Sunday, December 31, 2006

UN report recommends robust monitoring and protection mission to E Chad & NE CAR

Dec 30 2006 news report by Mark Turner, entitled UN snubs calls to shield refugees, tells us:
The United Nations peacekeeping department has rebuffed calls by the Security Council for a force to protect refugees in Chad and shore up its border with Sudan, warning that any UN presence there would face big risks.

In a report seen by the FT but not yet officially re-leased, the UN says: "Conditions for an effective UN peacekeeping operation do not seem to be in place at this time."

"Should the Security Council decide to pursue the idea of establishing a UN presence in eastern Chad and north-eastern CAR . . . it should consider authorising the deployment of a robust monitoring and protection mission," it said.
[hat tip CFD and POTP]

George Clooney, Don Cheadle, Joey Cheek and Tegla Loroupe report on their visits to China and Egypt

Excerpt from an email I've received from a British blogger (who keeps well up to date with news)
"I'm with Sudan Watch and it is entirely in China's power to influence the situation just by witholding the enormous monies it is distributing around the continent.

Darfur is a world issue mixed up - sadly - with the usual national/commercial interests, and was about time it was pushed up the agenda."
I wonder what it would take for bloggers to get Darfur up on the agenda of China and its bloggers. American bloggers Ethan and Rebecca (founders of Global Voices) keep the blogosphere up to date with China's policing of the Internet - it's a complex subject. (See Blogs and China correspondence - survey results)

I don't know if this blog can be read in China. It contains words such as "human rights" that might block readers in China. The sites stats show visitors from all over the world but rarely China.

George Clooney, Don Cheadle, Joey Cheek, Tegla Loroupe

Actors George Clooney (2nd R) and Don Cheadle (R), along with athletes Joey Cheek (L) and Tegla Loroupe, report on their recent trips to China and Egypt requesting assistance for the situation in Darfur, at the U.N. in New York December 15, 2006. REUTERS/Chip East (UNITED STATES)

Dec 14 2006 Xinhua report (via Peace Journalism) - Oscar-winning actor George Clooney visited China from Dec. 10 to 12, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang confirmed on Thursday.

PS If you are in China and can read this blog, please let me know - thanks!

Start a meme to push China to save Darfur.

China sells fighter jets to Sudanese army

Photo: Shenyang fighter. Dec 9 2005 ST - China sells fighter jets to Sudanese army

Sudan's Janjaweed report to no one?

Reuters report via ST 31 Dec 1006 - excerpt:
"The situation here remains like a tinderbox," said one aid worker who witnessed clashes in December in el-Fasher town before evacuated.

The Janjaweed "report to no one," the aid worker in el-Fasher said, adding "there is a huge amount of tension between the Janjaweed, the government of Sudan and the police."
Note, Sudan Watch archives tell us Janjaweed leader Musa Hilal says Sudanese government call to arms is carried out through tribal leaders.

SLA ceasefire agreement negotiated by AU's Aprezi on Friday

Dec 31 2006 Aljazeera report AU accuses Sudan of Darfur raid:
Sudan's air force has carried out new bombing raids against two rebel areas of Darfur province, the African Union says.

The fresh attacks on Saturday threatened to de-rail a peace deal between Sudan and the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), the main rebel group, the AU said in a statement on Sunday.

The bombings came just a day after African Union (AU) officials visited the area on Friday to secure their commitment to a ceasefire, Luke Aprezi, commander of a 7,000 strong AU force in Darfur said.

One rebel group confirmed the attack, but did not say much damage had been caused.

"For the first time, I visited them [rebels] in the field in Um Rai [North Darfur] ... and I was able to get a ceasefire commitment from them," Aprezi said.

"Unfortunately [Sudan's army] went and bombed the area and it looks like I led them to the area to get bombed."

The meeting was held on Friday and he notified the government of it, he said.

Aprezi's AU force, hampered by lack of equipment and funds, has struggled to stem the violence in remote western Sudan.

A government army spokesman said there was no confirmation of this in Khartoum.

"Darfur commanders cannot undertake bombing operations without the knowledge of central command in Khartoum," the spokesman told Reuters news agency.

"But we in central command are completely committed to the ceasefire."

Following the new bombings, it was unclear if rebel groups would honour the ceasefire negotiated by Aprezi on Friday.

Sudan's Taha urges Darfur rebels to join DPA

Taha said the occasion comes, at a time when the country is observing several celebrations such as the independence and peace days, for Darfur holdout groups to joint Darfur Peace Agreement. - ST


Amnesty International, with the support of The Observer UK newspaper, has launched a campaign to show that online or offline the human voice and human rights are impossible to repress.


To find out more about this campaign, visit

Sending Sudan 100 million origami 'peace bombs' (in my dreams)

New Year's Eve pipedream: drinking water and education for everyone, gainful employment for all bandits and unemployed youth.

One of my favourite news stories from Sudan Watch archives, dated 5 Dec 2004:
The Thai government has dropped an estimated one hundred million paper origami birds in an unusual peace bid.

The birds were dropped by military planes over the country's Muslim south after a surge of violence in the area.

Origami peace bombs

School children spread out nets to catch the falling paper birds.

Full story BBC News, Bangkok 5 Dec 2004

AU Statement: GoS Antonov bombed Anka and Um Rai, in N Darfur

Text of African Union Statement (via ST 31 Dec 2006):

At Approximately 15.00 hours yesterday, Friday 29 December 2006, the Chairman of the Ceasefire Commission, Major General Luke Aprez,i was informed that Gos Antonov was bombing two locations, Anka and Um Rai, in North Darfur.

These localities are the places where he held a meeting with the SLA-NSF Commanders on Wednesday and obtained their commitment to a Ceasefire.

This attack by GoS is a seriously disturbing development, especially given that the GoS Representatives at the level of Darfur and Khartoum gave their consent to this meeting, and assured AMIS Leadership, not to attack unless attacked. It also has the potential to derail the current efforts to broaden the support base for the DPA process and make it more inclusive.

Consequently, the Chairman of the CFC calls on the GoS to desist from further bombardment as not to scuttle the fragile ceasefire.

Khartoum, December 30, 2006
Note the report does not clarify whether Sudanese forces were provoked to attack. As I recall, somewhere here in the archives of Sudan Watch are news reports over past two years quoting GoS promise not to fly its bombers over Darfur. [Update: I've found a link - On February 5, 2005 the Sudanese government said it would remove all its Antonov planes and would not use them at all in Darfur, where it had been accused of using the aircraft to bomb villages.

Air bombing of Darfur

Also note Aug 1 2006 UN News Centre - SAF Antonov bombing of Hassan village, Kulkul, N Darfur: Ceasefire Commission probing violation of Security Council Resolution 1591 (2005)

TEXT-letter from Sudan's Bashir to UN's Annan re Darfur hybrid force

Dec 23 2006 TEXT-letter of Sudan's President to UN SG on Darfur hybrid force - via ST Dec 31 2006.

Internet auction raises double its target to help UN feed hungry children

Via UN News - Internet auction raises double its target to help UN feed hungry children:
The popular blog for international 'foodies' (, founded by Thai-born Pim Techamuanvivit, ran the two-week online auction in the lead-up to the holiday season with the goal of raising $25,000 for UN World Food Programme (WFP).

By the time the auction ended just before Christmas, Ms. Pim had raised $58,000, providing an early seasonal gift for hungry children living in places like Darfur, Niger or Bangladesh.
Great work, well done!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Interview: SUDO's Adeeb Yousif

Dec 28 2006 VOICES ON GENOCIDE PREVENTION Interview - excerpt:
Human rights advocate for Sudan Social Development Organization (SUDO), Adeeb Yousif, speaks with Bridget-Conley-Zilkic about his work in Darfur, the changes that have taken place since he began working with SUDO, and what he believes are the next steps toward peace. He specifically focuses on uniting the rebel groups to find a lasting political solution to the conflict.

SADDAM EXECUTED - How should we react?

I've spent the past two hours watching BBC tv news, live from Iraq. Saddam Hussein's execution for crimes against humanity took place around 6am Iraq time (3am GMT) today. Can't watch anymore, feeling sickened. I agree with David's blog entry SADDAM EXECUTED - How should we react? and would much rather have seen Saddam Hussein serve the rest of his life in prison.

David is a British blogger and Conservative living in Glasgow, Scotland, UK.
- - -

See today's Sudan Tribune article: Sudanese government condemns Saddam execution.

Dec 30 2006 GV - The Iranian Blogestan on Saddam Hussein's death

Dec 30 2006 GV - Saddam at the Iraqi Blogodrome...


Cartoon by Latuff, via Global Voices

Dec 30 2006 Lord of the Blog, The Weblog of Lord Soley of Hammersmith: Saddam Hussein: We have many such breeding grounds for people like Saddam in the world today and still no effective way of dealing with them.

Dec 30 2006 Mashable - Saddam's Execution Video Makes it to Google Video, YouTube, Revver

The Sudanese Thinker - Saddam's Execution: A Truly Historical Moment

Friday, December 29, 2006

Jan Pronk Weblog: Sudan has become a National Security State

See Dec 27 2006 Jan Pronk - Weblog - excerpt:
Sudan is no democracy. It is not a dictatorship either. A conglomerate of power groups is ruling Sudan. This conglomerate is not transparent and in a delicate balance. It is a combination of military, business, national security and ideological groups. Some of these groups are more enlightened than others, keen to open up the Sudanese society, not only for foreign capital, but also for liberal ideas concerning democracy and human rights.

Sudan can gradually become a democracy, with the help of the CPA, if fully implemented. Its democracy can find a base in the new Constitution, provided that National Security Law will not set this Constitution aside. Presently that seems to be the case.

Sudan has become a National Security State. During 2006 other groups, mainly interested in maintaining power and strongly focussed on the economic interests of a specific class, have gained influence within the conglomerate. Those are the groups behind the forces mentioned above. They do not control the President, but the President is fully aware of their power. Presently he seems to be more inclined to listen to their views than to those of the more enlightened ones.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

First batch of UN force arrives in Sudan

Via Khartoum, Dec 28 (NNN-SUNA):
The first batch of the assistance package provided by the UN to the AU contingent in Darfur consisting of 20 policemen and 18 military experts, mostly from African and Asian developing countries, will arrive in the town of Al Fashir Thursday.

Sudan rejects joint AU-UN force for Darfur

Dec 28 2006 VOA news report by Peter Heinlein - excerpt:
Sudanese U.N. Ambassador Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Wednesday poured cold water on Secretary General Annan's hopes for a diplomatic breakthrough in his last days in office.

"It is not a joint force. Let there be no confusion about it. We are not talking about any joint force by the United Nations and the African Union," he [Abdalhaleem] said.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Sudanese media says UN fails to provide first batch of support to AU

Via Sudanese Media Center:
UN Fails to Provide the First Batch of Support to AU
Wednesday 27 December 2006
Khartoum (Sudanvisiondaily)

The United Nations has failed to provide the first batch of support to the African Union forces in Darfur that include providing experts and technicians.

The Tripartite Mechanism meeting, yesterday, reviewed the three batches of assistance and the commitment of the United Nations to provide equipments, civil experts and technicians to the African Union forces operating in Darfur.

The government coordinator in the Tripartite Mechanism and the Director of Peace Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Alsadiq Almagli told Sudan Vision that the United Nations has provided only 43 experts out of the 105 promised.

Almagli revealed that the United Nations did not provide any civilian experts from the planned 45 and has provided only 24 civil police personnel out of the 33 promised Almagli said that the United Nations will hand those experts to the African Union this week, adding that the list provided by the United Nations was not complete, confirming that the government will provide all the necessary facilitation for the United Nations support to the African Union.

Almagli stated that the experts provided by the United Nations are Africans, confirming that the government has expressed its readiness to provide all the necessary facilities for the United Nations.

On his part AMIS Spokesman Nouraddin Mezni stated that the meeting is considered to be the real beginning for implementing the support batches, confirming that the government and the African Union have provided a joint list of the needs for the first batch.

Mezni revealed that there are 9 civil police experts in Al Fashir and 15 others in Khartoum. Mezni stated that the government of Sudan has expressed its readiness to facilitate the United Nations support to AU.

On his part the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Ali Al -Sadiq said that the second meeting of the Tripartite Mechanism aimed at coordinating activities, noting that the next meeting will be convened in next January.

UN advisers to be deployed this week in Darfur

Dec 26 2006 AFP report via ST - excerpt:
Forty-three military advisers will be deployed in Darfur as part of a three-phase UN plan aimed at bolstering the struggling AU force there, AU spokesman Nourredine Mezni said Tuesday.

"The first group of this contingent composed of nine policemen is already in place, and this week 43 military advisers and 15 police advisers will follow," Mezni said.

It was agreed that UN military and police officers will wear their national uniforms with a blue UN beret. In addition, they will wear an AU armband, the UNMIS bulletin said.

Janjaweed destroy village in N Darfur

Dec 26 2006 via Sudan Tribune - excerpt:
A joint UNMIS and OCHA assessment mission on 23 December visited the village of Abu Sakin in North Darfur. The village was found to be completely deserted and looted, with more than 50 houses burned to the ground, the UNMIS bulletin reported Tuesday.

"There are reports that Arab militia continue to loot and patrol the area to deter villagers from returning. There are reports that several thousand villagers are hiding in nearby hills" the bulletin said.

Government police and National security have stepped up the number of road blocks in El Fasher (North Darfur), following the shooting on 23 December of a police officer and an increase in the number of carjackings.

Last month, the African Union blamed Khartoum for worsening security situation in Darfur. The African Union said on Saturday 16 November the situation in Sudan's troubled Darfur region was worsening due to the return of re-armed Janjaweed militia and Khartoum's resolve to use military force.

"The security situation in Darfur is fast deteriorating mainly because of the re-emergence of Janjaweed militias," said an AU communique issued at the end of a meeting on Darfur.

"(They) seem to have been supplied and rearmed and have been carrying out nefarious activities with impunity in parts of Darfur, particularly in areas controlled by the government of Sudan."

The statement added that another cause for the decline was Khartoum's insistence on a military option to quell the conflict.
Note the AU describes the militia as Arab. Sorry, I still don't get it: why are they called Arab and not Sudanese?

Sudan's Bashir 'backs UN plan on Darfur'

President Bashir says Sudan agrees to the first two parts of the UN plan - deployment of new staff and equipment to the African Union force followed by a larger support package. However, the third part of the UN plan - the size and command of the new force - is not finalised in the letter. Full story BBC Dec 27, 2006.

Dec 27 2006 AP report by Edith Lederer (via Guardian) - Sudan President Accepts U.N. Peace Deal:
Al-Bashir said peace talks aimed at a political settlement should be expedited, blaming rebels who have not signed the peace agreement for continued attempts to undermine the accord and overthrow the Sudanese government.

He told Annan that the next step should be a Security Council resolution endorsing the agreements reached at the November meetings in Ethiopia and Nigeria "and authorizing immediate financial support for peacekeeping in Darfur."
Note Mr Bashir never blames the janjaweed.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

John Garang's security proposal for overseeing Darfur ceasefire - Child soldiers in Janjaweed and NMRD

Snippet from Sudan Watch archives dated Feb 9 2005 - Child soldiers in Janjaweed and breakaway Darfur rebel group NMRD:
Leader of the SPLM/A John Garang has proposed the deployment of a tripartite force -- one-third each from the government, the SPLA and the AU -- to oversee the Darfur ceasefire and end the bloodshed. "You really do need a robust force in order to be able to sufficiently protect the civilian population," Garang said Monday in New York.

[SLA rebel leader] Nur welcomed the participation of the SPLA in such a force, but said the government, which he accused of complicity in attacks against civilians in Darfur, cannot be part of that force. "We cannot accept that," he said.

Video profile: Mark Hanis GIF

National Geographic has a video profile of Mark Hanis of the Genocide Intervention Network - see Coalition for Darfur: Darfur: The Activist. Sorry can't open it using my browser.

Egypt welcomes Security Council statement on Darfur

Dec 21 2006 Sudan Tribune - excerpt:
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit welcomed a statement issued by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) two days ago on means of handling the Darfur crisis.

He considered the statement as an important step to reach an international agreement on the optimal means of dealing with the repercussions of the Darfur stand-off., the state-run MENA reported.

In press statements Thursday 21 December, Aboul Gheit asserted that the statement reflected the international community's inclination to overcome the differences that ensued from Resolution 1706.
- - -

Dec 19 2006 Security Council statement


Darfur: It Is Best to Stay Out (Christopher Caldwell)

This blog author concurs with opinion piece here below, especially where it says
"Darfur is not just sadists on one hand and victims on the other. It is a war. We have only the vaguest picture of what kind of war it is ...

Darfur is a problem the west should touch only with a very long stick."
Note also, the piece correctly refers to the Sudanese government as Islamist (unlike many other journalists who choose to use the words "Arab-led") and tells us only 7 per cent of Americans consider Darfur a top foreign policy priority, according to an NBC News poll in October.

Dec 18 2006 commentary by Christopher Caldwell, Finanical Times - Darfur: It Is Best to Stay Out [hat tip CFD]:
Those urging military action in Darfur have in recent days been joined by influential US and UK policymakers. The Islamist government of Sudan has not only encouraged so-called Janjaweed militias to run riot in the rebellious province, where roughly 200,000 have died. It is also refusing to admit 20,000 United Nations peacekeepers, who would supplement 7,000 overburdened African Union soldiers already there. The west is showing signs that it has had enough. This week, Tony Blair, prime minister, urged a no-fly zone over Darfur. There have been hints of a US "Plan B" to be implemented in the new year, and this newspaper reported on Wednesday that the US had drawn up plans for a naval blockade.

There is a hitch, though, to any international intervention. China buys two-thirds of Sudan's oil and has invested $7bn (£3.6bn) there. Hence Khartoum's double-digit growth, its stock exchange, its new office buildings. China - like Russia before the Kosovo war or France before the Iraq one - might exercise its veto on the UN Security Council. Therefore, some Nato "coalition of the willing" might have to "go it alone" in Darfur. Prominent former officials from the Clinton administration have urged just such a course. But Darfur is a problem the west should touch only with a very long stick.

Omar Hassan al-Bashir, Sudanese leader, says there are fewer than 9,000 dead and that all this talk of mass killings is only the pretext for invading a Muslim country. He is either lying or mistaken, but that does not matter. Much of the Muslim world believes the US attacked Afghanistan for its natural gas reserves, not because of 9/11. Anti-Americanism is such a powerful force that whenever the US involves itself in anything, US power becomes the issue. American public opinion, sensing this, has grown isolationist. A common strand of thought in the wake of November's elections is that the world - not just the Muslim world but an important part of Europe, too - has pronounced its verdict on US influence; now let the world see how it likes the consequences. Americans may have enough patience to unravel the misadventure in Iraq, but they are not calling for an encore. Only 7 per cent of Americans consider Darfur a top foreign policy priority, according to an NBC News poll in October.

George W. Bush, US president, tried to raise the temperature by describing Darfur as a "genocide" at the UN in September. This was a mistake. Genocide, as most people understand it, means trying to exterminate a race. But under the 1948 convention that the UN uses, it means a variety of acts, including non-lethal ones such as "causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group", that are "committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group". The words "in part" mean that almost any indiscriminate killing of civilians can constitute genocide. Meanwhile, International Criminal Court prosecutors announced on Thursday that they were preparing the first Darfur-related arrest warrants, another mistake. Threatening leaders with life sentences in the Hague turns a situation that might conceivably be resolved by diplomacy into a fight to the death.

One can argue about whether this is a genocide, but the pictures being evoked in western minds are oversimplifications. Darfur is not just sadists on one hand and victims on the other. It is a war. We have only the vaguest picture of what kind of war it is. Is it a race war, pitting the Arabs of Khartoum against the blacks of Darfur? Is it a civil war over money and natural resources? (The rebels, too,have looted aid convoys and clashed with African Union peacekeepers.) Is Khartoum running a classic, Guatemalan-style, dry-up-the-fishpond counter-insurgency? Or is this just one front in a brewing east Africa-wide war of Islamist expansion, of which the guerrilla war in Chad and the threats of Somalia's new fundamentalist leaders against Ethiopia are all a part?

Which of these wars do we think we are joining? On whose side? The aftermath of toppling Saddam Hussein shows this question to be nearly unanswerable. But it would be hard to intervene without making enemies. The one action with the best chance of changing the mind of Khartoum - destroying or blockading its oil industry - would greatly impoverish the 35m Sudanese who are not Darfuri.

The decision about which war to fight would be taken out of western hands the moment troops started landing. The number of troops necessary to pacify Darfur is often placed at 20,000, with only 5,000 elite western troops necessary to do the "heavy lifting", as The New Republic puts it.

These numbers may be wild underestimates. What if Khartoum attacked the Christian south again, confronting Nato - much as Slobodan Milosevic did when he began razing Kosovar villages after air attacks - with a choice between exposure of its hypocrisy or a massive commitment of ground troops?

Some people seem to be nostalgic for the pre-September 11 days when the west could fight symbolic wars against marginal countries in the name of human rights. Others see a chance to restore the west's humanitarian credentials, after the political quagmire in Iraq. This betrays a short memory and mistakes the war's outcome for the war's rationale. Iraq, too, was once a humanitarian cause.

But the lesson - not just of Iraq but also of the debacles in Somalia and Kosovo that made it possible - is that there is no such thing as a humanitarian invasion. The west can destroy the Sudanese government and punish its leaders, as in Iraq. It can support one group of brigands over another, as in Kosovo. It can feed people for a while, as in Somalia. However, humanitarian their motivations, though, military operations turn political the moment they are launched, with consequences that are wildly unpredictable.
I wonder what Werner would think of that article.

France, steeped in genocidal blood, must face trial (Andrew Wallis)

So far, 29 comments at Dec 05, 2006 Times Online opinion piece by Andrew Wallis entitled France, steeped in genocidal blood, must face trial.

The Darfur Wall and The Darfur Foundation

New website named the darfur wall lists Eric Reeves among the organisations it supports and, for more information about the Darfur conflict, recommends two other sites: Eric Reeves' and Wikipedia.

Sudan agrees to U.N. role in Darfur but commander must be African and peacekeepers must be mostly African

Dec 23 2006 AP report by Mohamed Osman, Khartoum - Sudan agrees to U.N. role in restive Darfur (via PG) - excerpt:
Mr Annan said he had received an optimistic report from an envoy sent to Khartoum, encouraging him to "think we may tomorrow receive a green light from President Bashir for a full cease-fire, a renewed effort to bring all parties into [the] political process and deployment of the proposed African Union-United Nations hybrid force."

[Sudanese FM spokesman] Mr Magli said his government had not yet seen Mr Annan's statement, but it was true that "Sudan has confirmed to the [U.N.] envoy that it would sit down for peace talks with the rebel factions any time, anywhere."

He said the world should pressure rebel factions that did not sign a May peace accord "to come to ceasefire talks and to stop attacking. But for us in the government, yes, we have confirmed our commitment to the ceasefire."

Earlier this week, Mr Annan wrote to Mr Bashir, saying the United Nations would make every effort to find African peacekeepers, but, if that proved impossible, it would use "a broader pool of troop-contributing countries."

Mr Annan said the first phase of the plan would enhance the AU force by 105 military officers, 33 UN police and 48 international staffers, according to a copy of the letter released by the UN. But he said the mission would eventually have a minimum strength of 17,300 troops, 3,300 civilian police and 16 additional police units.

Mr Magli said his government accepted that phase, but insisted that the number of troops would be negotiated by the force commander and delegates from the United Nations, the African Union and Sudan.
- - -

Dec 23 2006 BBC report: Sudan 'to accept UN Darfur force'

UK provides extra 15 mln pounds to AU Darfur force

The United Kingdom said Friday that it was providing an additional GBP15 million to African Union peacekeepers in Darfur.

International Development Secretary Hilary Benn said the new funds will help fund the African Union Mission in Sudan's operations in the first six months of 2007. The funding is besides the 20 million pounds (A29.8 million, US$39.3 million) the British government provide for this year's operations.

"There is an urgent need for the international community to provide sufficient funds to support the force. The U.K. is fully committed to playing its part in meeting that need," Benn said in a statement.

He said that the humanitarian situation in the Darfur would be even worse if the 7,000-member AU force weren't there and urged other donors, particularly the Arab League to commit further funds to the force.

Full story by AP 22 Dec 2006 via ST.

Friday, December 22, 2006

What's wrong with AU-UN hybrid force in Darfur?

Mark Hanis of the Genocide Intervention Network ( in the United States, recently commented at Werner's Soldier of Africa blog from Darfur, saying: "it would be great to hear your [Werner's] thoughts on how concerned citizens can help you and your fellow peacekeepers protect the people of Darfur.

And Werner replied...
"Mark, I think the most they can do is raise public awareness. The UN and international community are not doing what they should. They are trying to stay out of Darfur, more so than with any other previous international hotspot. The only way to combat this is by means of public pressure. Pressure your government to act. I had a quick look at your organisation's website and what it does goes a long way to doing this. Once Darfur is on everybody's lips nobody will be able to ignore it anymore.
Am I being dim today or is Werner saying the only way to combat the international community and UN trying to stay out of Darfur is via public pressure calling for a UN force? My stance is that I am against armed people entering Sudan uninvited, especially any military force without a UN resolution.

Who is now running Kalma Camp, South Darfur?

Sorry I still cannot find more of latest news from Kalma camp, South Darfur. What is happening to the Norwegian Refugee Council team in Darfur? If it's not the NRC, who is now coordinating Kalma camp and caring for its 93,000 residents? A News briefing from Ekklesia Dec 16 reminds us that:
"on 9 December, Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store had protested against the expulsion of the Norwegian Refugee Council, the non-governmental coordinator of the largest camp for internally displaced people from South Darfur. The NRC was officially expelled from South Darfur on 16 November.

This came after the Sudanese authorities had suspended the organisation from humanitarian relief operations in Darfur in September without any formal explanation. Together with other countries and the UN, Norway has sought to get Sudan to reverse its decision.

"More than half of the population of Darfur is dependent on emergency relief, and the expulsion of the NRC ... It is unacceptable that the Sudanese authorities continue to obstruct humanitarian workers in their efforts to help those in need," Store said.

Then, on 12 December the UN Mission in Sudan flew 134 humanitarian staff out of El Fasher, the provincial capital of North Darfur, following several days of clashes in the city."
Surely it is unacceptable that the Sudanese authorities AND THE REBELS continue to obstruct humanitarian workers in their efforts to help those in need.

THINKPIECE: Questions of Darfur justice

Following the Prosecutor's speech at the security council on the 14th of December 2006, the Darfur situation is most likely to be on top of the agenda for the coming year.
What are your thoughts on that and what do you hope 2007 will achieve for the people of Darfur?

What more can the Office of the Prosecutor do to bring expeditious justice for the people of Darfur?
Comments invited (and appreciated) via here below, email or blog entry (I'll link back to your response and list it here) - thanks.

PS Drima, if you are reading this, I hope you can chivvy up some feedback re above two questions, it'd be interesting to know what those at Mideast Youth blog are thinking. I wonder what American readers' responses would be. If an American blogger picks up on this post and attracts some responses, I'd be grateful. Thanks. More later.

Luis Moreno Ocampo

Photo: Luis Moreno Ocampo. Source SudanTribune article : ICC: "No Sudanese official immune from Prosecution"

Further reading:
The Hague Justice Portal

Sudan Watch: ICC Prosecutor says 1st case against Sudan crimes is ready

Dec 18 2006 FT op-ed by Christopher Caldwell: Darfur: It Is Best to Stay Out - International Criminal Court prosecutors announced on Thursday that they were preparing the first Darfur-related arrest warrants, another mistake. Threatening leaders with life sentences in the Hague turns a situation that might conceivably be resolved by diplomacy into a fight to the death.

The Silence

The Silence

Good luck. See Soldier of Africa.

Push China to "save Darfur"

A meme to push China to save Darfur.

See Darfur: An Unforgivable Hell on Earth.

YouTube - The True Islam #1

See YouTube - The True Islam #1 - via The Sudanese Thinker: Who's This Filthy Retard? - gem of a comment by CommonSense says:
"...the guy in that video is from a group in the UK called muhajiruun, they have made life difficult here for other muslims (and everyone else), he's a nobody who gets a lot of headlines i have encountered him a few times. he's usually ignored by most."

Sudan agrees on UN-AU hybrid operation in Darfur - First phase of plan starts next week

Note Sudan's Foreign Ministry has a peace department. Dec 21 2006 Xinhua news report - Sudan agrees on UN-AU hybrid operation in Darfur : - excerpt:
The Sudanese government announced on Thursday that it had agreed on a hybrid peacekeeping operation of the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU) in Darfur instead of the deployment of a UN peacekeeping force in the war- torn region.

The announcement was made by al-Sadig al-Magli, director of the peace department in Sudan's Foreign Ministry, following a meeting between Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir and visiting Special Envoy of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to Sudan Ahmedou Ould Abdallah.

"The hybrid operation means the logistic, technical and consultative support to be provided by the UN to the AU force in Darfur and extending it with resources and materials", the Sudanese official told reporters.

He reiterated the Sudanese government's refusal of deploying an international force subordinate to the UN but a hybrid force formed by the UN and the AU in Darfur.

Abdallah, on his part, announced that he had delivered a letter to the Sudanese president from the UN secretary general concerning a three-phase plan of UN support for the AU force in Darfur.

He said that the world body would begin to implement the first phase of the plan next week.

The UN envoy arrived in Khartoum on Wednesday on a three-day visit in Sudan during which he would discuss with the Sudanese government on the situation in Darfur and the role of the UN in seeking a solution for the crisis in the region.

The UN Security Council passed a resolution on Aug. 31 calling for the deployment of more than 20,000 international peacekeepers to replace the 7,800 AU force in Darfur, which is suffering the lack of funds, equipment and experience.

The Sudanese government rejected the mission transfer, saying it was a violation of Sudan’s sovereignty and an effort by the West to colonize the African oil producing country.

The AU Peace and Security Council agreed on Nov. 30 to extend the mandate of the AU force in Darfur for six months until June 30 next year.

The Arab lion bares its head in Darfur's ongoing war (Julie Flint)

Filing this here before having time to read it. Dec 22 2006 Julie Flint opinion piece, Daily Star Lebanon, entitled The Arab lion bares its head in Darfur's ongoing war. [Hat tip CFD]

Thursday, December 21, 2006

UK donates 40 mln pounds in Darfur aid

Britain will donate a further 40 million pounds to aid efforts in Darfur to help the world’s largest aid operation. Britain is the second largest donor to Darfur. Full story Reuters via ST 21 Dec 2006.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Save the Children receives $1 million Gates Foundation grant to assist displaced families in West Darfur

Save the Children announced today that it has received a $1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a water and sanitation project in West Darfur, Sudan. The grant will help the agency provide sanitation facilities and clean drinking water to more than 55,000 displaced children and family members forced to flee their homes and live in temporary shelters due to continued violence.

Full story UNICEF 20 Dec 2006.

Security Council urges Sudan to accept joint UN-AU force

Dec 19 2006 AFP report via ST - excerpt:
Late last month, Sudan accepted a three-phase plan in Abuja, Nigeria, under which the UN would assist the under-funded and ill-equipped 7,000-strong AU contingent that has failed to stem four years of bloodshed in Darfur.

The UN support package's first two stages consist of technical and logistical help that would pave the way for a "hybrid" peacekeeping force that has yet to be approved by Beshir.

The council on Tuesday called for "the immediate deployment of the United Nations' Light and Heavy Support Packages to the AU mission in Sudan and a hybrid operation in Darfur."

It reaffirmed "its deep concern about the worsening security situation in Darfur and its repercussions in the region."

Monday Outgoing UN chief Kofi Annan decided to send a senior adviser to Khartoum to clarify Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir’s stance on the joint UN-AU force in Darfur.

UN troubleshooter Ahmadou Ould Abdallah is to head for Khartoum Wednesday to deliver a letter from Annan to Beshir.

Annan, who is relinquishing his post in two weeks' time, also named that Swedish former foreign minister Jan Elliason as interim special representative to Sudan.

Eliasson, a former president of the UN General Assembly, "will work the diplomatic channels mainly outside Sudan, working with capitals and governments and encouraging them to stay engaged and work with us in Darfur in the search for a solution," Annan told a press conference Tuesday.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Annan names Sweden diplomat as UN special envoy to Sudan

Jan Eliasson will work in Khartoum until the appointment of a successor to special envoy Jan Pronk. Full story (agencies) via ST 19 Dec 2006.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Notes from Kalma (Paul Currion)

Thanks to VOGP Lisa Rogoff for pointing to Paul Currion's Notes from Kalma March 1 2006:
I just spent the morning in Kalma IDP camp, because I thought it was important to get a better idea of the operation here. Otherwise I'm in danger of getting a little bit too fixated on this assessment, and issues like telecoms provision, monitoring and evaluation, staff orientation, etc.

As we approached the camp, I remembered that it was exactly 10 years ago that I visited my first refugee camp, the colossal Benaco refugee camp in Tanzania. Kalma is very similar to Benaco - with just under 100,000 residents, it's the size of a town. Like a town, it has a huge requirement for basic services - water and sanitation, health care, education, and so on - which is where the UN agencies and NGOs come in. One of the dangers of these large-scale camps is that they may become semi-permanent, as IDPs resign themselves to the prospect of no return him (in this case, while the Janjaweed are still active), creating new problems of integration.

For their part, the IDP communities aren't passive. Well-stocked markets can be found all over the camp, and people pursue their trades if they're able to. Shaikhs continue to lead their communities, mediating both within the community, with other communities in the camp, and with international organisations working there. Unfortunately, some degree of disempowerment and dependence is almost inevitable for the displaced. In this case, the IDPs are definitely not in control of their security; although the African Union patrol the camps regularly, and escort expeditions to gather fuelwood outside the camp, the Janjaweed operate with relative impunity in the area.

Given the size of the camp, it's probably the largest place that many of the IDPs have ever lived, given that most of them come from small villages. This in itself creates problems, since ways of life that may work in small rural communities may not be appropriate for a peri-urban settlement like Kalma. In particular, I saw the same problem around Kalma as there was around Benaco; massive levels of deforestation, with the land around the camp looking like the surface of the moon (admittedly with more plastic bags and other litter).

The environmental impact of a camp the size of Kalma is enormous. The longer the camp remains, the wider the circle of deforestation grows, on land that is already marginal. The water requirements of the IDPs can be a huge drain on the water table, although this is harder to see, and one dry rainy season could be disastrous. The combined impact is an increase in the rate of desertification that already affects many African countries across the Sahel.

All this begs the question of why the UN and NGOs don't recruit more people with environmental management experience. For example, most of the water and sanitation staff that we recruit are either engineers (to drill boreholes and build latrines) or public health experts (to educate people on hygiene issues) - seldom people with experience of water resource management. It's much easier to sink more wells and pump more water than it is to assess the impact of those wells on the overall environment - yet, in the long term (and Kalma looks long-term to me right now) - that's exactly what's needed if the region is to survive.

You can find a map of Kalma [pdf, 290kb] on the HIC Darfur website - I was mainly hanging around in sector 7.

ICC Prosecutor says 1st case against Sudan crimes is ready

Excerpt from AP report (via ST) 16 Dec 2006:
The chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court said he believes his investigation has collected enough evidence to prove who are those most responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sudan’s Darfur region.

Luis Moreno Ocampo told the U.N. Security Council that he plans to submit the case to the court's judges in February. Under the Rome statute that created the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal, the judges must review the evidence and decide whether the case should go forward.

'We are ready to present the first case to the judges,' he told reporters afterwards. 'The case will show evidence of willful killings, massive rapes, tortures and pillaging of entire villages.'

Ocampo refused to divulge the number of people in the case or the names, but he said the investigation focused on 'a series of incidents that occurred in 2003 and 2004, during a period and in a location where the highest number of crimes were recorded.'

'We believe we have enough evidence to prove who are the most responsible for the crimes committed in Darfur,' he said.

'The only way to stop me from putting my case before the judges is if there is a case in the national system,' Ocampo said. 'If there is a case in the national system, then I will request to go to see the case...'

AU blames Khartoum as Darfur crisis worsens

Dec 16 2006 Reuters report - AU blames Khartoum as Darfur crisis worsens - excerpt:
The African Union on Saturday said the situation in Sudan's troubled Darfur region was worsening due to the return of re-armed Janjaweed militia and Khartoum's resolve to use military force.

"The security situation in Darfur is fast deteriorating mainly because of the re-emergence of Janjaweed militias," said an AU communique issued at the end of a meeting on Darfur.

"(They) seem to have been supplied and rearmed and have been carrying out nefarious activities with impunity in parts of Darfur, particularly in areas controlled by the government of Sudan.

The statement added that another cause for the decline was Khartoum's insistence on a military option to quell the conflict.

The AU also condemned attacks by the National Redemption Front (NRF) in Darfur. The rebel faction is comprised of groups that rejected a peace deal with the government signed in May.

"The meeting expressed deep concern on the prevailing situation in El Fasher, El Geneina, Kutum and Merllit characterised by harassment, attacks and killings of innocent civilians including IDPs (internally displace people)," the AU communique said.

It deplored attacks on AU personnel including the abduction of a military officer on Dec. 10 in El Fasher.

Sudan walks out from AU meeting on Darfur

Via Sudan Tribune: Sudan walks out from AU meeting on Darfur - see full text of a statement by the African Union on the Fourth Meeting of the Darfur Peace Agreement Joint Commission held in Addis Ababa on 15 December 2006.

US Rice dangles a threat of sanctions against Sudan

Dec 16 2006 Reuters report via SABC - excerpt:
Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of State said Sudan would be held accountable if it did not accept international troops into Darfur and she dangled the threat of sanctions against Khartoum.

"The Sudanese need to be convinced that if they are not willing to accept that help from the international system, then they are going to be held accountable for anything that happens," said Rice.

Friday, December 15, 2006

German parliament gives green light to extending Sudan mission

Berlin, Dec 15, IRNA German parliament gives green light to extending Sudan mission - excerpt:
German lawmakers approved on Friday the extension of the Sudan mission until June amid the worsening security situation in the Darfur region.

A total of 466 MPs voted in favor, 44 opposed it and 9 abstained.

Under the mandate, up to 200 German soldiers could be sent to Sudan as part of the UN-led monitoring mission (UNMIS).

There are presently around 78 German military monitors and soldiers based in Sudan.

Post-World War II German troops had never been deployed in the African continent before the Sudan peace mission.

Around 10,000 German UN peacekeeping and anti-terror troops are stationed in areas like Afghanistan, the Balkan region, Congo, Sudan, Ethiopia, Georgia and the Horn of Africa.

Sudanese govt and janjaweed stepping up activities- BBC

Note, the BBC's Jonah Fisher in Khartoum says the six agencies call for all sides to observe a ceasefire, allowing a full resumption of aid activities, is likely to fall on deaf ears as the Sudanese government and its partners in the Janjaweed militia appear to be stepping up their activities.

Full story BBC Darfur violence 'preventing aid' 15 Dec 2006.

Rwanda Redux? (

See 19 responses - Rwanda Redux?

Sapa lifted quotes from Werner's blog - SA troops adapt to peacekeeping

What a cheek. Dec 15 2006 Sapa news reporter Louis Oelofse (via Mail & Guardian Online) lifted captions from Werner's blog entries at Soldier of Africa without linking to it or giving the blog credit. Excerpt from Sapa's report:
South Africans and the African peacekeeping operation in Sudan's embattled Darfur region are facing an uphill battle.

"Things are definitely escalating ... the question is, when and where will it peak and how bad will it be," writes Captain Werner Klokow.

He is a military observer in El Fasher and said in the past week tensions were taken to a new level.

"Tonight an Amis (peacekeeping contingent) vehicle was hijacked close to our house and the night has seen a moderate volume of gunfire. It has prompted us to rehearse our emergency plan and we are constantly observing," he wrote last Sunday.
Skimming through the above report might give one the impression Werner talked to the reporter. I know it's a nit pick but people quoting from a blog, ought to credit the blog by name.

EU calls for troops in Darfur

EU officials say a sanction such as a no-fly zone would first need a UN Security Council resolution.

Full story by ITN (via 15 Dec 2006 EU calls for troops in Darfur .

Rebels in Darfur keep thousands from getting food

True story. Rebels in Darfur keep thousands from getting food (AP report by Alfred de Montesquiou 14 Dec 2006 via WS). Excerpt:
Violence has been increasing. Last month, in the worst looting yet, Arab tribal fighters known as janjaweed ripped apart a WFP warehouse and took 800 tons of food in the rebel stronghold of Bir Maza as government forces assaulted the town.

More than 200 U.N. and aid workers have had to leave remote outposts, and refugee camps and some of the region's main towns - like the North Darfur capital of El Fasher, which last week was also looted by janjaweed.

Meanwhile, some 200 World Food Program trucks are being blocked by the government from reaching Darfur, said Kenro Oshidari, the Sudan director for the U.N. agency.

"Food security is one of the most basic human rights, and it's constantly being challenged in Darfur," Oshidari said.

What's happening at Kalma camp Farah Mustafa?

Surely these two men must know why the Sudanese government continuously stops Norwegian Refugee Council from coordinating Kalma camp in South Darfur. If NRC are no longer running Kalma camp in South Darfur, who is?

Farah Mustafa

Farah Mustafa, left, deputy governor of the southern Sudan region of Darfur, delivers his speech as Sudanese Ambassador to the United Nations, Ibrahim Margani Ibrahim, right, listens during the special session of the Human Rights Council on the human rights situation in Darfur, at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2006. (AP Photo/Keystone, Salvatore di Nolfi)

New Al-Fatih hotel in Khartoum

Al-Fatih, the name of a new five star hotel in Khartoum, is Arabic for 'September'.

New Al-Fatih hotel in Khartoum

Photo: An old yellow taxi sits parked outside the new Libyan-funded Al-Fatih five star hotel in the capital Khartoum, Sudan Friday, Dec. 8, 2006. Sudan is enjoying an oil-fueled economic boom even as its wartorn Darfur region suffers through brutal violence, with some calling the boom a hopeful sign that the famine-prone African country is pulling itself together. Al-Fatih is Arabic for 'September'. (AP Dec 15 2006 Photo/Alfred de Montesquiou)

ICC Prosecutor: First Darfur cases almost ready

Dec 14 2006 UN Press Release (via Scoop) - ICC Prosecutor: First Darfur Cases Almost Ready - excerpt:
The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) informed the Security Council today that he is almost ready to bring cases about some of the worst war crimes committed in the Sudanese region of Darfur during the past three years.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo said he will submit evidence to ICC judges by February at the latest and, ahead of that step, he is now introducing measures to protect victims and witnesses.

According to the text of his statement to the closed-door Council meeting, Mr. Moreno-Ocampo said that his first case will focus on a series of incidents in 2003 and 2004, when conflict emerged in Darfur as Government forces and allied militia clashes with rebel groups seeking greater autonomy.

"The evidence provides reasonable grounds to believe that the individuals identified have committed crimes against humanity and war crimes, including the crimes of persecution, torture, murder and rape, during a period in which the gravest crimes occurred in Darfur," he said.

In a press statement released following his briefing, the Prosecutor said "perhaps most significant, the evidence reveals the underlying operational system that enabled the commission of these massive crimes."

New Border Intelligence Forces? - Sudan gov't says Janjaweed are border guards

Are Janjaweed now wearing the dark green uniforms of Sudanese government troops? Dec 14 2006 Reuters report Darfur: Gov't Says Janjaweed Are Border Guards - excerpt:
Pekka Haavisto, the European Union special envoy to Sudan, said he complained about the Janjaweed activities in El Fasher to the government on Thursday.

"The government response was: they are not Janjaweed, we are not calling them Janjaweed, because they are government border guards," he said.

"And my response was that if you recognize (them) as being part of the government, you have even more responsibility for their behavior."

There was no comment from the government, but state-run media has referred to one of the groups involved in the clashes as the "Border Intelligence Forces."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Darfur: France unready to support no-fly zone

Dec 14 2006 Kuna news report (via CFD) France Unready to Support No-Fly Zone - excerpt:
French Foreign Ministry spokesman Jean-Baptiste Mattei remarked that his government had learned of the proposal through the press and that France was not approached by Britain on this subject.

U.S. envoy to fly from Sudan to Brussels after getting OK for forerunners of Darfur force

Dec 14 2006 AP report via International Herald Tribune - excerpt:
[US special envoy to Sudan] Andrew Natsios scrubbed planned visits to Chad, the country just west of Darfur where violence has migrated back and forth from Sudan, and London after he met for two hours with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Wednesday at the end of a four-day visit to Sudan.

During the discussions, al-Bashir told Natsios for the first time that Sudan would provide visas for UN logistical experts to join the 7,000 African Union peacekeepers in Darfur, McCormack said.

"The Sudanese have previously agreed to these individuals coming in as part of the first step in the deployment of a force, but they had not yet issued the visas for them to come in," McCormack said. "That hurdle had been cleared."

Ali Karti, the Sudanese state minister for foreign affairs, said in Khartoum that al-Bashir had agreed to "technical assistance" for the AU troops.

The U.N. mission in Sudan said it was ready to send 105 military advisers, 33 police officers and 48 civilian staff.

An African Union spokesman, Noureddine Mezni, said the overextended and insufficiently armed AU troops need help urgently, "both financially and in personnel."

McCormack said Natsios would arrive in Brussels on Friday and would meet with technical experts from the European Union as well as Solana and de Hoop Scheffer.

UK Blair tells US Bush they have to deal with Bashir in next 2-3 months

Dec 12 2006 Financial Times Blair backs no-fly zone over Darfur - excerpt:
Mr Blair declared his support for a no-fly zone for the first time during his visit last week to Washington. He told President George W Bush that they had to deal with Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, in the next two to three months.

"If rapid progress is not made, we will need to consider alternative approaches, with international partners," Mr Blair warned on returning to London.

Planning has moved ahead, according to one official, who added: "The Americans mean business."
Bet Khartoum thinks UK is bluffing. Doubt it's now a bluff. Lately, Khartoum's sounding too cocky. When's Bashir retiring?

Sudan despises threats of no-fly zone over Darfur by U.S.,Britain

Dec 15 2006 China's Xinhua - news report excerpt:
Financial Times reported on Wednesday that British Prime Minister Tony Blair had backed setting up a no-fly zone over Darfur while U.S. military planners were also developing plans for air strikes and a naval blockade to pressure Khartoum to stop the violence.

Sudanese Envoy to UK Dismisses "No Fly Zone Over Darfur Reports"

BBC Monitoring report via RedOrbit - Text of report by Sudanese radio on 14 December:
The media adviser for Sudanese embassy in London, Mr Sadiq Bakhit, has dismissed media reports which said that the USA and Britain were planning to impose [designate] no fly zone over Darfur airspace if Sudanese government does not accept deployment of UN troops in the region.

In an interview with the Radio Omdurman he said these media reports were denied by both the British and US governments, and up to now it is a mere media leakage.

Bakhit said there were several foreign organizations targeting Sudan, and providing baseless propaganda to Western media outlets, which level false allegations and accusation against Sudan, particularly on issues concerning humanitarian affairs in Darfur.

(c) 2006 BBC Monitoring Middle East. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved. Source: BBC Monitoring Middle East

Daily Kos links on Darfur

See Dec 14 2006 Daily Kos Background and Resources: Genocide in Darfur (Just the facts baby).

Plan B for Darfur - Neglected Abbala nomad group in N Darfur

Dec 11 2006 Reuters AlertNet - Plan B for Darfur (Nina Brenjo):
Flint argues that the Arab camel nomad group called Abbala in northern Darfur have been consistently neglected as a community and it's no wonder it's so easy to recruit them into the ranks of the janjaweed. They need the job in order to survive, and this one comes with a monthly wage. Instead, Flint argues, woo them with development projects and livelihood strategies.
Perhaps same could be said of all the outlaws and bandits roaming Sudan. How to quell anarchy?

Sudanese Knights: Aid worker in Sudan

Sudanese Knights' blog entry (claims to be authored by an aid worker in Sudan) entitled Who's calling who a janjaweed? (hat tip Global Voices - Sudan: Janjaweed identity) - excerpt:
Many of those who have moved into the IDP camps go back to their fields in the daytime, on donkeys (they only have donkeys and goats now as their horses and camels have been rustled by janjaweed). At night they return to the safety of the camps. Last week I was out in the villages trying to organise training sessions with the few people who have stayed in the villages, but most people were too busy and worried about bringing in the harvest quickly before the cattle came to eat the crops. I saw fields being eaten up by herds of cows, the remaining wheat stalks still standing taller than the cattle as they munched their way through. Later I saw a group of men in dark green uniforms, (hell, let's be rash and just call them janjaweed), relaxing in the long grass with their guns propped up next to them, as their camels had a good square meal in somebody else's field.
Why be rash and call them janjaweed? See Werner's blog entry from Darfur on Answers to Questions and this excerpt:
Question: How can you tell who is a janjaweed and who is a government soldier?

Answer: Usually the GoS wear distinctive green camouflage uniforms and the Janjaweed do not. Otherwise I would not be able to tell the difference.

Ban Ki-Moon urges UN to work with AU and Sudan govt to tackle Darfur crisis

Dec 14 2006 Ban Ki-Moon Calls Darfur Tragedy "Unacceptable":
During his swearing ceremony as the eighth U.N. secretary-general, Ban called the suffering of people in Darfur "simply unacceptable," but reiterated that there was "no military solution to the crisis," and instead urged the U.N. to work closely with the African Union and the Sudan government to tackle the crisis.

Sudan dismisses Blair threats, welcomes UN mission

Note a 'UN sanctioned' Plan B. SudanTribune article : Sudan dismisses Blair threats, welcomes UN mission - excerpt:
A spokesman for the British prime minister, citing comments made by Blair last week, said on Wednesday Britain would agree to a no-fly zone over the war-ravaged region as part of a United Nations-sanctioned "Plan B" to halt the violence there.

"Statements like this ... do not enhance peace," said Al-Samani al-Wasiyla, the Sudanese state minister for foreign relations. "They prolong the crisis," he told Reuters.

"We do not deal with media statements ... and we do not need threats to deal with the international community," he said.

Sudan gov't minister says 'a million soldiers' could not pacify region

Dec 14 2006 AFP report (via CFD) excerpt:
"Even if you sent a million soldiers to Darfur, that would not solve the problem," Sudan's minister for international cooperation, Al Tigani Salih Fedail, told journalists Thursday.

"That's not the issue. You only have to look at the examples of Afghanistan and Iraq," he said.

"The problem is political. We have to totally respect the agreement and stop those who seek to sabotage it," the minister said.

"Without the implementation of the (peace) agreement, it is very difficult to disarm people," he said.

The minister was in Geneva for the launch of the UN Work Plan for Sudan for 2007, which is targeting 1.8 billion dollars (1.4 billion euros) to fund humanitarian, recovery and development projects in the country.

This represents nearly half of the total 3.7 billion dollars requested by the Secretary General for humanitarian assistance worldwide in 2007, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a statement.

Sudan's Darfur death toll 134,000 not 400,000? Death estimates for Darfur inaccurate - US study

Darfur 400,000 killed

Cartoon by Gerald Scarfe courtesy The Sunday Times 10 Dec 2006 (hat tip The Sudanese Thinker originally via Sudan Fairytale)

Death estimates for Darfur inaccurate - US study

Reuters report here below leads us to believe about 134 000 people died in Darfur and eastern Chad from September 2003 to January 2005. It does not say if the deaths were due to disease, lack of food, etc.

The population of Darfur is estimated at around 6.5 million. Darfur is the size of France. Nomads cross borders unchecked. Sudan is the size of Europe.

One wonders if the IDPs are better off in UN camps. Without security, money, land and rights, who would want to move away? Maybe the camps will develop into towns.

Not found any more news of NRC. Can't help wondering who is running Kalma camp, home of 93,000 IDPs.
Dec 12 2006 Reuters report (via Business Day) - excerpt:

Death toll statistics in Darfur vary widely, ranging from 70 000 to about the 400 000 estimated by the group Coalition for International Justice over a 26-month period.

The GAO report had most confidence in Belgium-based Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, which said about 134 000 people died in Darfur and eastern Chad from September 2003 to January 2005.

The State Department did not provide any updated death tolls for Darfur but US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said last September "hundreds of thousands of men, women and children have been murdered" in the conflict.

"The United States has called this tragedy by the only name that captures its meaning, the only name it deserves - genocide," said Rice in a speech to the Africa Society.

A study published last September in the journal Science also said the US State Department's Darfur death toll underestimated the count by "hundreds of thousands" of lives.

That study by Northwestern University in Illinois, which was not examined by the GAO report, put the toll at 200 000 or more.

Estimating death tolls in hostile environments is a difficult and dangerous job and the GAO said there were numerous challenges in Darfur, including lack of access.

Limitations in estimates of Darfur's population before and during the crisis may also have led to over or underestimates of the death toll, said the report.

Another problem was the varying use of baseline mortality rates - the rate of deaths that would have occurred without the crisis - may have led to overly high or low estimates.

"To safeguard the US government’s credibility as a source of reliable death estimates, GAO recommends ensuring greater transparency regarding the data and methods used for such estimates," it said.
- - -

Note Nov 29 2004 Darfur population figures: 6 million, 6.5 million, or 6-7 million

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Lifeline for Darfur in Chad

Dec 13 2006 Lifeline for Darfur - Comment - Times Online
This disaster can be salvaged only by new thinking. Bosnia gave the concept of "safe havens" a bad name, but havens are desperately needed. Create them not in Sudan, but in Chad.

Chad's Government wants the UN there, not least to warn Khartoum off destabilising Chad by supporting rebel groups there.

Chad already shelters thousands of Darfur refugees and will need to find room for more, as the murderers close in on the Darfur camps.

The responsibility to do what should now be done rests with the Security Council -- it must take a clear and coherent position against mass murder -- and so the onus (and the ultimate blame) is on Russia and China.
Nicely put.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

UN Pronk felt let down by Security Council and worries Sudan govt thinks now it can get away with anything

AP report (via CFD) Pronk Says Security Council Failed to Support Him - excerpt:
"I think that I didn't get sufficient support from the side of the Security Council," Mr. Pronk told the Netherlands' state broadcaster NOS on Tuesday, in his first interview since returning from Sudan.

"My worry is that the [Sudanese] government thinks now that it can get away with anything," he said.

"If they [the Sudanese government] have gotten away with decapitating a [UN] mission without consequences, they'll go further," Mr. Pronk told the NOS. "We're seeing that happen already. And I have large worries about the possibilities left for the UN in that case."

SLA command denounces Bassey's move to hold conference

Dec 11, 2006 (PARIS) SudanTribune article : SLA command denounces Bassey's move to hold conference.

Monday, December 11, 2006

UNDP Sudan - Tokten Vacancies

From Black Kush, a blog from Darfur:
Are you a Sudanese living abroad? Do you want to go home and serve your country?

The UNDP TOKTEN programme is the best for you. Let us turn the brain drain to brain gain. Your country needs you!

AMIS vehicle hijacked + helicopter crew taken hostage and released

From Soldier of Africa: Nightime Observation in Darfur Dec 10 2006:
Tonight an AMIS vehicle was hijacked close to our house and the night has seen a moderate volume of gunfire. It has prompted us to rehearse our emergency plan and we are constantly observing. All fire has come from the East, South-East and North East. Unconfirmed reports has it that Al Junaynah, 304km to the West, is under threat of attack. An AMIS helicopter crew who were taken hostage yesterday were also released earlier this afternoon. Things are definitely escalating ... the question is, when and where will it peak and how bad will it be.
Best of luck.

Mark Fiore cartoon: Alliance of Wimpiness

New flash cartoon by Mark Fiore: Alliance of Wimpiness.

[hat tip Darfur: An Unforgivable Hell on Earth]

2 AU staff kidnapped in Sudan's Darfur

Dec 11 2006 Reuters report - excerpt:
Armed men kidnapped two African Union military personnel in Sudan, the AU said on Monday.

"The force commander of the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) is utterly dismayed at the hijacking yesterday...of an AMIS vehicle together with two military personnel by unidentified armed men," the AU said in a statement.

The AU called on the kidnappers to release the two and their vehicle immediately and unconditionally.

No more details were immediately available.

All flights to Darfur cancelled today & journalists forbidden from entering region - Hundreds gather in Boston for a candlelight vigil for Darfur

Interruption of break to file this copy of an online news report dated 10 Dec 2006 at WHDH-TV New England News, entitled Hundreds gather in Boston for a candlelight vigil for Darfur:
BOSTON -- A local coalition is working to stop the slaughter in Sudan, following more killings this weekend.

Hundreds gathered in Copley Square tonight for a candlelight vigil.

Activists are calling for an immediate cease-fire in the Darfur region of Sudan.

More than 200,000 people have been killed since ethnic Africans rebelled against the Arab-led government in 2003.

Just today, government-supported militias executed thirty refugees, either shooting them or burning them alive. Millions have run from their homes.

The Sudanese government is accused of supporting the militia blamed for most of the killing.

All flights to Darfur were cancelled today.

Authorities have also forbid foreign journalists from entering the region.

(Copyright (c) 2006 Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Hundreds gather in Boston for a candlelight vigil for Darfur

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A Reminder (by a peacekeeper in Sudan's Darfur)

Short break. Back soon.

A Reminder from Sudan's Darfur

Just a little reminder of who the victims of this conflict are. He is still smiling after his family had to flee after their village was attacked.

Photo and caption by Werner K, Soldier of Africa Dec 2006.

The 2006 Weblog Awards: Best Middle East or Africa Blog: The Sudanese Thinker

Congrats to Drima (a very bright young Sudanese chap in Malaysia who is going places) of The Sudanese Thinker on being nominated for 2006 Weblog Awards: Best Middle East or Africa Blog.

Doubt if total number of votes registered reflect number of voters. Individuals may be able to vote more than once by logging off and returning under a different ISP code. Whatever, it's great to see The Sudanese Thinker listed, it's a real winner with Drima's loyal readers.

Picture 290.jpg

Photo of Drima at UN HQ NY Aug 2006. See Drima, The Sudanese Thinker at the UN: Where are the educated political parties that should be governing Sudan?

Bashir: Africa's most deluded leader

Sometimes you have to ask what planet Africa's dictators inhabit. I used to think that President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe led the field when it came to utterly delusional statements. Now I believe that President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan narrowly takes the prize.

Read more by the Telegraph's Africa Correspondent David Blair (Telegraph blogs 6 Dec 2006, Africa's most deluded leader)

Militia kills at least 20 civilians in West Darfur

Dec 10 2006 IOL report - Militia kills at least 20 civilians in Darfur:
At least 20 civilians are dead after Sudanese militiamen ambushed a convoy of refugees in western Darfur, the UN said today.

The pro-government janjaweed militia used rocket-propelled grenades to attack a commercial convoy of refugees returning on Saturday to the town of El Geneina, an international aid worker said.

Janjaweed set fire to the bodies, and rioting erupted around the town today, he said.

"We have confirmed reports of at least 20 dead," said Radhia Achouri, spokeswoman for the United Nations in Sudan.

The aid worker put the death toll higher, saying as many as 30 people had been killed in the attack.

International Human Rights Day: Alarms protest over Darfur rapes

Dec 10 2006 PA report (via Guardian) Alarms protest over Darfur rapes:
Hundreds of demonstrators have set off rape alarms outside Downing Street in a protest against sexual violence in Darfur.

About 200 protesters marched from the Sudanese embassy in central London to No 10 before delivering a formal letter to the Government calling for political pressure to stop the crisis.

The event is part of International Human Rights Day, which has this year been adopted by campaigners from around the globe as a day of action to demand peace in Darfur.

Human rights groups around the world are calling for the immediate deployment of an international peacekeeping force with a mandate to protect civilians.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Fierce battle erupts in east Chad - BBC

Heavy fighting has taken place between Chad's government troops and rebels in the easy of the country, both sides are claiming victory, BBC reported 9 Dec 2006.

1 killed as bandits storm El Fasher, N Darfur- ex-rebels

Dec 9 2006 Reuters report - excerpt:
Scores of militia gunmen attacked a market in El Fasher, the main town of Sudan's Darfur region on Saturday, killing one civilian and looting shops, a former rebel group and a witness said.

The Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM), the only group that signed a May peace deal with the government, said scores of vehicles carrying gunmen had stormed the town.

"This force is opening fire in the town and the town is in deep chaos now," SLM spokesman Saif Haroun told Reuters.

A U.N. official said there was shooting in El Fasher but had no further details. The African Union, which maintains a 7,000-strong force in Darfur, had no immediate comment.

Haroun said the gunmen who stormed the market on Saturday "were not known to the people of the town" but were "probably Janjaweed fighters."

"There is no presence of groups that rejected the (peace) agreement in the region," he said. "They appear to be coming from the direction of the Chadian border," he said.
Note, "probably" Janjaweed. How can you tell the difference between a bandit and a janjaweed? Werner says you can't. Since they don't wear uniforms but do carry firearms they're all bandits, politically motivated or not.

See Soldier of Africa: Answers to Questions by Werner, a South African soldier currently blogging while serving in Darfur - excerpt:
How can you tell who is a bandit and who is a janjaweed?
Answer: I wish I knew. The one is politically motivated and the other is not.

Sudanese American Orphaned Rehabilitation Organization, Inc.

See info links at Sudanese American Orphaned Rehabilitation Organization, Inc. - "Serving the Sudanese Children Orphaned by Civil war"

Important: Norway spearheads joint protest with EU, USA and Canada against expulsion of NRC from Darfur

Don't you think there is more to this story than meets the eye? I do. If you have the time and inclination, check out the links in this entry. It may take a few hours to read the reports but it gives an idea of why I think this is an important story. We'll probably never know what's really behind most of the news here but one thing is sure: Norway has a knack for producing great peacemakers and has done loads to help broker peace for South Sudan, Norway has the world's respect in this regard.

Here's the story. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) coordinates all humanitarian assistance in Kalma camp, South Darfur and helps to provide protection for vulnerable groups. Surely NRC can't be at all bad or wrong. So why has its contract been so badly messed around with by Khartoum? To intimidate, muzzle, suppress, oppress? Is it about rape reports (remember what happened to MSF and its rape report)? Is it about NRC speaking out the truth? If so, what's wrong with that? The truth hurts, but facts are facts. Face facts, if they are the truth Mr Bashir.

Today's news out of Oslo (via Sudan Tribune) tells us the Norwegian government is protesting against expulsion of NRC from Darfur. If NRC is no longer coordinating the camp and helping to protect the residents, who or what is taking its place and why? Who is running the camp, the Government of Sudan? What has happened to NRC's aid workers in Kalma and its camp coordinator, Alfredo Zamudio? God bless them all. Surely such repeated disruption must, once again, impact on the 93,000 Kalma camp residents, of which 19.000 are children enrolled on NRC's education programme.

NRC has worked for displaced persons since 1946. It is a private foundation, one of the largest humanitarian organisations in Norway. Norway was pivotal in brokering peace and prosperity for Sudan. UN aid chief Jan Egeland is from Norway.

So what is really going on that journalists and field workers in Sudan can't report? Sudanese authorities continuously suspend the Norwegian Refugee Council in Darfur and do not respond to its repeated requests for dialogue aimed at addressing and resolving underlying reasons for the suspension. Why? What are the underlying reasons? Why aren't Sudanese officials and journalists properly reporting on and investigating this important news?

Sudan's president ought to explain why his government bullies the NRC and IDPs, and treats them with such contempt and disrespect. Does Mr Bashir say he is Sudanese or Arab? Or black African? How can one tell which is which?


Via Norwegian Refugee Council []
Due to impossible working conditions in Darfur, NRC is forced to close down its entire humanitarian program in Darfur.

NRC's activities in South Darfur has been suspended for two months, the 5th suspension since the start up in mid 2004. NRC has been promised an answer from Sudanese authorities regarding the future status of NRC's humanitarian work in Darfur. However, that answer has not been given, forcing NRC to pull out.

Having repeatedly stressed that NRC is prepared to enter into dialogue with the Sudanese authorities regarding the resumption of our humanitarian work in South Darfur, this decision has been the most difficult I have had to make as Secretary General of NRC. We are all aware that the humanitarian needs are greater than ever in South Darfur, said NRC Secretary General, Tomas C. Archer, who recently met with the authorities both in South Darfur and Khartoum.

NRC's greatest concern is the 300.000 IDPs in South Darfur who from this week have been directly affected by the departure:

93.000 in Kalma camp
19.000 of these, children enrolled in our education program
128.000 in Gereida camp
10.000 in Otash camp
52.000 IDPs receiving food aid in Nyala

Closing down is the very last option. However, the frequent disruption of our humanitarian work, such as suspension for a sum total of 210 days, is forcing us to take this very difficult decision. We cannot work when the authorities suspend us continuously and do not respond to our repeated requests for dialogue aimed at addressing and resolving underlying reasons for this action, Archer said.

Head of International Department, Jens Mjaugedal +47 90 78 38 39
Media and Communications officer, Astrid Sehl +47 92 28 47 52
Related stories


Feb 14 2006 SLA shot down gov't helicopter in Shearia, South Darfur

Hyperlinks to following reports are in original entry:
Feb 7, 2006 Controlled anarchy at Kalma camp in South Darfur
Feb 4, 2006 South Darfur: Mershing's entire population of 55,000 fled to Menawashi after raids by Janjaweed
Feb 3, 2006 AU says SLA attacks in Shearia and Golo provoked Sudanese forces and prompted reprisal attacks by Janjaweed
Feb 1, 2006 South Darfur: Janjaweed attack IDP camps Kele, Silo, Tege, Um Gozein, Ton Kittir - Mass exodus from Mershing - Joint Sudan/AU forces to patrol?
Jan 29, 2006 Major escalation of violence in Jebel Marra Darfur forces aid agencies to evacuate - UN condemns attack by SLA on Golo
Jan 19. 2006 Firewood patrols for IDPs at Kalma Camp, South Darfur


Reminder: Norway's NRC has many large humanitarian programmes in Sudan, In Nyala South Darfur, NRC cooordinates humanitarian work in Sudan's largest camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs), Kalma, where 93,000 people live in temporary shelters. NRC distributes food to more than 50.000 IDPs in South Darfur, and it depends on a continuous monitoring of the security situation, which enables staff to implement field operations without in the process risking their own lives.

Apr 11 2005 Norway Post - Sudan International Donor's Conference held in Oslo - UN & Partners 2005 Work Plan - Sudan may face renewed civil war

Feb 2 2006 Controlled anarchy at Kalma camp in South Darfur, Sudan: 35 year old Andrew Heavens (pictured below) is a journalist based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Meskel Square is his weblog about Ethiopia. Here are some photos Andrew took during a three-day press trip to El-Fashir in Northern Darfur and Nyala in Southern Darfur with the African Union.

Andrew Heavens

Kalma Camp, South Darfur

Photo: African Union soldier controlling crowd at Kalma camp for internally displaced people near Nyala, southern Darfur, Sudan (Andrew Heavens

Mar 2 2006 Oxfam Children in Kalma Camp say "ok" to staying healthy:
Kalma is one of the largest camps in Darfur -- mile after mile of tightly packed shelters and rapidly constructed sanitation systems currently home to around 89,000 displaced people. As in most camps, the vast majority of residents are women and children. Two years ago there were just 19,000 people here, but rapid growth since then has created an abundance of health risks, to which children are the most vulnerable.:
Mar 11 2006 Norway's NRC concerned about UN aid cut in Darfur:
Norewegian Refugee Council report today says UNHCR's announced cut in activities in Darfur is another clear testimony that the international community and Sudanese authorities lack the ability to create the necessary humanitarian space for humanitarian actors to assist the Sudanese civilian population. :
Mar 20 2006 South Darfur's Kalma and Seraif Camp - Rape; Attempted Rape; Risk of Death Penalty

Apr 3 2006 What's going on in Janana, South Darfur? 60 villages attacked by Janjaweed while Khartoum "safeguards" Norwegians from being in Sudan for next 2 weeks?:
Sudanese authorities have refused to extend the mandate of the Norwegian NGO Norwegian Refugee Council which heads the main refugee camp in Darfur, sheltering some 100,000 people, the organisation announced on Monday. NRC is one of Norway's largest NGOs, with 1,300 people working for refugees and displaced persons.
Apr 3 2006 M&G - Norwegian NGO forced to leave Darfur refugee camp: :
Jens Mjaugedal, head of the organisation's international division, said in a statement,"We have not received an explanation why our presence is no longer desired."

Also, Jan Egeland has been asked by the Sudanese government to delay his visit to Darfur because it coincided with a Muslim holiday says the BBC. Sudanese foreign ministry spokesman Jamal Ibrahim said that in the light of the Danish cartoons row, it would not be sensitive or safe for a Norwegian such as Mr Egeland to visit.

AFP report says the Sudanese government denied barring Jan Egeland from Darfur, but instead asked his visit be delayed because of "popular sentiment". "Egeland was not barred from visiting Darfur but was only asked to postpone the visit due to the growing popular sentiment against the UN for its plans of deploying foreign forces in Darfur," information ministry official Bekri Mulah told AFP by telephone.

Jan Egeland told the BBC today the SLA helped provoke latest Janjaweed attacks in Janana. He said the Sudanese government, guerrilla forces and ethnic militia groups were all responsible for the current instability in Darfur. Egeland told the BBC he thought the Sudanese government did not want him to see the latest wave of "ethnic cleansing" against black Africans in South Darfur.
Apr 5 2006 Norway Post - Norway sends protest to Sudan:
Today, Norway has sent a note to Sudan, expressing the Norwegian Government's concern over the development of the situation in the country, Norway Post reported. The note points to the working conditions for the humanitarian organisations, the Sudanese authorities lack of ability to protect its own population and Jan Egeland being denied entry to Sudan. Norway has been heavily involved in the Sudan, both with emergency aid and in connection with the peace process to end the civil war between North and Southern Sudan.:
Apr 6 2006 Norwegian Refugee Council hopes to return to South Darfur: :
On Monday NRC was informed by the NRC's agreement with Sudan on camp coordination in Kalma camp would not be renewed. NRC was also informed that its presence in South Darfur was not wanted, and NRC was asked to leave the state. No reasons were given by the authorities as to why NRC had to leave the state of South Darfur. While this is being resolved, NRC continues its humanitarian aid programmes in North and South Sudan.:
Kalma Camp, South Darfur

Photo from Sudan Watch archive Feb 2006: African Union soldier at Kalma Camp, South Darfur. Sign says: "WE NEED INTERNATIONAL FORCE TO PROTECT US"

Apr 13 2006 Difficult journey for displaced Dinkas in Darfur returning home to Sudan's Northern Bahr El Ghazal province:
Concern is growing at the fate of thousands of displaced Dinka tribes people attempting to return to their homes in Sudan's Northern Bahr El Ghazal province from South Darfur, International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported 11 Apr 2006.

New life in South Sudan

Photo Feb 9 2006 The Dinka's epic trek across South Sudan continues - 250,000 cattle have arrived so far in 34 cattle camps around Bor. (Sudan Watch archive):
Kalma camp, South Darfur, W Sudan

May 8 2006 photo: Displaced Sudanese people hold up banners at Kalma Camp, 8 May 2006, where thousands demonstrated demanding international protection. The head of the African Union's executive said it was vital for the peace accord to end the civil war in the Sudanese region of Darfur to be implemented as soon as possible. (AFP/File/Jonah Fisher)

May 10 2006 South Darfur: UN evacuates Kalma Camp, after attack

May 11 2006 South Darfur's Kalma Camp residents attack AU police station and lynch to death AU interpreter

May 31 2006 Norwegian Refugee Council returns to Darfur after eviction

July 4 2006 Increased radicalisation of youth inside Kalma camp, South Darfur - Nighttime AU soldiers needed inside camp :
An analyst said the security situation in nearby Kalma camp had worsened since the signing of the Darfur peace deal on 5 May, adding that the worst attacks were taking place at night.:
July 29 2006 Aid group attacked in Deleig camp, W Darfur - 17 women raped by militia outside Kalma camp

Aug 23 2006 Kalma Camp, S Darfur: Resuming AU firewood patrols is vital: :
More than 200 women have been sexually assaulted in the last five weeks alone around Darfur's largest displaced camp, Kalma, IRC reported today via Reuters. The situation is so dire that about 300 women convened a meeting in Kalma on Aug 7 to plead for more help from the outside world -- particularly from African Union troops mandated to protect civilians.:
Nov 21 2006 S Darfur State expels Norwegian Refugee Council - Darfur has the world's largest aid operation with 14,000 aid workers
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UPDATE 9 Dec 2006: Thanks to Andreas of The Oslo Blog and Amnesty International Norway for picking up so quickly on above: see Oslo Blog and news of the event on Dec 16 calling on Norway and other countries to work harder to find a solution to protect civilians in Darfur.

Please forgive slow or non response to emails, comments and links. Believe it or not, many of these posts take time to put together even without commentary, due to amount of background reading beforehand. Usually, I scour through a few hundred news reports on Sudan most days and have done so since April 2004. Unfortunately, this blogspot has no 'categories' and a poor search facility, so I have to rely on my own memory to marry related reports. Luckily from the outset of this blog, I've been pretty consistent with key words in title of each blog entry which enables me to search on a particular topic. Now must rest while keeping eye on latest news. More later. Peace. Thanks for the links and notes.