Thursday, April 14, 2005

Tanzania tells Sudan to act on Darfur militia - Kadhafi, Obasanjo discuss Darfur

A BBC news report April 12 says the Government of Sudan is being blamed for taking its time in giving permission to the African Union's Security Council to deploy peacekeepers to the area of the recent Janjaweed raid in south Darfur, in spite of the African Union wanting to do so. But as usual, there is no explanation why the AU needs permission from Khartoum for existing peacekeepers to access certain areas of Darfur - their deployment was negotiated and agreed by all concerned several months ago.

Here is a copy of the news report in full - material provided by the BBC Monitoring Service - via Sudan Tribune [Please note, Khor Abeche is in the region of South Darfur]:
"Tanzanian government is shocked that Sudan has been unable to take action against militia who attacked Khor Abeche village, in western Darfur, killing several people and injuring many, the official Radio Tanzania reported today.

According to a report by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Tanzania is saddened that the Sudanese government has been unable to take any action against the 350 militiamen who attacked the village and killed innocent civilians.

The government of Sudan is also being blamed for taking its time in giving permission to the AU Peace and Security Council to deploy peacekeepers to the area, in spite of the AU wanting to do so.

The statement said Sudan has failed to implement the UN Security Council resolution which stipulates that those involved in killing people, breaking international humanitarian laws and impeding the peace process in Darfur be brought before the International Criminal Court to answers charges against them."
Sudanese army soldiers
Photo: Sudanese army soldiers patrol on camels outside the Mornay camp in western Darfur, Sudan. (AFP).
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Kadhafi, Obasanjo discuss Darfur

A news report at Sudan Tribune April 12 says Libya'a leader talked about Darfur on the phone Tuesday to the African Union's President Obasanjo who is also president of Nigeria. But there is no more news about the reason for the long delay in the 1,000 AU troops promised for Darfur. Charles Snyder, U.S. negotiator for Sudan, said in a recent interview:
"There have been these persistent reports that the logistics was not ready for the troops, but that hasn't been the case for several months. Nobody that wants to be on the ground is not on the ground.
Also, there is still no news on what has happened to Libyan leader Col Kadhafi's offer last year of a route through Libya being opened for trucks to transport aid into Darfur. American academic and Sudan expert Eric Reeves, in his latest analysis The Destruction of Khor Abeche, South Darfur, April 7, 2005 writes:
"The total population in Chad in need of humanitarian assistance could reach to 500,000: 200,000 current Darfuri refugees; 150,000 local Chadians who have been overwhelmed by the presence of such a large refugee population in the impoverished border region; and another 150,000 Darfuris who may flee to Chad because of ongoing violence in Darfur, again of the sort witnessed in Khor Abeche.

This part of Chad is inaccessible from N'Djamena to the west during the rainy season, and the alternative supply route (overland from Libya) cannot possibly supply even the current refugee population. Extremely expensive airlifting of food will be the only alternative, and there is no such airlift capacity in the Darfur humanitarian theater. This is an extremely vulnerable refugee population."
Gadhafi and Obasanjo
Photo: Libyan leader Mouammar Kadhafi and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo during Darfur summit in Tripoli last year. (AP)
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Hundreds of Sudanese students protest France's backing of UN resolution

Hundreds of students staged a sit-in outside the French Embassy on Wednesday, protesting France's support for a U.N. resolution demanding international trials of war crime suspects in Sudan's Darfur conflict.

Full Story by Mohamed Osman (AP) April 13, 2005.

Sudanese riot police
Photo: Sudanese riot police stand guard outside the French Embassy during a student's protest in Sudan's capital Khartoum, April 13, 2005. (Reuters).
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India announces aid for Sudan

On April 13 India announced a contribution of 10 million USD for phase one of Sudan's reconstruction besides concessional credit lines worth 100 million USD. This will be in addition to the bilateral assistance under the South-South Technical Assistance Programme.
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Interview with Caesar Mazzolari, bishop of Rumbek, south Sudan

A few weeks ago, after googling around to find out what the church and religious leaders in Sudan were doing, I started drafting a post on the Bishop of Khartoum, trying to make sense of what religious leaders - including the Muslim clerics - were saying about the situation in Sudan.

So yesterday morning, it was interesting to see, after billions of dollars were promised to Sudan, the Bishop of Rumbek, south Sudan, popping up in mainstream media.

Bishop Caesar Mazzolari of the diocese of Rumbek, south Sudan's designated capital, has been involved in pastoral and humanitarian work in the area for many years. In an interview in Gordhim, a town northwest of Rumbek, south Sudan, on 8 April, he told IRIN that the region was not yet ready to receive the returnees. He also said that southern Sudan needed as much help as [the western region of] Darfur, and appealed to Sudanese intellectuals to return from abroad.

Click here for excerpts of that interview and note the lack of dialogue between Sudan's leadership and the people. It seems there is a total lack of leadership from all sides [including the church]. What are the Muslim clerics saying? I've not found anything yet. But I have read some of what the Christian leaders in Sudan have been saying over the past five years. More later.

Caesar Mazzolari, Bishop of Rumbek, south Sudan
Photo (IRIN) Caesar Mazzolari, Bishop of Rumbek says:

"The infrastructure in southern Sudan does not exist. Miles and miles of roads have been abandoned all through the years, which is over 22 years. No wells have been dug, and those which existed were not maintained.

Education does not exist. Only 3 percent of women are literate in the south, and only 16 percent to 17 percent of men. The only real education structures that do exist are the ones provided by the church. There is not enough medicine.

The promotion of the peace project signed January 9, 2005, has not taken place. Plenty of pieces of paper on the situation abound but no structures or programmes for bringing the labour force to work in the field. This peace has to be accompanied by action sustained with both human and material resources to develop health centres, water sources [and] schools, but also to support those who will teach [and] those who will work in the hospitals.

South Sudan needs "the human resources of people who will come and say: 'We will stay for maybe six months or a year', to train our teachers, to help us develop the schools, to train our nurses. We need people who will come to train administrators for both health and education projects, so that our donors will know that we are accountable, because the moment we are not accountable the whole thing stops. We are just now scratching the surface, and our people are a bit disenchanted [and ask themselves] 'What are our leaders doing, and what are we to do?'

The other thing that militates against peace is the fact that disarmament is not taking place. Many commanders are still acting out of the power of the gun - they prevail over tribunals, they prevail over justice cases.

[There also a need for] the proclamation of a very clear law that governs civil society, and the training of a civil police force. We [should] put all the soldiers, all the commanders and all the military who are not supposed to be around away - which is in the plan but is not being done."

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