SUDAN WATCH: December 2008

Monday, December 29, 2008

UNAMID peacekeeper killed in North Darfur - Angry children injure UNAMID peacekeeper

From UN News Centre 29 December 2008:
Military officer with UN-African Union force in Darfur dies after car-jacking

A military officer serving with the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) died today, after being shot in the leg two days ago during a car-jacking in the strife-torn Sudanese region.

The incident happened Saturday night at a market in the capital of North Darfur, El Fasher – which is also the headquarters of the UN-AU force, deployed earlier this year to try to end the violence and suffering in Darfur.

The man was one of three UNAMID military officers who were car-jacked by three unknown armed men. The officers were forced to leave their vehicle and, in the process, one was shot. The car-jackers then drove off to the north with the vehicle.

The incident is the latest in a series of attacks against aid workers and the joint peacekeeping force, which lost more than 20 personnel in its first year of operation.

Violence has also continued against displaced persons sheltering in makeshift camps, with inter-tribal clashes and fighting between the Government and armed militia adding to the turmoil.

An estimated 300,000 people have been killed since fighting erupted in 2003 between Government forces, allied militiamen – known as the Janjaweed – and rebels, and 2.7 million others have been forced from their homes and now live as refugees or as internally displaced persons (IDPs).

The Security Council has authorized 26,000 uniformed personnel, including military and police, for UNAMID. So far some 12,369 military personnel have been deployed out of the authorized 19,555. Senior UN officials have repeatedly called on countries to supply the remaining troops and equipment needed.
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ANGRY CHILDREN INJURE UNAMID PEACEKEEPER IN DARFUR

From Sudan Tribune December 26, 2008 (EL FASHER):
Children from Hamadiya internally displaced persons’ (IDP) camp threw rocks at a peacekeeper on security duty at the Zalingei airstrip in West Darfur on Monday.

The peacekeeper, who was serving with the UN-African Union hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID), sustained a critical injury to his head, said a spokesperson for the mission.

Hamadiya is one of five refugee camps surrounding Zalingei housing 120,000 people. The incident follows efforts by Sudanese authorities and the hybrid mission to negotiate between government-backed militias in the area and sheikhs of the nearby Hassa Hissa IDP camp, one of whom was murdered earlier this month.

The UN Department of Safety and Security and UNAMID military and police personnel held a meeting with the National Intelligence Security Services (NISS) and leaders of the camp to discuss the incident. The traditional leader of the camp offered his apology, adding that measures would be taken to prevent a repeat of the incident.

According to Ted Chaiban, the outgoing head of UNICEF in Sudan, 2.3 million children have been affected by the conflict in Darfur, which amounts to roughly half of those bearing the humanitarian consequences of the conflict.

Generally these children have spent up to almost six years in urbanised camps where Darfuris concentrated for protection from a massive counter-insurgency campaign that began in 2003.

Zalingei is the hometown of the main Sudan Liberation Army rebel leader, Abdelwahid al-Nur, who lives in exile in France. The IDP camps around Zalingei are among the most politicised in Darfur.

A year ago when the UN special envoy to Darfur Jan Eliasson visited Hassa Hissa camp, camp leaders read out a long list of steps that they require be taken before engaging in political process with the government, and Al-Nur’s father, Mohamed Ahmed al-Nur, stayed in his shop in Zalingei and did not meet with the UN envoy.

Earlier this month a member of the Khartoum-backed janjaweed was killed following a dispute with IDPs in Hassa Hissa Camp. The next day some 30 militiamen, seeking revenge, marched towards the camp shooting in the air sporadically. They destroyed five water pumps supplying the camp of Hassa Hissa.

The Sudanese police and the former African Union peacekeeping troops (AMIS) had been forced to pull out of the camp when Abdelwahid rejected the Darfur Peace Agreement in May 2006.

Eleven UNAMID soldiers have died this year. Thus far there are 9,078 soldiers and 2,282 police deployed as UNAMID peacekeepers in Darfur, an area roughly the size of France.
Note, the report tells us that Al-Nur’s father, Mohamed Ahmed al-Nur, stayed in his shop in Zalingei and did not meet with the UN envoy. Like father, like son...

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South Sudan confirms attacks on LRA rebels - Riek Machar calls on LRA to assemble at Rikwangba in Southern Sudan

Rikwangba in Southern Sudan remains open as assembly area for LRA rebels.

Article from Sudan Tribune December 15, 2008 (JUBA) by James Gatdet Dak:
SOUTH SUDAN VP CONFIRMS ATTACKS ON LRA REBELS

The Government of Southern Sudan’s Vice President and Chief Mediator of the Uganda peace process, Dr. Riek Machar Teny, confirmed on Monday that military offensive against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) was under way inside DR Congo.

Joseph_Kony_Riek_Machar.jpg

Photo: LRA Joseph Kony is shaking hand with southern Sudan’s vice president Riek Machar. (Reuters).

A regional joint force carried out a surprise attack on LRA positions in eastern DR Congo on Sunday.

Machar said as mediators they were aware of the offensive shortly before it was announced in Kampala by the Ugandan government.

He blamed the LRA leader Joseph Kony for not signing the peace deal.

“We understand the frustration involved because Kony has failed to sign [the final peace agreement] five times,” he explained.

He further explained that Kony failed his arrangement to sign twice, former Mozambican President Joachim Chissano’s once, northern Ugandan leaders’ once and lastly failed to talk to President Museveni on the phone despite Museveni’s offer to dialogue with him directly.

Machar added that his government has closed its borders and would not allow the renewed fighting with the rebels to over spill into Southern Sudan again.

He however said the Government of Southern Sudan has made an important decision that incase Joseph Kony reconsiders to sign, Rikwangba in Southern Sudan remains open as assembly area for the rebels.

He said he considered the military offensive as a pressure on Kony to sign.
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Article from Sudan Tribune by James Gatdet Dak December 20, 2008 (JUBA)

CHIEF MEDIATOR CALLS ON UGANDAN REBELS TO ASSEMBLE TO DE-ESCALATE HOSTILITIES
The Chief Mediator of the Uganda peace process, Government of Southern Sudan’s Vice President, Riek Machar Teny has called on the rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) to assemble in Ri-Kwangba to “de-escalate” the ongoing hostilities with regional forces.

Riek_Machar7-2.jpg

Photo: Riek Machar

A joint regional force launched offensive against the LRA bases inside north-eastern DR Congo last week and still escalating.

In his 2nd report on the status of the Juba peace process, dated 15th December and of which copy the Sudan Tribune received today, the Chief Mediator stated that it was the Ugandan army that carried out the attacks on LRA on 14th December in Garamba forests, but was to be joined by Congolese forces while the SPLA would deploy along Southern Sudan borders to prevent the LRA from infiltrating into the semi-autonomous region.

He urged the LRA rebels to assemble in Ri-Kwangba area, respect the terms for assembling, sign and implement the peace deal.

The Government of Southern Sudan’s Vice President further stated that the military action was neither intended to destroy the Juba peace agreements nor abrogate the Ugandan government’s commitments towards the peace process.

Machar blamed the LRA leadership for not signing the Final Peace Agreement (KPA), which prompted regional military offensive against the rebels and called on them to assemble.

"I would therefore invite the LRA to signal its readiness to return and assemble in Ri-Kwangba in order to expeditiously conclude the Juba process,” he stated.

Some of the rebels were already reported to have infiltrated into Southern Sudan following the fighting and were accused by government officials of killing two civilians yesterday in Western Equatoria state.

He said the LRA should contact the Mediator who would, through the Cessation of Hostilities Monitoring Team, work with the relevant forces, to arrange for safe passage to Ri-Kwangba at Sudan/DR Congo border.

Machar said the mediators were aware of the concerns raised by the LRA on the ICC which they said were impeding the signature of the FPA, but he stated that these would be addressed within the framework of the peace agreement and "should therefore not delay this process any longer."

"The LRA must act swiftly and in good faith to conclude this chapter of violence so that peace can return to this region," he concluded.
Cross posted today at Congo Watch and Uganda Watch.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Govts of Uganda, Sudan and DR Congo today launch joint offensive against Uganda LRA rebels in DRC, Uganda says

Today, the governments of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan launched a joint military offensive against the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) bases in Garamba, eastern Congo, an army spokesman said.

Let's hope this news is of a genuine effort to eradicate the LRA who have been on the rampage for more than 20 years, committing unspeakable crimes and atrocities that are far worse than anything that has happened in Darfur.

Further details are here below in a report just in from the BBC and in a Factbox from Reuters giving some details about leader Joseph Kony and his LRA rebels, along with a profile by the Telegraph's David Blair and a recent photo of Kony who is estimated to have abducted more than 20,000 children to fight as footsoldiers in the LRA.

Also, here below is a blog post and extract from an article on the LRA by freelance journalist Rob Crilly. The whole 2000 word article is up for sale. Rob does not mention a price but in the comments at his post at From The Frontline blog he says that he is open to offers. If anyone reading this is able to sponsor Rob's article for publication here at Sudan Watch (and its sister sites Congo Watch and Uganda Watch) please email me. I have spent over four years raising awareness of the LRA and would appreciate Rob's article being published asap in the hope of it being helpful to the poor forgotten people of Northern Uganda. No doubt Rob's article is very good. It needs to be shared as widely as possible. Here are just a few of the reasons why, in pictures:

See Sudan Watch, February 06, 2006: One of the world's most wanted men: Ugandan LRA terrorist group chief Joseph Kony flees Southern Sudan into DR Congo - UN calls NGOs into Kony hunt

Gulu victim

Photo: Gulu victim. The LRA use torture to instil fear. Uganda's rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has become synonymous with torture, abductions and killings. (BBC photo) from Sudan Watch archives.

Uganda1

Photo: Two young boy's get treated for severe burn wounds in the Lira hospital in northern Uganda, Feb 23, 2004, after a massacre believed to be committed by the Lord's Resistance Army rebel group in the Barlonyo camp 26 kilometers north of the town that killed at least 200 people. (AP Photo/Karel Prinsloo) from Sudan Watch archives.

Northern Uganda

Photo: Ochola John was deformed by rebels from Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (BBC) Read the victim's heartbreaking testimony: June 30 2006 Sudan Watch and Uganda Watch - LRA victim: 'I cannot forget and forgive'

ARMIES 'ATTACK UGANDA REBELS'
From the BBC Sunday, 14 December 2008 7:36 PM GMT:
Three African armies have launched a joint offensive against Ugandan rebels based in eastern DR Congo, military officials say in Uganda.

Uganda, DR Congo and the government of South Sudan reportedly moved against the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in the Garamba region of DR Congo.

LRA leader Joseph Kony, wanted by the International Criminal Court, has recently stalled on a peace deal.

The LRA has led a rebellion for more than 20 years in northern Uganda.

The fighting has displaced some two million people.

Uganda's government has been involved in lengthy peace negotiations with the LRA, but the rebels' leader has demanded that arrest warrants for him and his associates are dropped before any agreement can be struck.

A statement announcing the operation was released in the Ugandan capiital Kampala by the intelligence chiefs of all three armed forces.

The statement said the attack targeted the "terrorists" at their bases in the forested area of Garamba, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, AFP news agency said.

"The three armed forces successfully attacked the main body and destroyed the main camp of Kony, code-named camp Swahili, setting it on fire," the statement said.
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FOR SALE: LORD'S RESISTANCE ARMY FEATURE
December 10, 2008 blog post by Rob Crilly:
Earlier this year photographer Kate Holt and I chartered a plane to fly from Dungu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to the tiny village of Doruma which was recovering from repeated attacks by the Lord’s Resistance Army. We found people living in fear of the next assault, as LRA raiding parties roamed the jungle looking for sex slaves, porters and fighters.

We uncovered evidence that Joseph Kony was cynically using a halt in hostilities - called to allow peace talks - in order to rearm, recruit and reorganise. With food distributed by aid agencies and satphones delivered by the Ugandan diaspora, his fighting force was more efficient that ever. And one his key aides, a recent defector, told us that Kony would never sign up to peace.

FOR eight days Raymond Kpiolebeyo was marched at gunpoint through the steaming Congolese jungle, not knowing whether he would live or die. For six nights he slept with eight other prisoners pinned under a plastic sheet weighted down with bags and stones to prevent escape. Their sweat condensed on the sheeting inches above their faces before dripping back and turning their plastic prison into a stinking, choking sauna.

He was a prisoner of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a cult-like band of brutal commanders and their brutalised child soldiers.

“They told us that if one of use tried to escape we would all be shot,” said Raymond, a 28-year-old teacher from the town of Doruma, close to the border with South Sudan.

In the end the story was commissioned but never ran. So, I am offering a 2000wd feature, an unparalleled insight into the bizarre world of Joseph Kony, for sale. Please contact me by the using the comments section below…

Moonlight in Dungu, N.E. DR Congo

Photo: Two young children stand outside their hut in the moonlight in Dungu, in North Eastern DR Congo, on 19 June, 2008. (Photo by Kate Holt kateholt.com)
Note, although Rob does not mention a price, in the comments at his blog post, he says he is open to offers. I would be most grateful for any ideas or suggestions that would help the article get published. If anyone reading this is able to sponsor the article (or knows someone who can) for publication here at Sudan Watch, Uganda Watch and Congo Watch, please email me. The plight of the poor people of Northern Uganda and LRA victims must not be forgotten. Please help in any way possible. Thank you.
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WHO ARE UGANDA'S LRA REBELS?
December 14, 2008 factbox from Reuters:
WHAT HAS HAPPENED:

Thousands of people have been killed and 2 million displaced during the 22 years of fighting between Kony's rebels and the Ugandan government. The conflict has destabilised parts of oil-producing south Sudan and mineral-rich eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Last October LRA fighters carried out a series of raids near Congo's porous northern border with Sudan, looting homes and burning buildings in a pattern similar to months of violence. LRA fighters killed at least 52 people, and abducted another 159 children and 10 adults during attacks in northern Congo in September, that country's U.N. peacekeeping mission, MONUC, said.

A landmark truce was signed in August 2006 and was later renewed. But talks brokered by south Sudan collapsed last April after Kony failed to sign the pact as planned.

Mediators gave Kony until the end of November to give his final approval to the peace deal. However, he again failed to appear to sign a final peace deal and told traditional elders at the end of last month he would still not sign a final peace deal until an international arrest warrant for him is scrapped.

Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague for his role in a conflict that has destabilised a swathe of central Africa.

THE LRA AND A HUMANITARIAN CRISIS:

Self-proclaimed mystic Kony began one of a series of initially popular uprisings in northern Uganda after President Yoweri Museveni seized power in 1986. But his tactics of kidnapping recruits and killing civilians alienated supporters.

The LRA was infamous for abducting children for use as soldiers, porters and "wives". Although there are no universally accepted figures, the children are believed to number many thousands. Some are freed after days, others never escape.

Kony's force was once backed by Khartoum as a proxy militia, although Sudan said it cut all ties with it. Kony quit his hideouts in south Sudan in 2005 for the Democratic Republic of Congo's remote Garamba forest.

Many northerners reviled the LRA for its atrocities, but also blamed Museveni for setting up camps for at least 2 million people as part of his counter-insurgency strategy, fuelling one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.

WHAT DOES KONY WANT?

Kony has said he wants to rule Uganda by the Biblical Ten Commandments, but at peace talks his group also articulated a range of northern grievances, including the theft of cattle by Museveni's troops and demands for more political power.
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PROFILE: Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord's Resistance Army

By David Blair
The Daily Telegraph
November 29, 2008
When Joseph Kony's minions began peace talks with Uganda's government in 2005, their first task was to think of some coherent aims on behalf of their psychotic leader.

Joseph Kony

Photo: Joseph Kony is estimated to have abducted more than 20,000 children to fight as footsoldiers in the Lord's Resistance Army (Reuters photo)

Kony, who is about 47 and holds the distinction of being the first man ever to be indicted by the International Criminal Court, has waged war with no purpose since 1988.

He began his campaign in Northern Uganda, posing as a messianic figure who communed with holy spirits. The nearest Kony ever came to a political goal was a pledge to rule Uganda according to the Ten Commandments.

At the beginning, he won some followers largely because President Yoweri Museveni had ignored Northern Uganda and excluded Kony's Acholi people from power.

By 1992, Kony had staked his claim to be fighting in the name of the Lord by naming his movement the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). But his rebellion amounted to a vicious cult, not a classic insurgency, and had no purpose save rebellion itself.

Consequently, no-one would volunteer to fight for Kony's non-existent cause, leaving him with little choice but to abduct children and force them to become his footsoldiers. How many innocents have suffered this fate is unknown – but the official estimate of 20,000 is almost a decade out of date. The real total may be two or three times higher.

The peace talks with Uganda's government have yielded a draft agreement, which Kony's representatives insist he will sign.

But a paper deal may not abate his murderous campaign.

Kony has been driven from Uganda, where no LRA attacks have occurred for almost three years. Instead, Congo's defenceless people are now his chosen victims.

Even if Kony makes peace with Uganda, his onslaught in Congo may continue.

Africa's children will only be safe when this mystical psychopath meets his well-deserved end.
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MAP OF SUDAN SHOWING JANUARY 1, 1956 LINE OF DEMARCATION

This is an interesting map. Click here for a larger view.

Sudan map showing January 1, 1956 Line of Demarcation

Source: US Government
U.S. Policy Toward Sudan
Robert B. Zoellick, Deputy Secretary of State
Testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Washington, DC
September 28, 2005

[Cross posted today at Sudan Watch's sister sites Congo Watch and Uganda Watch]
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UPDATE SUNDAY 14 DECEMBER 2008

December 14, 2008 Voice of America News report - excerpt:
A joint statement, signed by the three governments' chiefs of military intelligence, say the forces destroyed the main camp of LRA leader Joseph Kony and set it on fire. There was no immediate word on Kony's fate but the statement said the operation was still in progress.
Full story: AFRICAN NEIGHBORS ATTACK UGANDAN REBELS.

SNAPSHOT - GOOGLE'S NEWSREEL SUNDAY EVENING GMT 14 DECEMBER 2008

Regional forces launch offensive against Uganda's rebel group
Xinhua, China - 28 minutes ago
KAMPALA, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- Military forces from Uganda, southern Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) launched an attack on Sunday morning on ...

UPDF attacks Kony
Daily Monitor, Uganda - 1 hour ago
The UPDF yesterday attacked the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels, ending a 29-month ceasefire and signalling the complete failure of peace talks meant to end ...

UPDF planes attack Kony's Congo base
New Vision, Uganda - 1 hour ago
By Henry Mukasa UGANDA, South Sudan and DR Congo yesterday morning jointly attacked Joseph Kony’s rebels hiding in Garamaba forest. ...

Congo war hurts cross-border trade
New Vision, Uganda - 1 hour ago
By Samuel Balagadde THE political turmoil in DR Congo is frustrating cross-boarder trade between the with Uganda, a top businessman complained over the ...

Ministers want sanctions on LRA leader
New Vision, Uganda - 1 hour ago
By George Kalisa THE Foreign ministers of the member states of the Tripartite Plus Joint Commission have called on the UN Security council to impose travel ...

LRA base 'attacked' in Uganda
Aljazeera.net, Qatar - 3 hours ago
Troops from Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and southern Sudan have attacked the bases of Uganda's Lord's
Resistance Army (LRA) in eastern Congo, ...

Joint operation against Ugandan rebels begins
Radio Netherlands, Netherlands - 3 hours ago
Military forces from Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and southern Sudan have begun a joint operation against Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), ...

Ugandan rebels face joint offensive in DRCongo
ABC Online, Australia - 3 hours ago
By Africa correspondent Andrew Geoghegan Three central African countries have launched a joint offensive against Ugandan rebels in the Democratic Republic ...

African neighbours in joint raid on Ugandan rebels
AFP - 4 hours ago
KAMPALA (AFP) — Forces from Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and southern Sudan launched a joint military operation Sunday against Uganda's rebel ...

Governments launch military offensive on Uganda rebels
Reuters UK, UK - 4 hours ago
By Jack Kimball KAMPALA, Dec 14 (Reuters) - Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and south Sudan launched a joint military offensive on Sunday against ...

Armies 'attack Uganda rebels'
BBC News, UK - 5 hours ago
Three African armies have launched a joint offensive against Ugandan rebels based in eastern DR Congo, military officials say in Uganda. ...

FACTBOX-Who are Uganda's LRA rebels?
Reuters AlertNet, UK - 5 hours ago
Dec 14 (Reuters) - The governments of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan on Sunday launched a joint military offensive against the ...

African Neighbors Attack Ugandan Rebels
Voice of America - 1 hour ago
By VOA News Three central African governments say their armies have launched a joint offensive against Uganda's rebel Lord's Resistance Army. ...

Nations launch offensive against Uganda LRA rebels
Reuters South Africa, South Africa - 2 hours ago
By Jack Kimball KAMPALA (Reuters) - Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and southern Sudan launched a joint military offensive on Sunday against Ugandan ...

African Armies Conduct Joint Offensive Against Ugandan
TransWorldNews (press release), GA - 2 hours ago
Armies from Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan have reportedly engaged in a joint offensive against Ugandan rebels based in the eastern DR ...

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Thousands flee fighting in oil-rich Abyei - Night curfew in force for those who remain

Thousands have fled Sudan's volatile oil town of Abyei after fresh north-south fighting has reignited tensions over the contested area, officials said on Saturday.

Local officials said up to 10,000 Abyei residents had returned to the area to rebuild their homes before Friday's clashes.

But a U.N. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said almost all the people who had moved back to the town had been forced to flee again on Friday. A night curfew was now in force for those who remained, the official added.

Source: Sat 13 Dec 2008 Reuters report by Andrew Heavens in Khartoum, Sudan. Copy:
THOUSANDS FLEE FIGHTING IN SUDAN OIL FLASHPOINT

Thousands have fled Sudan's volatile oil town of Abyei after fresh north-south fighting has reignited tensions over the contested area, officials said on Saturday.

At least one person was killed after shooting broke out on Friday between police and soldiers in the first significant violence since northern and southern troops clashed in the town in May, raising fears for a north-south peace deal.

Both Khartoum and its semi-autonomous south claim Abyei which is close to lucrative oil fields and a key pipeline.

The borders of the town and its surrounding territory were left undecided in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that ended two decades of north-south civil war. Both sides have refused to compromise over the demarcation.

Scores were killed, more than 50,000 were left homeless and Abyei was burnt to the ground in the May clashes, which observers say may have started after a relatively minor confrontation at a checkpoint spiralled out of control.

Both sides eventually signed a roadmap agreement setting up a temporary administration, withdrawing troops and replacing them with integrated police and military units made up of both northerners and southerners.

Local officials said up to 10,000 Abyei residents had returned to the area to rebuild their homes before Friday's clashes.

But a U.N. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said almost all the people who had moved back to the town had been forced to flee again on Friday. A night curfew was now in force for those who remained, the official added.

DISPLACED

"The population fled in all directions," Colonel James Monday from Abyei's police force told reporters.

"There's very few people left. The market is closed. There's no bread and no meat," he added.

Monday said the shooting started after a northern soldier in the joint military unit got into an argument with a trader in the town's market and police tried to intervene.

"The army released bullets and the police released bullets and there was a fight. Two civilians were injured in the market," he said, adding that one northern soldier was killed and four other troops injured.

U.N. peacekeepers managed to separate the fighters and sent delegations to northern and southern army bases outside the town, urging calm.

A spokesman from the northern Sudanese army declined to comment on the clashes.

Major General Biar Ajang, from the southern Sudan People's Liberation Army, told reporters he had heard two northern soldiers had died in the fighting.

He said the fighting had added to a broader build-up of tension in the region, citing recent reinforcements by northern troops in the Southern Kordofan region, north of Abyei.

Khartoum earlier this month said it was building up troops to counter moves from rebels in war-torn Darfur region.

But Ajang dismissed the explanation as "just excuses."

"There is the border, there are other political issues that we assume to be the reason for the mobilization of troops in this area," he said.

June's Abyei roadmap deal also agreed to refer the issue of Abyei's disputed borders -- which would decide whether one of Sudan's two largest oil fields is in north or south Sudan -- to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.

(Additional reporting by Skye Wheeler in Juba; Editing by Sami Aboudi)
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For further reports, click on Abyei label here below.

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Six Sudanese policemen killed while attempting to stop Fallata from Tullus attacking rival Habaniya tribe in S. Darfur

OVER 50 PEOPLE KILLED IN TRIBAL CLASHES IN DARFUR
December 12, 2008 (KHARTOUM) — Tribal fighting killed over 35 people and displaced hundreds of civilians in South Darfur on Friday. Elements from Fallata attacked their rival Habaniya tribe. Armed cattle rustlers, from the two tribes, wage regular against each other.

Equipped with heavy weapons, the assailants who came from Tullus attacked the rival tribe at mid day. Thirty-five members of Al-Falata tribe died in fighting with the Habaniya tribe while 17 tribesmen were wounded in the clashes.

Six policemen, including an officer, were among the killed people. They were attempting to stop the tribal conflict. Three of the attackers’ vehicles were destroyed.

The region is home to the Arab tribe, Habaniya, which is embroiled in a dispute with the ethnic African Falatta tribe which lives nearby. Both tribes are herders. Besides the cattle theft they also clash over the area’s resources.

Issa Mohamed Abdallah, a local official in Buram said the police is now totally controlling the area. He also said that more police troops were deployed between Buram and Tullus. The governor declared the state of emergency, he stressed.

Jaafar Ali Al-Gali, one of the Habaniya leaders called on the "uncontrolled groups" to not aggress unarmed citizens and abide by the signed agreements. He further urged the government to beef up security and achieve justice.

Copy of 2 Comments at Sudan Tribune

1. Comment 13 December 2008 by Dinka Bush:
This is one of the deadliest attach which have ever taken place in Darfur, very sad and a disgrace to the African population. It goes without doubt that those behind this attach might have been assisted by Khartoum. Why do they fight each other and they have a common enemy from the other side of the sea. Please fellow brothers of Fallata, there is no other means to make mankind become free from these heinous attachs, LIBERATION IS THE ONLY WAY OUT. With this, you should not forget what your brother around you will contribute. Southern Sudan is almost at the door of separation and there should be a need for you to collaborate with them. Tighten your hearts and fight this common enemy.

2. Comment 13 December 2008 by DAVID N:
Let’s get it on! This Fallata tribes of prostitutes of Africa must be diminished, either they will take advantages with some Hausa prostitutes. Let’s get RizeiGad to attack them! We don’t need these prostitutes from West Africa invading into Sudan!
+ + + Rest In Peace + + +
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From Sudan Watch: found on the internet - something to do with Skype and Sudan:

Hvad kræver messenger og skype af hastighed på forbindelsen

khartoum, Hej Eksperten
Jeg sidder her i Khartoum i Sudan. Jeg har købt mig en internetopkobling via USB modem (dongle). Jeg har målt hastigheden med IT-borgers tester og får et resultat som følger. Upload 102kb/s og Download 295kb/s i gennemsnit over en række målinger.Den svinger meget.

Alligevel vil skype (tale) ikke virke, og messenger (tale) falder udog er ustabil. Hvad pokker gør jeg, jeg troede det var nok hastighed. Er der andre programmer der kræver mindre båndbredde.

Hilsen Henri

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Two Sudanese policeman killed in Abyei - 1 stabbed by a butcher from the Messiriya tribe

Police members of the Joint Integrated Unit (JIU) and the Joint Integrated Police Unit (JIPU) were involved in deadly fighting in Abyei. 2 killled.

Reports from the area say that the violence started when a policeman was stabbed by a butcher from the Messiriya tribe. He had refused to move to a new market in Abyei town. Also, as the police fired in the air to disperse the crowd, the SAF soldiers fired back believing they were under attack.

However another conflicting report says the two forces disagreed on how to deal with the butcher issue.

Source: Sudan Tribune 13 December 2008 by James Gatdet Dak. Copy:
TWO POLICEMEN KILLED IN ABYEI AFTER CLASHES BETWEEN POLICE AND SUDANESE SOLDIERS

December 12, 2008 (JUBA) – Northern Sudanese soldiers clashed today with some Abyei police members who belong to the southern Sudan government. Two policemen were killed in a misunderstanding that started with a scuffle between them and a butcher in the old market of the disputed area.

The Special Representative of the Secretary General for Sudan, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, Head of UNMIS, deplored the incident and confirmed that members of the Joint Integrated Unit (JIU) and the Joint Integrated Police Unit (JIPU) were involved in the deadly fighting.

Last June the two peace partners, the NCP and the SPLM agreed, in order to avoid such violence as it was the case last May, to withdraw their units from the contested area, and to deploy only joint military and police units in Abyei.

Reports from the area say that the violence started when a policeman was stabbed by a butcher from the Messiriya tribe. He had refused to move to a new market in Abyei town. Also, as the police fired in the air to disperse the crowd, the SAF soldiers fired back believing they were under attack.

However another conflicting report says the two forces disagreed on how to deal with the butcher issue.

This latest clash comes after six months of relative peace in the area.

Heavy fighting erupted in May this year between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in the disputed oil rich region of Abyei, resulting to hundreds of casualties, destruction of the whole town and displacement of tens of thousands.

Government of Southern Sudan’s Minister for Presidential Affairs, Dr. Luka Biong Deng, said tensions were high on Friday in Abyei town after the deadly clash . He further said a number of people were reported killed and some others wounded and that civilians started fleeing the town for their safety.

Abyei Area’s Chief Administrator, Brig. Arop Moyak, is reportedly heading to the region to arrest the situation.

A roadmap agreement, which resulted to formation of interim administration within interim boundaries constituting Abyei Area, was reached in June by the parties to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in January 2005.

The agreement also saw the implementation of wealth sharing and security arrangement protocols in the area after three years of stalemate.

The head of the UNAMIs called on all parties and residents in Abyei, as well as people residing in Diffra and Agok, to remain calm. He asked that they offer their full cooperation and support to the Abyei Administration in the maintenance of peace and law and order.

He also urged the parties to take all necessary measures to avoid any further outbreaks of violence, and to ensure that today’s unfortunate incident does not impede the peaceful implementation of the Abyei road map.

The oil rich region according to the CPA will decide in 2011’s referendum to either annex to Southern Sudan or remain with northern Sudan in case the South votes for independence in the same year.

(ST) Related stories - Abyei:
- Breaking News: Sudanese army and local police clash in Abyei
- UK sponsors training course for Abyei joint forces
- Sudanese parties appoint president of Abyei arbitration tribunal

Copy of 5 Comments at Sudan Tribune article above

1. Comment 13 December 2008 07:24, by julius mowanga
It’s very obvious that the enemy of the liberated South Sudan, are active disengage, neither than concede to CPA. SPLM became like a consignement agent, meddling in matters considered as matter of life or death. Accordinglly, SPLM presence in the area is not functional, and causes a lot of provocative tenssions. Messeriya and Jeng-Ngok are cousins, lived for centuries together as one, but the greediness of NCP/SPLM’s officalls detorirated the insecuriy situation by those who call themselves sons-of Abyei; who are behind all these atrocities.

The area aknowledges the rule of public administration, which represents all the dwelling tribes and Maraheel as well. The involvement of SAF and SPLA ,is politically motivaed in order to secure some political gains, and lofty unaccountable funds.

Thus; the consequental reactions will bear more divission among the Abyei communities, and will lead to a further escalated conflicts. Underestimating the capabilities and the aggression potentiuality of Non-Dinka residents in the area, backed by NCP Prior to the oil and petroleum discoveries, all Abyei people, lived as one nation,but....willn’t let the people socially benfit, or strengthen their relationships and enhance their commitment. Peace management is far difficult than a war’s, but even though, no one can restrain a human being, accesesing ....etc...

NEW-SUDAN O yeeee... SPLA O yeeee

2. Comment 13 December 2008 by Martino Looding Nyekinyang
U shall not provok the army.

3. Comment 13 December 2008 by Deng Gai
Dear Southerners, there is no doubt that the NIF regime want to cause trouble in this country so that they use their newly bought military equipment thinking that they are the only solution to the current situation, but they are wrong on this issue because south Sudan now is more united and the SPLA is more equiped than they were before, to resist the NIF and its supporters but military option is not the best solution as wanted by the SPLM patterner.

So let remain vigilant and support our GOVernment rather than critizing it at this stage of time.My advice to HE Kiir Mayaardit is to act quickly to appoint the Defense Minister because we can not do without him/her while his/her services are need.

4. Comment 13 December 2008 by Martino Looding Nyekinyang
Gai, you are talking about oposit of the whole situatin of South unity or SPLA millitary strength. Right now, Dinkas are not the ones fight in abiyei, but Equatorians and some Nuers. Your message may be intended for those who are not on the ground or perhaps you are trying to fool arbas. Kiir is not sending his(BEGERS) to war zon, though all 32 tangs and trucks drivers currently in Newsite(Kakurotom) are from Kiir familly. They will never go to fight in Abiyei,. wait and see.

5. Comment 13 December 2008 by Trueson of Southerner is Back
What did these idiots of NCP want from the richest land of Sudan and they are not orgins of this land? They are alway creating problem that left people dead every month for no reason.

you wait we are sending our coward leader of EDF Big Logic with ten thousands troops to go and exerice the wrestling with you.

Big Logic don’t run to Uganda, go go to Abyei
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+ + + Rest In Peace + + +

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Sudanese Sheikh of Darfur's Hassa Hissa IDP Camp shot dead by unknown armed men

On 10 December 2008, UNAMID officials in Sector West received information that the Sheikh (traditional leader) of Hassa Hissa IDP Camp had been shot dead by unknown armed men.

UNAMID patrol dispatched to the Camp confirmed these reports and found that there was no immediate reaction by the IDPs and the Camp was calm.

Source: From African Union Commission (AUC) El Fasher, Darfur - UNAMID daily media brief December 11, 2008. Copy:
UNAMID Deputy Police Commissioner visit to Kabkabiya, North Darfur

UNAMID Deputy Police Commissioner for Operations, Adeyemi Ogunjemilusi, paid a one-day official visit to Kabkabiya, Sector North. The visit is part of his familiarization tour of UNAMID area of operations and as well as to inspect the work of UNAMID police in the sectors.

Deputy Police Commissioner for Operations arrived in Darfur to assume his duties with UNAMID in October 2008.

Update on Hassa Hissa Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Camp in West Darfur

On 10 December 2008, UNAMID officials in Sector West received information that the Sheikh (traditional leader) of Hassa Hissa IDP Camp had been shot dead by unknown armed men. UNAMID patrol dispatched to the Camp confirmed these reports and found that there was no immediate reaction by the IDPs and the Camp was calm.

UNAMID Acting Sector West Commander, Brigadier General Balla Keita, is expected to visit the camp on 11 December 2008.

Rotation of Nigerian Battalion

The rotation of the Nigerian Battalion in Darfur is currently ongoing, as of 10 December 2008, 84 members of the protection force from Nigerian Battalion-8 and 92 protection force personnel from Nigerian Battalion-9, arrived in Nyala, Sector South, while 138 protection force personnel returned to their home country.

Similarly, the Rwandan Battalion rotation is currently ongoing.
- - -+ + + Rest In Peace + + +
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List of recent stories published at Sudan Tribune

Saturday 13 December 2008
- Governor denies killing of Darfur rebel commander in Bahr –Al-Ghazal
- Two policemen killed in Abyei after clashes between police and Sudanese soldiers
- Over 50 people killed in tribal clashes in Darfur
- Polio immunisation planned for South Sudan
- Refugee agency issues $103 million appeal for Sudan
- Ethiopia to pullout Somalia after guarantying safe departure of AU troops - PM
- Western Equatoria receives keys of newly constructed Ministry of Agriculture

Friday 12 December 2008
- New brewer marks a new era in South Sudan history  
- Jonglei’s Pachala Commissioner slaps King over fraud charges  
- Sudan and Russia to cooperate against transnational crimes  
- UNAMID provides equipment to anti-carjacking Sudanese police  
- Eritrea: US officials attempt to prevent good relations with Obama team  
- Lakes state opens new ministry building in Rumbek  

Thursday 11 December 2008
- Sudan’s Bashir cannot escape accountability: Bush  
- ICC judges query prosecutor on Darfur rebel case  
- Ugandan President wants direct contact with LRA leader  
- Darfur rebel leader urges to review UNAMID mandate  
- Darfur rebel group fragmented over commander death  
- Commissioner calls for dissemination of human rights in southern Sudan  
- UN top officials to Darfur discuss ceasefire implementation  
- Gunmen kill 2 people in Jonglei’s Twic  
- African Union calls on UN to send peacekeepers to Somalia  
- Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Adha in Rumbek  

Wednesday 10 December 2008
- Elections to be held on schedule says Sudan 2nd VP  
- Political dialogue begins in Central African Republic  
- Sudan defiant on warning by French president over ICC indictment  
- Russia appoints special envoy to Sudan  
- South Sudan President reinstates Eastern Equatoria Speaker  
- Jonglei Governor urges Muslims to align for development  
- Ethiopia redeploys troops in Somalia  
- National roundtable alarmed by ’deteriorating media freedom’  

Tuesday 9 December 2008
- Policy group on genocide urges changes to U.S. agencies  
- French president says clock ticking for Sudan’s Bashir  
- South Sudan cabinet approves reduction of officials’ salary  
- Kony will not be delivered to the ICC if he signs peace –Uganda’s Museveni  
- Ethiopia says decision for Somalia pullout is irreversible  
- Sanaa forum countries to meet in Khartoum  

Monday 8 December 2008
- India issues new tender for Sudan Nile blend crude  
- US special envoy to Sudan travels to France  
- Darfur’s Abdel-Shafi dismisses accusations over murder in South Sudan  
- Correspondent sacked from radio post in Rumbek  
- Sudan militia attack displaced camp in West Darfur  
- Sudan’s census data to be released in February 09  
- Ethiopia uncompromising on Eritrea border  
- South Sudan Ministers agree to budget, centralizing taxation  

Sunday 7 December 2008
- Darfur rebel faction sacks its chief after death of commander in South Sudan
- SPLM ready to run for Sudan’s 2009 elections  
- Sudanese President flies to Saudi Arabia to Perform Hajj  
- Sudan militiamen kill local chief in Darfur camp - rebels  
- Sudan confirms troops deployment in South Kordofan  
- Ethiopian pop-star sentenced to 6 years jail over hit-and-run  
- Biong urges youth to be committed to South Sudan unity  

Saturday 6 December 2008
- South Sudan government discusses budget, declining revenue  
- South Sudan youth establish first regional parliament  
- Sudanese army deploys troops in South Kordofan, SPLM says  
- A police man rescued after attempting to commit suicide in Juba  
- Aid operations in Darfur under threat, says UN relief boss  

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Oil drives the "genocide" in Darfur - JEM says it will never engage in any peace talks with Sudan govt

A news report, copied here below, entitled " JEM WILL NOT ENGAGE WITH TALKS WITH GOVERNMENT, JEM OFFICIAL SAYS" [December 05, 2008, Miraya FM via ReliefWeb] tells us that the Darfur rebel group JEM says it will never engage in any peace talks with the Sudenese government.

As the archives here at Sudan Watch show, JEM will not be content until the regime in Khartoum is toppled and they steal power for themselves.

Isn't there a law against such criminal activity? Simon Mann was jailed for more than 34 years for leading an attempt to oust Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

Maybe this is why SLM's Nur and JEM's Ibrahim fear attending Darfur's peace talks because their consciences are not clear and know they deserve to be arrested.

Sudan put a bounty on JEM Ibrahim's head for his attempted coup on Khartoum last May.

On May 14, 2008, The Scotsman reported that on May 13 Sudan put a £123m bounty on head of JEM's leader: Sudan's State TV said president Omar al-Bashir's government increased a reward for Khalil Ibrahim to 500 million Sudanese pounds, or £123 million – almost ten times the amount the United States has offered for Osama bin Laden.

So, here is the latest crossroads. What next? See details here below.

(1) Government of Sudan (GOS) joint Arab-African peace initiative for Darfur:
Qatari Peace Bid: UN, EU, AU, AL, UK, US & France support the joint Arab-African peace initiative for Darfur led by Qatar & Sudan People's Forum (SPF)

(2) Darfur rebel group SLM response to joint Arab-African peace initiative for Darfur:
France-based SLM leader Abdel-Wahid Al-Nur dismisses all peace initiatives and proposes none.

(3) Displaced Darfuris response to joint Arab-African peace initiative for Darfur:
SLM Nur's rebels in Darfur's Kalma Camp dismiss peace talks and demand more UN security or assisted migration out of Sudan

(4) Darfur rebel group JEM response to joint Arab-African peace initiative for Darfur:
JEM dismisses all peace initiative and proposes none. See report:
JEM WILL NOT ENGAGE WITH TALKS WITH GOVERNMENT, JEM OFFICIAL SAYS
December 05, 2008 report from Miraya FM via ReliefWeb

The JEM foreign affairs official Harun Abdel Hamid told Miraya FM that the movement will never engage in any peace talks with the Sudan government even if other armed movements participate in negotiation. Harun also said that JEM will not mortgage the fate of Darfur crisis with the positions of other armed movements, adding that Abuja Peace Agreement does not mean anything to the movement as he puts it.

Meanwhile, the state minister for information Kamal Ibeid said that negotiation is not giving conditions and dictations.

The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes held the conflicting parties the responsibility of escalating violence in the region.
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Image: "Apprehension" by Rob Rooker. Painted on a wall in Maridi, Sudan.  The image is of a young Nuer boy looking up among a crowd of people.
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Notes to self by author of Sudan Watch December 08, 2008

OIL DRIVES THE "GENOCIDE" IN DARFUR - The reason is simple: a possible oil pipeline through Darfur

Somewhere here in the archives of Sudan Watch are reports regarding warnings by the UN that anyone who hinders peace in Darfur will be punished. So why during the past five years have the rebels remained free to say and do as they wish?

I can't imagine a civilian living in my neighbourhood being permitted by the British government to publicly direct the Darfur war from an armchair via a satellite phone. Some people in Paris have such a neighbour in the form of Darfur war leader Abdul Wahid Al Nur who freely swans around talking to the international press about he's doing. Why does France allow it?

Seems African rebels are above the law. I wonder why. Clearly, the law and immigration rules are being bent to suit some and not others.

Incidentally, a few days ago I came across this comment at a blogpost of the Angry Arab at Berkely - excerpt:
As'ad was right to bring up the point about pet causes, such as what is taking place in Darfur. Without getting to enmeshed in the subject, we find this total absence of knowledge of why this conflict is taking place in Darfur in the first place. I do not know why people insist on glossing over the numerous reports of oil exploration and discovery in Darfur - there are enough articles past and present that amply display the issue. However there is this total absence in the movement to save Darfur of what is once again taking place on the ground. The only thing we hear is "evil Muslims" who are doing these atrocious acts - why? You would think that the major thrust is that of hatred of anything other than Muslims - or this is what is implied. All that happens in ignorant outrage like this is the continuation of this orientalist tripe that is cooked up daily and deeply to fuel the "war on terror," and to obscure the underlying factors of what is really taking place.

Note the chronological dates on these reports:

Energy Bulletin - Oil Underlies Darfur Tragedy July 05, 2004 by Zaman Daily

Sudan Watch - India Signs New Pipeline Deal July 12, 2004 & December 04, 2004 by Ingrid Jones

Reuters - Oil Discovery Adds New Twist to Darfur Tragedy June 15, 2005 by Ruth Gidley

Common Dreams - Oil Drives The Genocide In Darfur August 19, 2005 by David Morse

Los Angeles Times Wakes Up - Search for oil raises the stakes in Darfur March 03, 2007 by Edmund Sanders

Reuters reiteration 2007 - The Race For Darfur's Oil - a Blessing or a Curse? Mar 07, 2007 by Nina Brenjo

I think this is quite enough material. Where should the Save Darfur movement be directed? What should be it's target in the light of these facts? Now, compare this with the barren knowledge of the majority of the "save Darfur" movement.
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Image: "Crowd" by Rob Rooker
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For sure it's starting to look like the Darfur rebellion was engineered for oil in Sudan, Chad and along the border. When I wonder about who is funding the rebel leaders and their armies, I also wonder about who funded South Sudan's civil war for more than 20 years and why it was classed as a civil war and not genocide.

Two million Sudanese people perished in South Sudan's war. Many more millions of people perished in Northern Uganda and DR Congo but were not classed as genocide.

Now I am reminded of the following two posts that I wrote in 2004:
December 04, 2004 Sudan: Oil and Darfur - India signed new pipeline deal - France interested in Uranium and has drilling rights

July 11, 2004 ARAB SOURCES SAY OIL DISCOVERED IN DARFUR - Sudan and India sign new pipeline deal:

July 7, 2004 report entitled "Oil Underlies Darfur Tragedy" by Zaman in Turkey, says that according to Arab sources, the fighting in Darfur stems from attempts to gain control over the oil resources in the region. Also, their sources point out that oil fields have recently been discovered in Darfur.

May 15, 2004 report entitled "W. Sudan: a complex ethnic reality with a long history" by Professor R.S. O'Fahey of University of Bergen, Norway (and Northwestern University) writes of Darfur: "the racist dimension comes to the fore in reports of rape and mass killings, cynically supported by the Khartoum government, which is determined to retain control over the area. The reason is simple: a possible oil pipeline through Darfur."

The above two reports are the first of three I've found that mention oil in Darfur. Mainstream media seem to concentrate their reports on the conflict in Darfur as being about government backed Janjaweed eliminating black Africans who feel marginalised and excluded from getting a fair share of power and wealth for their region. Which, going by witness accounts, is all true. But ever since I started blogging about the Sudan crisis on April 24, I've sought (unsuccessfully) to find the answer to one of my questions, namely: All during the past years of Peace Accord negotiations for the north and south of Sudan, why did the U.S. and Sudan see fit to exclude the western and eastern regions of Sudan?

Back in April I'd read somewhere that oil had been discovered in both Darfur and along the border of Sudan and Chad. Unfortunately I've misplaced the link to the report. In May I came across a report (see above) by Professor O'Fahey that provides a succinct overview of western Sudan's history. The report basically says the GoS supports the rape, mass killings and ethnic cleansing because it is determined to retain control over Darfur for a simple reason: a possible oil pipeline through Darfur. [Note Professor O'Fahey's report is copied in full in my next post, above]

Maybe the U.S. did not view Darfur as a big problem as they concentrated on brokering peace for the north-south: a lasting peace that would enable a seemingly united Sudan move forward and progress for the benefit of all regions. It would appear the U.S. does not have an interest in Sudan's oil, not because it is too expensive but because their main aim is to promote democracy and fight international terrorism (and respond to pressure from groups concerned with abuses of human rights).

Perhaps the GoS knew all along that there was oil in Darfur. And they presumed (wrongly) we in the Western world wouldn't notice that black Africans were being eliminated to make way for the Arabisation of Sudan. The GoS are keen on getting the Peace Accord signed and sealed because it will legitimise their standing (they're an unelected dictatorship that stole power through a coup) and it will help pave the way for doing deals with Asian oil companies, which may in turn help attract back the big players (ie British Petroleum) that pulled out of Sudan because of human rights issues.

See this July 1 report entitled "Sudan signed new pipeline deal with the Indian ONGC". It states "a new 741 kilometer-long pipeline with 12 inches in diameter is a real addition to exportation of oil products to international market". Also, it reports that India ONGC has another agreement - for establishing a third pipeline with 32 inches in diameter - that will be signed soon.

It'd be interesting to know the location of that third pipeline. And why the oil companies in Sudan are getting away with no media coverage on the Sudan crisis. Here below is a map of oil concessions in Sudan where one can see how closely the oil companies are situated to Darfur. I wonder why there is no news coming out of Sudan from them?

So little reporting comes out of Sudan. Most mainstream media reports I find are regurgitated snippets emanating from a few original sources, ie UN, US, EU press conferences, summits etc. I've read that the GoS goes to great pains to keep publicity reaching the residents of Khartoum, for fear it will cause an outcry. It'd be great to have more than a few bloggers in Khartoum to spread the word.

In a forthcoming post I list the aid contributions made by several countries. Note that France has contributed USD 12 million to the international aid effort in Darfur (through bilateral and EU channels). So far, UK has given USD 65 million. Italy USD 30 million. Since India has been striking such big deals with Sudan, it would be interesting to know how much aid they've contributed towards humanitarian assistance for Darfur - along with China and Malaysia - and any other country on the UN Security Council that is responsible for blocking sanctions - and military intervention - to put pressure on Khartoum to protect its people and aid workers in Sudan.
I've given this post a lot of thought and tried to put myself in the shoes of the rebels and those in power in Khartoum and South Sudan. What now? All out war? The Darfur rebels refuse talk peace. If I were in Khartoum I'd be battening down the hatches and getting prepared for a new attack by the rebels in areas other than Darfur where there are no peacekeepers.

I fear that the rebels, including those in Southern Sudan, are all part of the same group and strategy. As predicted long ago, it looks like Central Sudan is next. God help the children of Sudan.

Darfur Sunrise

Darfur Sunrise

When I despair, I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they can seem invincible but in the end they always fall. Think on it. ..always. - Mahatma Gandhi

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French President says if Sudanese President does not change his policy no one will talk to him any more

Reading between the lines of the following report, it seems there has been a break down in communication between the international community and Sudanese President Al-Bashir. French President Sarkozy is quoted as saying "The choice that President Bashir, the Sudanese president, must make is a choice he must make not in the coming weeks but in the coming days".

SUDAN'S BASHIR MUST CHANGE OR FACE TRIAL-FRANCE
PARIS, Dec 8 2008 (Reuters) - Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir must move quickly to bring peace to the Darfur region or face trial for genocide, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Monday. "His future is in his hands," Sarkozy said in a speech to mark the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

"Either he changes his attitude and the international community can talk to him, or he does not change his attitude and then he will face his responsibilities, notably before the International Criminal Court," Sarkozy said.

"The choice that President Bashir, the Sudanese president, must make is a choice he must make not in the coming weeks but in the coming days," he said.

Judges at the International Criminal Court in The Hague are considering a request by the ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo for a warrant to arrest Bashir for alleged crimes in Darfur.

Moreno-Ocampo has expressed concern that the United Nations Security Council, of which France is one of five permanent members, might hinder investigations.

Arab and African states have proposed invoking Article 16 of the ICC statute, which allows the Security Council to delay investigations for a year or more.

But Sarkozy said that Bashir was running out of options.

"If the Sudanese president does not change his policy, no one will talk to him any more," he said. (Writing by James Mackenzie)
Maybe we'll know what the above report is really about in the coming days.

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EUFOR Chad/CAR Mission: Russia sends helicopters, peacekeepers to Chad

Russia signed an agreement with the EU on November 05, 2008 on the deployment of a 200-strong peacekeeping contingent and four Mi-8MT helicopters in the Central African region for up to a year.

Russian transport planes have so far delivered over 200 tons of cargo, more than 80 personnel, five vehicles, and four helicopters as part of a Russian peacekeeping contingent in Chad.

In addition, Russia already has a helicopter support group deployed in neighboring Sudan. The unit comprising 120 personnel and four Mi-8 helicopters provides transport and rescue services for UN military observers in Sudan.

Don't miss previous post here at Sudan Watch today -

EUFOR Chad/CAR Mission: Russia airlifts 4 Mi-8 helicopters and 30 personnel to Chad to help EU:

Chad's relationship with JEM may be about to change.

Russia sends helicopters, peacekeepers to Chad

RUSSIA SENDS HELICOPTERS, PEACEKEEPERS TO CHAD
December 08, 2008 RIA Novosti report from Moscow:
A Russian An-124 Condor heavy transport plane has delivered four helicopters along with personnel to Chad to take part in an EU-led mission to support UN peacekeeping efforts in the country, an Air Force spokesman said on Monday.

Russia signed an agreement with the EU on November 5 on the deployment of a 200-strong peacekeeping contingent and four Mi-8MT helicopters in the Central African region for up to a year.

"The An-124 plane delivered four Mi-8MT helicopters and over 30 personnel, including helicopter crews and technicians, who will soon begin assembling the aircraft," Col. Vladimir Drik said.

According to Drik, the transport plane made an eight-hour non-stop flight from a military airfield in central Russia to the capital of Chad, Ndjamena, carrying over 40 tons of cargo.

Russian transport planes have so far delivered over 200 tons of cargo, more than 80 personnel, five vehicles, and four helicopters as part of a Russian peacekeeping contingent in Chad.

In addition, Russia already has a helicopter support group deployed in neighboring Sudan. The unit comprising 120 personnel and four Mi-8 helicopters provides transport and rescue services for UN military observers in Sudan.

The foreign ministers of the 27 EU-member states approved in April a plan to send a peacekeeping mission to Chad and the Central African Republic, through five years of clashes between Chadian rebels and government troops trying to oust President Idriss Deby, who seized power in 1990.

Over 700 people, including 400 civilians, were reported to have died in February this year following fighting triggered by a rebel assault on Ndjamena.

The EUFOR contingent, comprising 3,700 personnel from 14 EU countries, began a year-long UN humanitarian mission in March to help protect the civilian population and provide humanitarian aid in the country's troubled eastern region.

Chad gained independence from France in 1960. Since 2003, Chad and Sudan have accused each other of inciting conflict on their common border, which includes most of the troubled west Sudanese region of Darfur.

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EUFOR Chad/CAR Mission: Russia airlifts 4 Mi-8 helicopters and 30 personnel to Chad to help EU - Chad's relationship with JEM may be about to change

Darfur rebel group JEM leaders and fighters pass back and forth across the porous border between Darfur and Chad. Earlier this year, JEM fighters helped Chadian President Deby's forces repel a coup attempt. But now Chad's relationship with JEM may be about to change. Here's the story.

A possible detente between Chad and Sudan has implications for the conflict, writes Mary Fitzgerald,  Foreign Affairs Correspondent, in N'Djamena, November 27, 2008 for the Irish Times:
CHAD NO LONGER SO WELCOMING TO CROSS-BORDER DARFUR REBELS

THE REBELS are smartly dressed and blend in easily with the guests milling around the airy lobby of one of N'Djamena's more expensive hotels. Their eyes dart about but only to anticipate the next passerby who will stop and shake their hands - and there are many.

The two men are leading members of the Justice and Equality Movement or JEM, one of the rebel groups involved in years of fighting with government forces in neighbouring Darfur. The business card of the first, Ahmed Tugod Lissan, identifies him as JEM's chief negotiator.

The other, Bushara Suliman Nour, is JEM's secretary for foreign affairs. The two men, along with other JEM leaders and fighters, pass back and forth across the porous border between Darfur and Chad, the latter a place of sanctuary for the movement and its government a source of crucial support. That support works both ways. Earlier this year, when Chadian rebels opposed to the country's president Idriss Deby made an audacious swoop on N'Djamena, it was JEM fighters who helped Deby's forces repel the attack.

But there are signs that Chad's relationship with JEM may be about to change. The capital buzzes with rumours of a possible detente between Deby and his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir. Earlier this month the two countries restored diplomatic relations and Sudanese officials have claimed a meeting between the two heads of state is in the offing. Where that leaves JEM remains to be seen. But my run-in yesterday with Chadian police may provide some clues.

Minutes after I, along with a French journalist colleague, watched the JEM representatives walk away following our interview, two men approached. After identifying themselves as plainclothes police, they explained that their chief wanted to see us. At police headquarters my colleague, a TV reporter, had the tape of his interview confiscated.

Interviewing JEM figures would have been fine a month or so ago, the chief told us, but not now. "The situation has changed," he said gruffly, describing our two interviewees as "delinquents".

Led by the charismatic Khalil Ibrahim, known to his supporters as Dr Khalil, JEM is now acknowledged to be one of the leading rebel movements in Darfur, in part because other groups have been riven by infighting and factionalism.

The conflict in the northwestern Sudanese province broke out in earnest in 2003 when rebels took up arms against the government, accusing it of discrimination, marginalisation and neglect.

In response, Khartoum carried out bombing raids on Darfur and unleashed militias that laid waste its villages, plundering, raping and burning as they went. Five years later, it is estimated more than 300,000 people have died as a result of the conflict which has now broadened into inter-ethnic violence and prompted the deployment of an international peacekeeping force.

Tugod Lissan admits he never expected the government's response to be so ferocious. "What they have done is not simple war, it is crimes against humanity, genocide . . . and those who are responsible for these crimes should be held accountable by any means."

Earlier this month, al-Bashir declared a unilateral ceasefire and pledged to begin disarming militias, a move many believe was prompted by the pressure he feels since the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor announced moves to seek his arrest, accusing the Sudanese president of overseeing a campaign of genocide in Darfur.

Al-Bashir's promises carry little weight with JEM.

"We will not judge the government by what they say, rather by what they do and what they are doing on the ground is completely different from what they are saying," shrugs Tugod Lissan, claiming that government forces attacked rebel positions within days of the ceasefire.

A Qatari-sponsored initiative is the latest attempt to solve the Darfur conflict and JEM has said it is ready to participate in the proposed Doha conference or, as Tugod Lissan puts it, "talks about talks".

"If we are convinced that the government is genuine in wanting to solve the problem and bring peace to Darfur, we will respect the ceasefire . . . and then we will be ready for a constructive political dialogue to go into the root causes of the conflict," he says. "We believe that it is better for al-Bashir and his government to come clean, to sit and solve the crisis because we have the desire and the willingness to solve this problem by peaceful means, but at the same time we are ready for the other options."

Both he and Nour are frank about their ties with Deby. "The Sudan government believes the Darfur conflict cannot be solved if Deby remains in power so the battle of N'Djamena [in February] was also a battle of Darfur - that's the reason we came with our own forces to this city to defend Deby because we saw the Sudan government supporting, preparing and instructing the Chadian opposition . . . The game is obvious."

This article appeared in the print edition of the Irish Times.
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RUSSIA AIRLIFTS HELICOPTERS TO CHAD FOR EU PEACEKEEPING MISSION
December 08, 2008 Associated Press report:
The Russian military says it has airlifted helicopters and crews to Chad to join a European Union peacekeeping mission in the African nation.

Russian air force spokesman Col. Vladimir Drik says a military cargo plane delivered four Mi-8 helicopters and 30 crew members and support personnel to Chad on Monday.

He said the military will need to fly some additional personnel to Chad before the Russian helicopters start supporting the EU mission. Some 3,500 European troops have been deployed this year to help stabilize areas of eastern Chad and the Central African Republic bordering Sudan's troubled Darfur region.

The Kremlin authorized sending the helicopters earlier this year. The deployment marked the first direct Russian contribution to an EU military mission.
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RUSSIA 'READY TO HELP EU' IN CHAD
BBC report September 09, 2008 - excerpt:
Russia is preparing to provide four transport helicopters with crew to help the EU's peace mission in Chad - despite tensions over Georgia.

The EU force commander, General Patrick Nash, says talks about the Russian helicopters are "very advanced".

The operation - called Eufor Chad/CAR - has been hampered by a shortage of helicopters, needed to reach refugees scattered over a vast area of desert.
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Photo: Helicopters are needed for rapid reaction across huge distances (AFP/BBC)

See next post at Sudan Watch December 08, 2008:
EUFOR Chad/CAR Mission: Russia sends helicopters, peacekeepers to Chad

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sudan’s South Kordofan the next Darfur?

The Sudanese army says it has sent more troops to the sensitive oil-rich South Kordofan state.

The army told state media that it had information that a Darfur rebel group planned to attack the area.

The main party in the south says the military build-up is a violation of a 2005 peace deal that ended civil war.

There has been speculation in Khartoum for weeks that large numbers of Darfur rebels had crossed into Kordofan, followed by northern soldiers.

Sudan’s Southern Kordofan Problem: The Next Darfur?

Source: December 07, 2008 BBC report by Amber Henshaw in Khartoum: SUDAN BUILD-UP IN OIL-RICH STATE
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October 27, 2008 report by IRIN from Nairobi, Kenya:
SUDAN: RISING ANIMOSITY IN CENTRAL STATE COULD FUEL CONFLICT
A devastating conflict could erupt in the central Sudanese state of southern Kordofan unless long-standing grievances are urgently addressed, a think-tank has warned.

"The Khartoum government must rapidly address the worsening situation or face the prospect of a devastating new conflict," Fouad Hikmat, Horn of Africa project director for the International Crisis Group (ICG), said.

Southern Kordofan lies in the critical border area between the North and South and is occupied by Arab (mainly Misseriya and Hawazma) and African (mainly Nuba) groups that are deeply polarised along political and ethnic lines.

"There is animosity over resources, representation and interests," Hikmat said. "Local communities are frustrated with the NCP [National Congress Party] and the SPLM [Sudan People’s Liberation Movement] government." He was speaking at the launch of a report, Sudan’s Southern Kordofan Problem: The Next Darfur?

The NCP and the SPLM make up the Government of National Unity, formed after the 2005 signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). But the Nuba have no representation at the SPLM in Juba, the capital of Southern Sudan.

"They feel neglected," Hikmat added.

The Nuba are bitter because they believe their SPLM allies did not negotiate a better deal for them in the CPA. Instead, the SPLM gave priority to the oil-rich Abyei territory in the state, stated the ICG report. Another priority was the independence referendum due in 2011.

At least 5,000 of their troops are supposed to be demobilised but now do not want to give up their guns, Hikmat said. The Nuba constitute the biggest group in the SPLM after the Dinka, with about 10,000 troops.

Marginalisation

"The feeling of political marginalisation and lack of genuine representation has always been pervasive among Nuba communities," Sara Pantuliano, a research fellow with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), said in an analysis of the eastern sector of the state.  

"This feeling continues today among groups which supported the uprising [in the south] and is fuelled by a perception that the integration of the SPLM alongside the NCP in the state government, as envisaged by the CPA, is far from genuine," said Pantualiano.

Lack of progress on integration between the two parties until recently has fostered the progressive isolation of former SPLM areas that also lack infrastructural support, she said, adding that hard-line groups have been strengthening their control in these areas. More recently, the dismissal of the state minister of finance (SPLM) by the state government (NCP) has reignited animosities between the two parties.

The predominantly pastoralist Misseriya also feel their livelihoods are under threat, according to Hikmat.

During the war, militias comprising local Arab pastoralists fought for the government and were rewarded with arms, land and support for their livestock. "This support has reduced after the war," he said.

The region suffers a lack of basic services, acute underdevelopment, economic marginalisation and rampant poverty. Development projects have also stalled.

Hundreds of people have died in disputes over land and grazing rights - a situation exacerbated by the thousands of returnees. A land commission, proposed by the CPA, to investigate the problem of land ownership has still not been established.

Future of the CPA

"If this area slides into war then it could derail the whole CPA," Hikmat said. "If the parties fail to implement the protocol of the CPA it will be a challenge to the CPA itself as a framework. Then, if it fails here, can it solve Darfur, yet that is a bigger problem?"

According to Hikmat, major steps to address the situation have to be taken now. "This is because the rainy season has ended, and with it pastoralist migration from the North to the South through parts of the region, such as the Nuba Mountains and the oil-rich region of Abyei will start," he said.

The SPLM is adamant it will not allow arms into its territories. "Without action this could deteriorate into a dangerous situation," he warned.

"Tribal reconciliation based on negotiation of a common agenda, establishment of an efficient state government administration and adherence to the CPA's principles of power- and wealth-sharing has to be fostered," the ICG report recommends.

"The excruciatingly slow implementation of the [comprehensive peace] agreement has done little to build confidence in the prospect of durable peace in the region," Pantualiano said. aw/mw

Sudan’s Southern Kordofan Problem: The Next Darfur?

Photo: A returnee woman and her baby head back home to Southern Kordofan State from Khartoum: Hundreds of people have died in disputes over land and grazing rights - a situation exacerbated by the thousands of returnees. (John Nyaga/IRIN)
For reports on Abeyi, click on Abyei label here below.

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Dafur's ex-SLA leader Minni Arcua Minnawi, who became presidential adviser in Khartoum, calls on Sudan to co-operate with ICC

Here is another fishy story from France-based Sudan Tribune announcing that Dafur's head of the SLA, Minni Arcua Minnawi, who became presidential adviser in Khartoum, calls on Sudan to co-operate with ICC.

The whole article, copied here below, is based on a line or two of information from an interview with independent Darfur Radio Dabanga to be broadcasted next week. The interview had not even aired when the Sudan Tribune published quotes from it. Who knows if and when the interview ever took place. One wonders if the article was concocted and timed strategically for maximum impact and mischief.

Going by the archives here at Sudan Watch and recent articles published by Sudan Tribune, it seems clear (to me anyway) that the France based website masquerades as a new organisation in order to be used as a clearing house for rebel press releases and GoS opposition propaganda. [Also note Canada based New Sudan Vision - see Wikipedia]

How would the Darfur information war and its leaders have fared without the Sudan Tribune I wonder. To be fair, it is an excellent site that works very well, technically and layout wise, and its anonymous editors and plagiarisers work hard around the clock 24/7 to provide a great service to the rebels (and, inadvertently, to my great amusement might I add!) Hey you guys, don't forget: I'm watching you :-)

I hope those, Africans or Arabs or French or Germans or Dutch or Spanish or Chinese or Russian or whoever they all are, behind the Sudan Tribune have a sense of humour when and if any of them read this. Here is a copy of their latest fishy story.

December 04, 2008 article from Khartoum, Sudan published by Sudan Tribune December 05, 2008:
DARFUR'S MINNAWI CALLS ON SUDAN TO COOPERATE WITH ICC

Sudan’s senior presidential assistant Minni Arcua Minnawi urged the government to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) which has moved to indict president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir.

“Sudan as member of the UN should respect the ICC and defend its case at the ICC” Minnawi said in an interview with independent Darfur Radio Dabanga to be broadcasted next week.

“The law is above everyone. Anyone not respecting the law has to be punished” he added.

Minnawi’s statements come a day after the ICC prosecutor warned the UN Security Council that they must be prepared for prospects of an arrest warrant against Al-Bashir.

In mid-July the ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo announced that he is seeking an arrest warrant for Al-Bashir.

Ocampo filed 10 charges: three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of murder. In early October ICC judges have officially started reviewing the case in a process that could possibly drag on to next year.

Sudan refuses to recognize the court saying it did not ratify its founding treaty and vowed not to hand over any of citizens to be tried at The Hague based court.

But Minnawi said Khartoum must respect the ICC judicial process saying its legally obligated to do so since it is a UN member.

The former rebel leader has consistently called on Sudan to cooperate with the ICC despite being a member of the government.

Last year sources in the SLM faction told Sudan Tribune that Al-Bashir has privately urged Minnawi to support his rejection of the ICC as a member of the government, but the ex-rebel leader turned down his request.

In May 2006, the SLM signed the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) with the Sudanese government and its head Minnawi was appointed as the senior assistant of the Sudanese president in August.

But Minnawi have expressed frustration with implementation of the DPA saying the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) is deliberately stalling it.

UN experts estimate some 300,000 people have died and 2.5 million driven from their homes. Sudan blames the Western media for exaggerating the conflict and puts the death toll at 10,000. (ST)

Sudan’s senior presidential assistant Minni Arcua Minnawi

Photo: Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) leader Minni Minnawi speaks during a press conference in Khartoum (AFP) [Photo and caption source: Sudan Tribune 05 Dec 08]
Note the caption against the photo selected by Sudan Tribune, refers to Minni Arcua Minnawi as leader of Sudanese Liberation Movement (SLM), and not the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA). France-based Abdel-Wahid Al-Nur considers himself chairman of the SLM - or rather, should I say, SLM/A. For the purposes of unifomity at Sudan Watch, SLM leader is Nur, SLA leader is Minnawi. JEM leader is Ibrahim. As for the groups, SLA, SLM, SLM/A, SPLMA... it doesn't really matter what they call themselves or their 30 or more splinter groups, the easiest way to remember who is who, is to think of them all as part of the same group stemming from the SPLMA in Southern Sudan, then it's not so confusing trying to figure out what the rebels are all about and what they're after.

Here's another thing, why was the 20 or more years of war in southern Sudan with a death toll of two million classed as civil war when Darfur, according to the ICC's prosecutor is classed as genocide? I have a theory on the answer to that question, too long to go into here right now. Note to self for later date: look up Eric Reeves' Sudan writings prior to 2004.

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SLM Nur's rebels in Darfur's Kalma Camp dismiss peace talks and demand more UN security or assisted migration out of Sudan

According to France-based Sudan Tribune, the representatives of Darfur Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) on December 02, 2008 rejected an offer by the Deputy Joint Special Representative of the United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) to engage dialogue with the Sudanese government on security issues.

Reportedly, Hussein Abusharati the IDPs and refugees spokesperson told Sudan Tribune that they rejected the offer of the UNAMID because "They want to implement an agreement (Abuja deal) that we reject; also such issue should be debated with the SLM and its leader Abdel Wahid Al-Nur during the peace talks not with us," he underlined.

Apparently, the IDPs spokesperson added that UNAMID's Anyidoho and his delegation angered some of the IDPs chiefs when he called them to deal with the Sudanese security officials to resolve security issues and the individual compensation.

"The local chiefs rejected the call and reiterated their rejection the presence of the Sudanese government officials in the camps. They also stressed that such questions have to be discussed with Abdel Wahid (Al-Nur) once Khartoum implements conducive environment for the talks," Abusharati said.

He further said the IDPs chiefs urge the international community to respond positively to their demand for security" and added "If the UNAMID cannot provide such protection it would be better to transport us in refugee camps outside the country till the resolution of the conflict."


Henry Anyidoho at Kalma Camp

Photo: Henry Anyidoho, UNAMID Deputy Joint Special Representative, addressing the IDPs Sheikhs at Kalma Camp, Darfur, W. Sudan 02 December, 2008 (Photo UNAMID)

Source: December 03, 2008 article from Nyala, Darfur published at Sudan Tribune December 04, 2008 - copy in full:
DARFUR DISPLACED REJECT UNAMID CALL TO DIALOGUE WITH SUDAN GOVERNMENT

The representatives of Darfur Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) yesterday rejected a call by the deputy head of the hybrid mission to engage dialogue with the Sudanese government on security issues.

In its efforts to bridge the differences between the Sudanese authorities and the IDPs in the war-torn region of Darfur, the African Union-UN peacekeeping mission on security issues the Deputy Joint Special Representative, Henry Anyidoho held on Tuesday a meeting with local chiefs at Kalma camp, near Nyala, the capital of South Darfur State.

Anyidoho invited the IDPs representatives to "begin discussions with the Government to look into different issues of concern and establish a mechanism to address these issues jointly," the UNAMID said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

The deputy head of the hybrid mission said that UNAMID is working with the Government and the humanitarian community to provide a secure environment so that the IDPs could return to their place of origin.

"While these efforts are underway, the Mission will continue to assist the IDPs in every possible way in line with our mandate and the resources available," he said. However, he also underscored that UNAMID would not replace the role of the Government in this matter of security.

The UN resolution 1769 provides that the protection of civilians is the responsibility of the Sudanese government. The hybrid peacekeeping mission can only intervene to prevent attacks against them if only the civilians are under "imminent threat of physical violence".

Hussein Abusharati the IDPs and refugees spokesperson told Sudan Tribune that they rejected the offer of the UNAMID because "They want to implement an agreement (Abuja deal) that we reject; also such issue should be debated with the SLM and its leader Abdel Wahid Al-Nur during the peace talks not with us," he underlined.

The IDPs spokesperson added that Anyidoho and his delegation angered some of the IDPs chiefs when he called them to deal with the Sudanese security officials to resolve security issues and the individual compensation.

"The local chiefs rejected the call and reiterated their rejection the presence of the Sudanese government officials in the camps. They also stressed that such questions have to be discussed with Abdel Wahid (Al-Nur) once Khartoum implements conducive environment for the talks," Abusharati said.

He further said the IDPs chiefs urge the international community to respond positively to their demand for security" and added "If the UNAMID cannot provide such protection it would be better to transport us in refugee camps outside the country till the resolution of the conflict."

Speaking to the reporters today following a briefing by the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to UN Security Council the Ambassador of Costa Rica hinted that the UN should do more to protect the civilians in Darfur.

"It is the view of my government that we are very close to a case of responsibility to protect, as it was established in the outcome document from the summit of 2005. We have a government who is not willing to or cannot protect its population from genocide, from war crimes, from ethnic cleansing and those are exactly the premises for the responsibility to protect."

"We believe that in the near future the council will have the obligation to take a closer look at the situation in Sudan and probably to look in the many tools that the council has to push the compliance with the decisions of the court," he highlighted.

On August 25, the Sudanese forces killed 32 residents and over 100 injured at Kalma during an attempt to enter the camp. Since the hybrid mission established a 24/7 presence around the camp.

Following the escalation of violence in Darfur five years since the emergence of the rebellion in the region, the United Nations revised its estimations of civilians killed to 300,000 people, it also says that around 2.7 million have been driven from their home. (ST)

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Paris-based Darfur war leader Abdel-Wahid Al-Nur tells France-based Sudan Tribune that Sudanese are facing genocide on a daily basis

According to the following article at France-based Sudan Tribune today, Darfur rebel group SLM leader Abdel Wahid Al-Nur spoke to Sudan Tribune urging the UN to assume its reponsibility for protecting people who are facing genocide on a daily basis. Note, Mr Al-Nur is safely based in self imposed exile in Paris, France while aid workers continue to be attacked and peacekeepers are slain by rebels.

Here is a copy of the December 06, 2008 article from El-Fasher, Darfur published at Sudan Tribune December 07 2008. As noted here at Sudan Watch in a previous post [Dec. 3, 08 France based Darfur war leader Abdel-Wahid Al-Nur dismisses all peace initiatives and proposes none] the town of Zanlingei is Mr Al-Nur's birthplace.
SUDAN MILITIAMEN KILL LOCAL CHIEF IN DARFUR CAMP - REBELS
The government backed janjaweed militia killed a local chief at Hassa Hissa camp, near Zanlingei in West Darfur state where a militiaman dead last week following a quarrel with residents from the camps.

Musa Abakr Posh was killed on Saturday in his house inside the camp, his son Al-Fadil told Sudan Tribune. He further said they had fears for the safety of his father because he was targeted by the pro-government militia.

Last Monday a janjaweed died at Zalingei Hosptal after a dispute with some residents of Hassa Hissa camp. The UNAMID said he had tried to take a water pump However, IDPs spokesperson said the militiaman tried to rape a woman.

On Tuesday and as result of yesterday’s death around 30 militiamen, seeking revenge, marched towards the camp shooting in the air sporadically. Yet the Janjaweed destroyed five water pumps supplying the camp.

Abdel Wahid Al-Nur, the SLM leader speaking to Sudan Tribune, urged the international community to provide protection to the IDPs saying that the United Nations gas to assume it responsibility to protect people who are facing genocide on daily basis.

He said the local chief devoted his live to serve the rights and interest of Darfur people since the inception of the conflict in 2003. he added the killing of Posh, proves to the international community that Khartoum is not serious about the unilateral ceasefire announced on November 12.

The mandate of the current peacekeeping mission allows the hybrid forces to intervene to protect civilians only when there is imminent threat in the areas where they are deployed. Also the lack of troops and capability hinder the work if the peacekeeping mission. (ST)

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Photo: A rebel member of SLA (Source: Sudan Tribune 07 Dec 08)
See Sudan Watch December 03, 2008: France based Darfur war leader Abdel-Wahid Al-Nur dismisses all peace initiatives and proposes none.

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