SUDAN WATCH: Minni Arko Minnawi says if refugees and IDPs are not repatriated to Darfur, W. Sudan, elections may not be conducted successfully in the region

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Minni Arko Minnawi says if refugees and IDPs are not repatriated to Darfur, W. Sudan, elections may not be conducted successfully in the region

Note that the figure for the population of Darfur, as used by USAID in 2004, is approximately 6.5 million. Regarding the following report from Sudan Radio Service, I wonder how Mr Minnawi arrived at the figure of 3 million refugees and IDPS being three-quarters of Darfur. Also, I wonder why three million people want, or are being encouraged, to return to dusty dry deserts of Darfur where, according to Julie Flint's latest commentary at Making Sense of Darfur, reports of oil are exaggerated.  What is so great about Darfur, and what future does it hold for its people, I wonder.  See photos here below and note the one from MSF about disappearing trees and firewood.

Is the Darfur bloodshed genocide? Opinions differ

Photo (by Lynsey Addario/For The Times): Muhajeria, in south Darfur, was razed in internecine rebel rivalry, one example of the complexities in the region. Critics of the genocide label says it inflames the situation and that the Khartoum government’s counterinsurgency, though brutal, didn’t intend to wipe out the Darfur tribes, but subdue them. Source: Los Angeles Times - Is the Darfur bloodshed genocide? Opinions differ - by Edmund Sanders, 04 May 2009.

From Sudan Radio Service, Friday 07 August 2009:
Minawi Warns that Darfur May Compromise Elections
(Khartoum) – Senior Presidential Assistant, Mini Arko Minawi says the Darfur problem remains a major obstacle that may compromise elections which are scheduled for April next year.

Addressing a forum on current political developments in the country organized by the Sudan Liberation Movement at Omdurman Ahlia University on Thursday, Minawi said if refugees and internally displaced persons are not repatriated to Darfur, elections may not be conducted successfully in the region.

[Mini Minawi]: “If you count the number of refugees and IDPs it will come to something like 3 million people and this means something like three-quarters of Darfur are refugees and as such, this problem must be solved. Political problems in Darfur should be solved and after that people should embark on solving the refugees and IDPs’ problems. There is a need to support the return exercise so that people return and settle. If people don’t give antibiotics by now, the infection will swell up and it may claim people’s lives”.

Minawi who is also the Chairman of SLM, cautioned that if the Abyei boundary is not peacefully implemented, problems will still arise between southern Sudan and northern Sudan that may consequently impact on the elections.

[Mini Minawi]: “As we said, there is an infection. The Abyei boundary was drawn by GPS but it was not clearly stated that the northern border of Abyei was like this and that, it passes through this point and that point and it was not drawn and people are still haggling about it over cups of tea, now that there is the issue of the oilfield at Heglig. All these issues will be solved by practical demarcation of the boundary on the ground. If the committee smoothly draws the Abyei boundary on the ground and there is no problem, for sure this is finished and we can say the problem of southern Sudan is over and it only remains for us to wait for the referendum so that the people of southern Sudan choose unity or go. But if there is any disagreement over the drawing of the boundary, there will still be a problem regarding southern Sudan’s fate and for sure this is going to be one of the sensitive threats that will impede the holding of elections in Sudan."

That was the Senior Presidential Assistant and SLM Chairman, Mini Arko Minawi addressing a political rally at Omdurman Ahlia University in Khartoum on Thursday [06 August 2009].
AMIS outpost in Darfur

Photo/caption via Soldier of Africa: An AMIS outpost in Darfur. There are more than 25 of these bases scattered over 8 sectors. [Photo taken in 2006. From Sudan Watch archives 01 March 2007]

AU soldier on patrol in North Darfur, W Sudan

Photo: An African Union peacekeeper patrols Shok Shok village after an attack by a rebel faction in Sudan's northern Darfur province, May 14, 2006. A rebel leader from Sudan's Darfur region has rebuffed the latest proposals from African Union (AU) mediators for him to join a peace deal despite intense pressure by diplomats desperate to gain wider support for the accord. (Reuters/Candace Feit/Sudan Watch archives)

JEM rebel in N Darfur 2004

Photo: A rebel of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) is seen in the northern part of the Darfur region in July 2004. (AFP July 29, 2006/Desirey Minkoh/Sudan Watch archives)

Abu Shouk Camp N Darfur

Photo: Displaced Sudanese women queue at a water point 21 May 2006 in Abu Shouk camp, close to Al-Fasher, the capital of the war-torn Sudanese northern Darfur region. (AFP/File/Ramzi Haidar)

Donkey carcass in Darfur, Sudan

Photo: Donkey Carcass near Geneina [the capital of West Darfur state in Sudan]. Donkeys are essential to the livelihoods of the people of Darfur. Many donkeys are dying due to lack of fodder or abandonment during civilians' flight to safety. (Photo and caption courtesy USAID Photo Gallery/From Sudan Watch archives 2006)

Nyala, Kalma camp, South Darfur - March 2007

Photo and caption from MSF: Nyala, Kalma camp, South Darfur - March 2007. Trees are not safe around one of the world’s biggest IDP (internal displaced people) camps in South Darfur. People cut the last remaining trees to be used as fire wood for cooking and, as a result, the environment surrounding the IDP camps is changing rapidly. People cannot travel far to collect wood or food for their animals due to insecurity in the deserted areas around the main towns and refugee camps. Photo by Sven Torfinn/MSF Photo Blog



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