SUDAN WATCH: South African govt urged to intervene in Darfur

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

South African govt urged to intervene in Darfur

Sep 5 2006 African News Dimension says the South African government has been urged to intervene in solving the ongoing crisis in Darfur:
South Africa's official opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA) chief whip, Douglas Gibson, urged the government to urgently use "its respected position and diplomatic muscle within Africa to prevent a further bloodbath in the Darfur region".

He said the government must urgently use its respected position and diplomatic muscle within Africa, to do all it can to prevent a continuation of violence in Sudan's Darfur region.

"Reports from Sudan indicate that the Sudanese government is massing thousands of troops in Darfur to crush rebel groups in the area. Three years of fighting between rebels and the government have left over 200 000 people dead and displaced 2.5 million people, creating a massive humanitarian disaster," he said.

"The Sudanese government has rejected last week's United Nations (UN) resolution to send 17 000 peacekeeping troops to the region, and is now calling on the African Union (AU) to withdraw its small and under-resourced force of 7 000 troops when its mandate expires at end of September 2006.

"Unless the government of Sudan gives permission for the UN force to replace the AU force, there will no longer be any peacekeepers in the region, leaving millions of civilians at the mercy of both rebel and government forces."

He said Khartoum wants all peacekeepers out of Darfur so that it can mount an unhindered attack on areas where rebels are still operating.

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