Sunday, October 02, 2005

Sudan's Janjaweed leader Musa Hilal led attack on Darfur

On Mar 30, 2005 the UN passed Resolution 1591 on Sudan which, among other things, demanded that the Government of Sudan immediately cease conducting offensive military flights in the region.

The African Union's Oct 1 statement on security in Darfur, reveals Sudanese forces deployed helicopter gunships in Darfur as recently as Sep 28.

A report at Bloomberg by Karl Maier in Khartoum Oct 1 2005 details what African Union Ambassador Kingibe told reporters yesterday about the Sep 28 attack on Aro Sharow camp in Darfur. Excerpt:
"In recent days, the government's deployment of helicopter gunships overhead while the Janjaweed forces attacked villagers suggests cooperation with the militia, Kingibe said.

"This apparent land and air assault gives credence to the repeated claim by the rebel movements of collusion between the GoS forces and the Janjaweed/Arab militia,'' he said."
And, according to this extract from Bloomberg's report, if true, explains the reason for the attack:
"There are reports that the leader of Janjaweed, Musa Hilal, led the attack on Aro Sharow, Kingibe said.

One of Musa Hilal's sons was reportedly killed in a Sept. 19 attack by Darfur's biggest rebel movement, the SLA, on the government-held garrison town of Sheiria, Kingibe said, while another was abducted."
The report goes on to quote Kingibe as saying:
"If the government claims its latest attacks are in retaliation for the Sheiria assault, "this cannot be justified given the deliberately calculated and wanton destruction wrecked by the disproportionate use of force on innocent civilians and IDPs in their camps.''
See full report.

Impose a no-fly zone over Darfur?

The number of AU peacekeepers for Darfur is scheduled to increase from 5,600 to 7,000 this year, and to 12,000 by next year, aside from the 10,000 strong UN peacekeepers expected for South Sudan. Since NATO is now providing logistical support to the African Union's mission in Darfur, one of the actions that could be taken at the AU's Security Council meeting Oct 3, or the UN Security Council at its next meeting, is to impose a no-fly zone on the region.

But don't hold your breath. Even after UN Resolution 1591 last March, air attacks in Darfur happened again. The Scotsman notes the AU has photographic evidence of those attacks, and reports Khartoum's excuse 31 May 2005:
Najib Abdulwahab, the then Sudanese government's minister of state for foreign affairs, denied AU reports that helicopters were attacking the town, claiming instead that they were fighting off an insurgent offensive. "What the government is doing in these areas is actually within its sovereign rights," he said at the time.
Further reading:

2 Oct 2005 - Prof Eric Reeves points out the above Bloomberg report in his latest analysis. [Thanks to Eric JM at Passion of the Present for above links]

2 Oct 2005 - Mail & Guardian report by Associated Press Writer Ibrahim Ali Suleiman in Khartoum says Sudanese government and Janjaweed accused of combined attacks.

2 Oct 2005 - Tehran Watch links to report: Iran to construct $16 million water treatment plant in Sudan - Bashir considered these projects of paramount importance for developing Sudan's infrastructure and conveyed his country's interest in expanding economic ties with Iran.

16 Aug 205 - Sudan Watch notes on Janjaweed and Abyei Boundary Commission Report.
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You will be hunted, attackers warned after Darfur atrocity

Radio Australia Oct 2 summarises the latest news on Darfur by saying UN says war crime prosecutions imminent in Darfur - the United Nations has warned that war crimes prosecutions may be imminent, amid renewed fighting in Darfur.

Canada's Montreal Gazette features an Associated Press report Oct 2 that says the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said it sent a team to the Aro Sharow camp that had discovered more details about Wednesday's attack by a large group of armed men riding horses and camels:
The UNHCR team reported that many of the camp's 4,000 to 5,000 residents had returned from surrounding areas "where they initially fled as the horsemen swooped into the camp, killing residents and burning down their makeshift shelters," the agency said.

The survivors said the attackers included up to 300 Arab men.

The 34 people killed in the attack were men. Half had been living at the camp and half in nearby villages, UNHCR said. One of the victims appeared to have had his arms bound before being killed and witnesses reported that he was tied up and dragged behind a horse until he died, the agency said.

Photo: Janjaweed fighters ride their horses in western Darfur [Courtesy Middle East Online report April 1, 2005: UN approves ICC war crimes trials on Darfur - Security Council's move clear way to ICC to prosecute those responsible for atrocities in Darfur.

What some bloggers are saying

Oct 2 Australian blogger Pip Wilson expresses anger at army over violence in Darfur in his category amusingly entitled 'Boys with Toys Watch'.

Oct 2 netwmd says Sudan's Arab/Muslim Militias at it Again.

Oct 2 Chuck Currie's Darfur Update has a message from Church World Service: On October 6, the CWS-supported Dear Sudan campaign is supporting in an International Solidarity Fast for Darfur.

Oct 2 Crooked in Canada hopes the Canadian government has taken notice of the African Union's accusation that Sudanese government forces are supporting Arab militiamen who are targeting civilians in Darfur.

Oct 1 Princeton Progressive Nation writes on how not to demonstrate and says protests should convey a particular message to those who watch them and shouldn't consist simply of a mass that shouts slogans which are both various and superficial.

Oct 1 News with a Feeling in Baltimore says "oh good, now the african union has joined the chorus of tsk-tsking and finger wagging over the genocide going on in darfur. i'm sure the refugees are so grateful." -- if you want to help, check out the Genocide Intervention Fund

[Note, I am here in the UK and tried to donate to GIF but it looks like you need to be resident in USA or Canada]


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