Friday, April 08, 2005

Sudanese officials deliberately delay allocation of land for AU troops' accommodation

After moaning in earlier posts here about there being no explanation for the delay in the completed deployment of the long awaited 1,000 African Union troops, lo and behold a report appears today at the UN News Centre, throwing some light on the accommodation hold ups for African Union troops in Darfur.

A UN News Centre report April 8 says UN and AU reps today condemned a "senseless and pre-meditated savage attack" Thursday on a town in Darfur by more than 350 armed militia while the Government dragged its heels in designating land for the AU monitoring force meant to deter such incidents. The report says:

Having learnt "with utter shock and disbelief" of the relentless daylong attack on Khor Abeche by armed militia of the Miseriyya tribe of Niteaga, "we condemn this senseless and pre-meditated savage attack," Jan Pronk, the Special Representative of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and AU Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe said in a joint statement.

Nasir Al Tijani Adel Kaadir was identified as having commanded the initial force of over 200 on horses and camels and they were later reinforced by a further 150, also from Niteaga, they said in a statement.

His name and those of his collaborators would be sent to the UN Security Council sanctions committee to be brought to justice and they expected the Sudanese Government to take appropriate action, the two said.

The attackers "rampaged through the village, killing, burning and destroying everything in their paths and leaving in their wake total destruction with only the mosque and the school spared," their statement said.

"This attack, the savagery of which has not been seen since the sacking of Hamada in January 2005, was apparently in retaliation for the alleged theft of 150 cattle whose tracks were supposedly traced to Khor Abeche village," Mr. Pronk and Mr. Kingibe said.

They noted that since 3 April the AU had prepared to deploy troops in Niteaga and Khor Abeche to deter precisely this kind of attack, "but was prevented from acting by what can only be inferred as deliberate official procrastination over the allocation of land for the troops' accommodation."

[It's difficult to understand why the Governor of Darfur and Khartoum regime are not being loudly condemned and penalised by the African Union for thwarting troops while, at the same time, refusing to provide adequate policing and security and not arresting those committing such savage attacks. Why should African Union troops need to wait for designated land permission from Sudanese officials? It does not make sense.]

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