Spero News article
(originally appeared in Africa Reports, produced by IWPR, the Institute for War and Peace Reporting). Excerpt:
Fiona Lortan, senior political officer in the AU's defense and security division, told IWPR that the situation in Darfur will not improve unless the government accepts the entire "hybrid" peacekeeping package. "The AU does not have the capacity to end the conflict," she said. "If the situation is not resolved soon, the suffering and death toll in Darfur will increase. It is clear that the AU is not able to keep the government forces and the different rebel groups in check. They need the support of the UN as soon as possible."
Werner, a South African Military Observer currently serving in Darfur, blogged the following at Soldier of Africa
15 Feb 2007:
Another Day in "Paradise" - "I have been in Darfur long enough now. Time to go home." That is the attitude of most guys who have been here for more than eight months. For most of us it is a matter of getting the days over. I also hope that the UN takes over this mission sooner rather than later. The presence of the AU has probably prevented genocide from continuing, but it is too uncoordinated and mismanaged to do the job properly.
Photo: Maj Nawa, Maj Askvik and Snr Supt Elder, and I was taking the photo. We were trying to figure out exactly what the AU wants us to do in the JOC (Joint Operations Centre). At this stage we do not have a mission statement.
I think it is a scandal that African peacekeepers are still not paid correctly on time. Isn't there a law against such a thing? These people are paid to risk their lives to help others, miles away from home, and they're not getting paid! On 4 Feb 2007, Werner writes:
Dreaming of our Pay - I thought this photo to be appropriate since it seems we have a better chance of going to the moon than to get our money on time. When I returned from my leave in early January I received my money for October and that was the last money I have seen. This situation of late payments by the AU has been ongoing for all the time I have been here and has already forced me to have to change my leave plans once. A while back a friend of mine had to loan a woman $600 since the money she was entitled to was not yet paid to her and that would have meant she would have had to miss spending Christmas with her husband and children even though she was entitled to and had already planned her leave for this occasion. This is only one of many such problems caused to loyal members of AMIS and it seems as if nobody can or wants to change the current state of affairs.
Who is accountable for this state of affairs? And why are they getting away with it - is it corruption or incompetence or both? Hundreds of million pounds have been donated by Europe to make African peacekeepers in Africa a reality.