfur peace deal, the dissidents appear totally self serving with no care for anyone except themselves and what they can get: all or nothing. How else could they make a living and hit the jackpot big time? $1 billion a year for several thousand peacekeepers? Does that mean $2 billion a year for 14,000 troops? Imagine the number of water pumps and school books that could be purchased with such sums of money. If those guerilla faced cretinous lowlifes don't join the peace deal, they should be arrested and put on trial for crimes against humanity. Excerpt:
South Africa's peacekeepers in Darfur have not been paid - again.
It has been two months since any soldier with the African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur has received a salary, Colonel Norman Yengeni, South Africa's military attache to the AU, said this week.
The force experienced another delay in salary payments last year, he said.
Officials were unclear as to why the salary payments were overdue, saying the AU's processing of funds from international donors was delayed.
The AU has about 6 200 troops and 800 civilian police in Darfur, where violence has killed 200 000 people and displaced 2,5-million since 2003. South Africa has contributed 376 soldiers and 126 police.
"The AU largely depends on donations," Yengeni said, adding that the salary delays had not affected the force's ability to function.
The peacekeeping operation in Darfur is largely dependent on donations from the United States, the European Union and elsewhere. From June last year until July this year, the mission is expected to cost nearly $1-billion (about R6,7-billion).
An AU official contacted by The Star did not respond to questions.
An SAPS officer who had served in Darfur and declined to be identified said South African officers working with the AU had not received payment for several months.
The officer also said some South African police had sustained injuries during riots at the displaced persons camps where they are based.
The officer said police were paid $90 (about R590) a day. The delays had also lowered morale, the officer said.
Dennis Adriao, a spokesperson for the SAPS, said there had been no reports of injuries, and he could not say when officers would get their salaries.
The AU mission, which began in 2004, was extended for another six months in April. Officials have been pushing for the mission to be taken over by the UN, which could provide better equipped troops and funding.
Henri Boshoff, a military analyst at the Institute for Security Studies, said the AU could have extended the mission faster than Western donors approved more funding, causing the delay in salary payments.
"I don't think there is any foul play in this, it's just a question of waiting for funding," he said.
Dan Biers, a spokesperson at the US embassy in Pretoria, said the EU was responsible for paying the allowances of AU troops. But a spokesperson at the EU said there was no delay in funding.
"The commitment was made under a 'retroactivity clause' which permits funding, starting from the official date of the AU request, to ensure that no gap occurs," said Amadeu Altafaj Tardio, a spokesperson for the EU's commissioner for development and humanitarian aid.
"We encourage other donors to follow the EU Commission's example and provide the AU with additional funding to cover the extension of their mission."