Tuesday, February 28, 2006

UN envoy Jan Pronk cites Al-Qaeda threats to his own life and non-African UN troops deployed to Sudan's Darfur

Feb 28 2006 Bloomberg report reveals the UN's top envoy to Sudan Jan Pronk said intelligence shows there are "persons in Khartoum who were not there before," meaning al-Qaeda terrorists who have threatened his life and would act against any UN troops, particularly non-Africans. Excerpts:
"The government of Sudan has taken a strong position against the transition," Jan Pronk, the UN's top envoy to Sudan, told reporters in New York, referring to the planned shift from an African Union force in Darfur to UN blue helmets possibly backed by NATO. Pronk said the government in Khartoum fears the type of occupation of Sudan that the U.S.-led coalition has undertaken in Iraq.

The AU has about 7,000 soldiers in Darfur, a commitment that doesn't adequately protect villagers from militia attacks, Pronk said.

"They are in an extremely difficult position," he said of the AU troops. "There are places in Darfur where militias are assembling themselves in thousands and preparing attacks that take place. Three thousand men on camels and horseback ride into villages with army cars behind them."

Pronk said preparations for a UN mission to Darfur have also been thrown into doubt by the African Union's reconsideration of the transition. It is no longer certain what the AU, which initially supported the idea, will decide at a March 10 meeting on the issue, he said.

"We are in a stalemate politically," Pronk said. "The climate in Khartoum against the UN is heating up. There are threats, warnings about al-Qaeda."

Pronk said intelligence shows there are "persons in Khartoum who were not there before," meaning al-Qaeda terrorists who have threatened his life and would act against any UN troops, particularly non-Africans. Khartoum is Sudan's capital.

The US has circulated what US Ambassador John Bolton called "elements" of a Security Council resolution defining the mandate of a UN mission to Darfur. Bolton said there was no support for action on the text before the AU meeting.
Further reading:

June 20 2005 Al-Qaeda said angry at Sudan for passing data to US

Aug 30 2005 Is Al-Qaeda Moving to Africa?

Jan 31 2006 Sudan's Hassan al-Turabi harboured bin Laden

Refugees flee from Chad into Sudan's Darfur - Chad hosts about 300,000 refugees

BBC report 28 Feb 2006 says conflict in Chad has led people to cross the border into Darfur, the UN says. This reversal of previous refugee flows is "a worrisome new development", says the UN refugee agency. There are some 200,000 Darfur refugees in Chad. Between 8,000 and 10,000 including "an undetermined number" of Chadians are seeking help after a rebel attack.

Meanwhile, a senior British official has said he expects targeted sanctions, such as travel bans, to be imposed soon on about 10 Sudanese officials, accused of human rights abuses in Darfur.

Chad hosts about 300,000 refugees

AP report Feb 28 2006 says Chad hosts about 300,000 refugees and an indeterminate number of Chadians has joined a group of at least 8,000 people gathered around the Darfur border villages of Galu and Azaza. Others are believed to have fled to relatives living in the Galu area. Most of the Chadians in Sudan are women and children. UNHCR is trying to determine which people returning to Sudan were Chadians and if they should be considered asylum seekers

Note Feb 28 2006 NYT report Geneina, Western Darfur resembles a garrison town of six armed forces and Janjaweed - Refugee crisis grows as Sudan's war crosses into Chad

Egypt, Libya leaders reject UN Darfur force

AFP report 8 Feb 2006 reveals Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi rejected the replacement of an African Union force in Darfur by UN peackeepers, the Egyptian ambassador to Libya said.

Egypt, Libya leaders reject UN Darfur force

Photo: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (R) and Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, seen here during a September 2005 meeeting. (AFP)

Further reading

Feb 24 2006 Libya's Gaddhafi and Sudan's al-Bashir discuss Darfur crisis

Feb 26 2006 AU chair and Libyan leader Col Gaddafi follow up on Tripoli mini-summit

Feb 28 2006 Egypt's president visits Libya

Feb 28 2006 Libya's Kadhafi urges Africans to fund AU troops in Darfur

Abyei Boundaries Commission: Who bears the responsibility?

Note February 28, 2006 opinion piece at Sudan Tribune by UN Economic Affairs Officer Adam B. Elhiraika. It concludes by saying:
"Failure to reach an acceptable peaceful settlement to Abyei dispute will create a new "Kashmire" in which both Messeria and Dinka will suffer for a long time, possibly longer than the longest civil war in Africa in which the two tribes suffered the most among all other tribes in Sudan."
Further reading:

Aug 16 2005 Sudan: Abyei Boundary Commission report

Sept 26 2005 Text of the Draft of Interim Constitution of Southern Sudan

Oct 10 2005 Fighting feared in South Sudan's oil-rich Abyei region

AU Mediation regrets Slovenian initiative on Darfur

Sudan Tribune report Feb 27, 2006 says Sam Ibok, leader of AU Mediation Team appealed to the Government of Slovenia and other international partners to refrain from encouraging the Parties at the Darfur peace talks in Abuja to engage in "Forum Shopping", and stressed the need to avoid sending mixed and often confusing signals to the Sudanese Parties negotiating in Abuja.

The Slovenian initiative, outlined by Drnovsek in early February, includes a political solution similar to the one used to resolve southern Sudan conflict one years ago. The plan also includes provisions for ensuring security and special provisions that deal with the involvement of the international community in the peace process.

AU meeting on Darfur handover to UN postponed

Reuters report Feb 28 2006 says the AU meeting to make a final decision on a handover in Darfur, originally due to take place on Friday has been postponed until March 10 to give enough time for all those concerned in the Darfur crisis to attend, AU spokesman said.

Note, if the UN took over the AU Mission in Darfur it would be possible for UN peacekeepers to be given Chapter 7 mandate. Khartoum has insisted all along that the role of African Union troops in Darfur is to monitor a ceasefire, not as a protection force. The AU's security council could expand the mandate of its troops in Darfur anytime without a UN resolution. But Khartoum does not want the mandate expanded - ever. Perhaps someone like Libya's Col Gaddafi might persuade them otherwise. Who disarms first, the rebels or the Janjaweed?

The UN Security Council acted under Chapter VII of the UN Charter when it defined the Mandate for the UN Mission in Sudan to monitor the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CAP) signed between Khartoum and southern Sudan rebels in January 2005. If a Darfur peace agreement was brought under the umbrella of the CAP, one wonders if the 10,000 strong UN peacekeeping force for southern Sudan would include troops and equipment for Darfur. What a massive underaking. Sudan is the size of Europe. Darfur is the size of France. NATO has the technology to detect when raids are taking place. Surely Darfur needs to come under the CAP so that resources are pooled and shared to help quell anarchy in Darfur. Notice how the rebels in Eastern Sudan, who also feel their region, just like that of Darfur in western Sudan, has been marginalised, have been quiet of late.

Water to spark future wars: UK

Britain believes that climate change and the shrinking water resources could trigger armed conflicts in the future and wants to ready its army for such a possibility, The Independent reported on Tuesday, February 28. Full report at Islam Online Cairo February 28, 2006.

Note Feb 23 2006 Drilling for Sudan's drinking water is more important than drilling for oil - see how in Darfur handpumps are on the frontline of peacebuilding.

Libya's Kadhafi urges Africans to fund AU troops in Darfur

AngolaPress Tripoli, Libya Feb 28, 2006 reports Libyan leader, Mouammar Kadhafi has reiterated his call on Africa countries to fund the 7,000-strong African peacekeeping mission in Darfur:

"If Africa is unable to provide the funds for those troops, it could become an international issue with the intervention of international forces in Darfur, which would be tantamount to (another) colonisation of Africa," Kadhafi said Sunday at the opening of the People's General Congress of the African Youth.

He said Africans should be ware of the danger posed by the recourse to international forces whenever there was a problem in Africa.

"If we call in UN peacekeepers whenever a crisis breaks out, we are handing the continent over to (foreign) forces. Africa would then become a colony and a protectorate under international trusteeship," the Libyan leader cautioned.

He cited the Horn of Africa, Cote d'Ivoire, the Great Lakes region and southern Sudan as places where international forces had been deployed.

According to Kadhafi, Africa, which currently has 2.250 million soldiers and spends US$14 billion a year on armed forces, does not need international forces or funding to maintain its troops in Darfur.

He also urged African youths to work towards African unity and build a continental force to prevent the return of colonialism and slavery.

More than 1,500 youths representing various civil organisations from across the continent, are attending the three-day meeting.

Geneina, Western Darfur resembles a garrison town of six armed forces and Janjaweed - Refugee crisis grows as Sudan's war crosses into Chad

Chadian troops guard rebels

Photo: Chadian government troops guard rebel prisoners following an attack by Chadian rebels and army deserters on the town of Adre on the eastern border with Sudan, December 19, 2005. (Reuters).

Snippets from New York Times article Refugee Crisis Grows as Darfur War Crosses a Border by Lydia Polgreen February 28, 2006. Michael Kamber contributed reporting from Geneina the capital of Western Darfur, Sudan:

"You may have thought the terrible situation in Darfur couldn't get worse, but it has," Peter Takirambudde, executive director of the Africa division of Human Rights Watch, said in a recent statement. "Sudan's policy of arming militias and letting them loose is spilling over the border, and civilians have no protection from their attacks, in Darfur or in Chad."

That Chadian rebels have found sanctuary in Sudan is beyond doubt. Geneina, the capital of Western Darfur, resembles a garrison town; armed men from at least six forces are visible on the streets, as are Arabs in street clothes carrying AK-47's. Local residents identify them as janjaweed.

In the market in the evening, Chadian Army deserters wearing their distinctive turbans sit drinking tea, submachine guns beside them. Freshly dug machine-gun pits surround the police and army stations, and aid agencies are putting sandbags around their offices.

The Chadian rebels have new weapons, uniforms and vehicles, aid officials in Geneina said, leading many to conclude that they are getting support from the Sudanese government.

Chadian soldier

Photo: Chadian soldier on the streets of the border town of Adre (Claire Soares/IRIN)

With so much firepower on the Sudanese side of the border, residents in villages like Chad's Ade, south of Adre, have borne almost daily attacks.

"There is no security here," said Hisseine Kassar Mostapha, secretary general of the local government in Ade. "We are out here completely on our own, with no one to protect us."

Chadian soldiers

Photo: Chadian soldiers patrol dirt roads near the Sudan border (Claire Soares/IRIN)

The lack of security means little assistance from international aid groups. In Kolloye, 10,000 Chadians, refugees like Ms. Mahamat, live in roofless grass shelters that give little protection from the frigid night air and no shelter from the punishing desert sun. Water is scarce and food supplies are low, villagers said. The only assistance is a mobile clinic run by Doctors Without Borders that operates three times a week.

Full article reprinted at PoTP and The Tech.

Soldiers belived to be Janjaweed

Photo: Soldiers believed to be Janjaweed. [Sudan Tribune Feb 2006]

Monday, February 27, 2006

Food aid to Am Nabak camp in Chad suspended due to security concerns

UN Security Council met today, talks on Darfur sanctions are deadlocked. The US, Britain, Denmark and France argued certain individuals should be quickly designated as sanctions targets but China, Russia and Qatar called for more delay.

UN News Centre report Feb 27 says envoy Jan Pronk, travelled to South Darfur over the weekend, urging the parties there to exercise restraint and protect civilians. On 3 March, Mr Pronk is due to attend a ministerial meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council on the shift to a proposed Darfur peacekeeping force supervised by the UN.

Also today, JEM, one of the two main Darfur rebel groups, issued a press release saying protection of Darfur civilians, their honour and properties remains a top priority for JEM.

Meanwhile, in Sudan, between the 1st and 20th of February, the UN World Food Programme dispatched a total of 32,120 tons of food from logistical hubs to Darfur.

In Chad, the General Food Distributions for the month of February has been completed in all the camps except for Am Nabak, where distribution was temporarily suspended due to security concerns.

WFP plans to mobilize and distribute 731,000 tonnes of food to more than six million people across Sudan in 2006. In addition to general food distribution, assistance will be provided through support to recovery activities and therapeutic and supplementary feeding projects to ensure that the most vulnerable are reached.

Young people in Am Nabak Camp, Chad

Young women in Am Nabak Camp

Photo: Young women in Am Nabak Camp, Chad 17 March 2005. Aziza, the young girl on the left in this photo, fled to Chad in the wake of the violence in Darfur. Now, she lives in Am Nabak camp. She told RI about the difficulty of finding firewood in the area to cook with and the physical attacks on refugee women that have become so commonplace. In addition, many women have come to Chad without their husbands, often not knowing if they are alive, or simply hiding. Aziza's most pressing concern, though, is the lack of secondary school opportunities. She desperately wants to continue her studies. (Credit: Refugees International)

Young men in Am Nabak camp

Photo: Young men in Am Nabak camp, Chad 17 March 2005. These young men are frustrated that their lives have been put on hold since they fled the violence in Darfur and arrived at Am Nabak refugee camp in Chad. Mohammed, a twenty-one-year-old young man, said that his village was completely destroyed in the fighting and his entire family killed, forcing him to flee on his own to Chad. Mohammed told RI, "Life has really changed since I left my village and came here. Before the attacks, many of us were entering university and some were about to finish high school. Now there is nothing for us. We cannot continue our studies." This frustration was echoed by all the young men and the one young woman in the tent. (Credit: Refugees International)

WFP convoy crosses Libya-Chad border


September 8, 2004 WFP video clip shows the first WFP convoy to carry emergency food aid across the Sahara desert crosses the Libya-Chad border en route to Sudanese refugees in Chad.

Footage fed through WFP's own satellite link direct from the Sahara shows the trucks carrying 440 tonnes of wheat flour leaving Libyan territory and heading into Chad.

UN WFP convoy crosses Libya-Chad border
- - -

Quote of the Day

"Africa will change its destiny from one of decline to advance." - UK Prime Minister Tony Blair [Source: 10 Downing Street Big issues - Africa]

SSDF militia says USA planning to set up military base in S. Sudan

Report from Khartoum Feb 26, 2006 via Sudan Tribune claims the Southern Sudan Defence Force (SSDF) has warned the government of Southern Sudan of dire consequences, if it agrees to a plan by the USA to set up a military base in the region to protect the oil fields.
The official spokesman for the SSDF, Brig Mohamed chol al-Ahmar said if the government of Southern Sudan agrees to establish a US military base in the region, then it will be the biggest violation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

Al-Ahmar said "the agreement did not contain anything to the effect that a foreign military base should be established in the country to protect the oil fields." The US had recently declared its keenness to establish a military base in the south.

Head of the Church of England visits slums surrounding Khartoum

Today's Reuters report by Opheera McDoom says the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of more than 70 million Anglicans worldwide, appealed for religious tolerance on Sunday after arriving in Sudan. Excerpt:
"I shall want to know more about how you will come to have a full share in the good things of this country," Williams told the whooping Christians in his first public address.

After visiting one of the slum camps surrounding Khartoum, where millions of southerners fled during the war, he said he also wanted to work to ensure that when they decided to return home, there was food, water and roads for them to enjoy.
Head of the Church of England on peace visit in S Sudan

Photo: The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams (R) shakes hands with Sudanese Christian children before a mass at Emmanuel Church near Omdurman, north of the capital Khartoum where Islamic Sharia law is in force. As spiritual head of the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop is religious leader of more than 3 million southern Sudanese. During his stay, Dr Rowan Williams is expected to meet Muslim and Christian leaders and hold services throughout the country. (Reuters/Mohamed Nurledin) Full report.

Feb 27 2006 (Reuters) Archbishop urges Sudan to return Church lands

March 1 2006 (The Church of England Newspaper) Archbishops Sudan plea for tolerance

March 1 2006 (ReliefWeb) Archbishop of Canterbury meets Sudan's hungry children

EU concerned over security situation in Darfur - Irna

The EU Council of Foreign Mnisters Monday voiced concerns "that the security situation in Darfur remains serious," reports Irna 27 Feb 2006:

Holding its regular monthly meeting in Brussels, the council called on the parties to respect the ceasefire and urged them to negotiate in Abuja under the leadership of the African Union (AU) with urgency and in good faith.

It reiterated the EU's commitment to provide the AU with continuing support -- both political and financial -- and to the and policing components of the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS).

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Sudan's President Al-Bashir warns Darfur will be foreign troops' graveyard.

Sapa report Feb 26, 2006 via Andnetwork.com says Sudanese President al-Bashir warned Darfur would become a "graveyard" for any foreign military contingent entering the region against Khartoum's will, newspapers reported today.

In my view, for what it's worth, he is right. All the more reason to get waterpumps working in Sudan to help quell anarchy. Sudan could be the tinder box that sets Africa alight. As pointed out here several times over the past year, the stability of Sudan is fundamental to the whole of the African continent. Sapa report excerpt:

"We are strongly opposed to any foreign intervention in Sudan and Darfur will be a graveyard for any foreign troops venturing to enter," he [Bashir] was quoted as saying Saturday.

His comments came amid stepped-up efforts by the international community to send UN peacekeeping forces to war-torn Darfur in place of African Union troops, which have failed to quell the three-year-old bloodshed.

Beshir, who regularly accuses the United States and its allies of fomenting a conspiracy to plunder his country's resources, again accused the West of seeking to use the western region of Darfur as a launchpad to spread its interests in Sudan.

The United States, which currently chairs the UN Security Council, saw its hopes of clinching a resolution for a UN mandate in Darfur by the end of the month dashed but vowed to continue its efforts.

The transition is expected to be discussed during an AU Peace and Security Council meeting in Addis Ababa on March 3.

Beshir was also dismissive of the AU, which has hinted it would not oppose its own replacement by a UN contingent in Darfur.

"The African Union forces can leave the country if they believe that they have failed to carry out their duties," Beshir said.

The war in Darfur broke out in February 2003, when black ethnic groups launched a rebellion against Khartoum that was brutally repressed by the Arab Islamist regime of Beshir.

The combined effect of the war and one of the world's worst humanitarian crises has left up to 300,000 people dead and an estimated 2.4 million displaced.

There has been increased speculation that NATO would step in to operate the transition between AU and UN peacekeepers, an option supported by Darfur rebels but implacably opposed by Khartoum.

Beshir even found support for his resistance to a Western deployment among members of the opposition.

"We firmly reject any foreign intervention, particularly by the Americans, in Sudan," Fatima Ahmed Ibrahim, a communist MP, said Sunday at a parliament meeting.

Further reading:

April 27 2005 PAP urges Sudanese to disarm Janjaweed - Gertrude Mongella, President of PAP

Oct 24 2005 Calling Mama Mongella: The stability of Sudan is fundamental to the whole of the African continent

Oct 25 2005 Why wait on Darfur? UN could authorise cutting off Sudan's oil exports at Port Sudan

Jan 9 2006 As Darfur peace talks break for Muslim celebration, little progess reported - Who disarms first: Janjaweed or rebels?

Jan 26 2006 The children of Sudan are its future - Save the Children

Sudan's President Al-Bashir tells "Comprehensive Conference of Darfur People's Committee" 25 million dollars for water in Darfur unspent due to war

Report from Khartoum 25 February 2006 via Sudan Tribune says Sudanese President Al-Bashir reaffirms his government will not accept transfer of the mission of the African Union forces in Darfur to international troops.

Yesterday, in Khartoum, addressing at the Friendship Hall the committee of the "Comprehensive Conference of Darfur People" [see footnote], President Bashir accused foreign circles of targeting Darfur and Sudan. It would appear the president feels AU troops had entered Darfur according an agreement with Sudan's government but funding has now become an issue after two years and implies a change to the agreement.

Khartoum is selective when it comes to abiding by agreements. Two years ago, a ceasefire was agreed between Sudan's government and the Darfur rebels. Khartoum allowed AU troops to enter Sudan only on condition they were deployed as observers to monitor the ceasefire agreement, not as peacekeepers with a protection force mandate. Khartoum argued that a peacekeeping force would be perceived by locals as an occupying force and cause more fighting. Both sides broke the ceasefire agreement shortly after it was signed. For two years now, AU troops in Darfur have been monitoring a non existent truce and are (unfairly in my view) getting bad press and a poor reputation when in fact they have proved most tactful, diplomatic, professional and acted as good ambassadors of their home countries. AU soldiers in Darfur deserve medals for a tough job well done. Many news reports say the soldiers' presence does help displaced people, especially women and children.

Note, the report does not say if Mr Bashir explained that AU troops are funded voluntarily by donors whereas UN peacekeeping forces exist through a UN budget paid for by 181-member states.

Peace in Darfur could have been settled two years ago, when the death toll was reported as 10,000. To this day, the fighting in Darfur continues. Darfur death toll has risen to 400,000 or more. Janjaweed militia continue their attacks. Fighting is spreading over the border into Chad. UN admits its peace strategy has failed and 20,000 peacekeepers are now needed.

International donors cannot be relied upon on a month to month basis long-term. The UN has an ongoing budget for its peacekeepers. In a democracy, money in the public purse held by government comprises of taxes worked for and paid by citizens. Citizens have a say in how their taxes are spent. Their voices can be heard at the ballot box on election days.

How much longer does Mr Bashir think that donors, accountable to citizens, can carry on paying 17.5 million dollars each month for 7,000 AU troops in Darfur? Forever? 20,000 troops are needed because the Sudanese government continues to employ miltia as a security force to carry out raids on behalf of the government.

Sometime around the middle of 2004, Khartoum asked the UN for 90 days to rein in the Janjaweed militia. To date, there is still no news of one single Janjaweed camp being dismantled. The fact that none of the Arab tribal leaders lording over the militia are at the Darfur peace talks tells us they are represented at the talks by the Sudanese government.

Also, the report says President Bashir renewed keenness of his government to reach a settlement at the Darfur peace talks in Abuja and confirmed the government delegation at the peace talks is fully mandated. Also, re development and financing of projects in Darfur, he confirmed funds are ready but security problems had stopped implementation of the projects. He pointed out 25 million dollars was allocated for water in Darfur but not spent due to the security situation.

25 million dollars for water in Darfur? In December 2005, the AU said that it needed an extra 130 miillion US dollars to meet the demand of peacekeeping in Darfur. AU troops cost 17.5 million US dollars each month! Imagine how many water pumps could have been installed with that amount of cash to help reduce fighting over watering holes, land and livestock.

Governor of North Darfur chairs people's committee

Dec 19 2005 Sudanese News Agency Comprehensive Conference of Darfur People begins in Al-Fasher - The Wali (governor) of North Darfur State and chairman of the Comprehensive Conference of Darfur People, Osman Mohamed Yousif Kibir, said that the conference is taking place regardless of the participant's political or partisan affiliations, stressing that the freedom of expressing views is fully guaranteed to all the participants. Addressing the opening sitting of the conference Monday in Al-Fasher, the capital of North Darfur State, Kibir said that the goal of the Comprehensive Conference of Darfur People is the protection of Sudan's unity, peace and stability. He said that the conference was held for deliberations and discussion between the people of Darfur toward reaching agreement on the major issues and to give advice to both the government and the armed movements in Darfur for the sake of averting major sedition. [Article reprinted at ReliefWeb]

Chad-Sudan border peacekeeping force - AU chair and Libyan leader Col Gaddafi follow up on Tripoli mini-summit

On 24 February 2006 Angola Press says Libya's leader Col Gaddafi and Sudan's President al-Bashir discuss Darfur crisis.

Next day, Angola Press says Col Gaddafi and the African Union Chairman Congolese President, Denis Sassou Nguesso, held a telephone conversation late Thursday to follow up on outcome of African mini-summit held 8 February 2006 in Tripoli, Libya. Excerpt:
That summit ended with the signing of a peace agreement between Khartoum and N'djamena.

The telephone discussion between the two leaders is part of the permanent consultation process begun by both of them, a Libyan official source indicated here.

The African mini-summit for the appeasement of tension between Khartoum and N'djamena, sponsored by the Libyan leader, called on Chad and Sudan to ban immediately the presence on their territories of armed groups hostile to governments in either country.

In the "Tripoli Declaration" published at the end of the summit, delegates to the mini summit also called on both parties to abstain from interfering in their respective internal affairs and supporting armed groups active in either country.

The mini-summit further urged N'djamena and Khartoum to stop immediately their media campaign, as they constitute an obstacle to the restoration of peace and confidence between the two countries.

It also decided to deploy on the ground as a fact-finding mission as well as a peace and security keeping force to be pre- positioned at the border between Chad and Sudan.

Aside from Sassou Nguesso and Kadhafi, Presidents Hassan Al-Bachir of Sudan, Idriss Deby of Chad, Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso, Fran├žois Bozize of the Central African Republic and AU Commission chairperson, Alpha Oumar Konare, also attended the summit.

The leaders agreed to set up of a ministerial follow-up committee to hold regular meetings in order to assess the situation and support efforts by both countries in the quest of peaceful and negotiated solutions to the root causes of their conflict.

Sudan, Chad, Congo, Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic and the CEN-SAD general secretariat headed by Burkina Faso are members of the committee which will work in coordination with the AU Peace and Security Council, chaired by the office of the Libyan leader.

Head of Church of England arrives in Sudan on peace visit

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams has arrived in Sudan at the start of a week-long visit. As head of the Anglican Communion, the Archbishop is religious leader of more than three million southern Sudanese and most of his trip will be spent in the south.

Dr Williams said, "The Episcopal Church in the Sudan remains one of the key civil society organisations capable of delivering reconciliation and sustained development in the region. I am proud to be visiting them at this crucial time in their country's history and I look forward to supporting the work of the World Food Programme in Sudan. I am anxious to see governments, UN agencies and faith based organisations working together to strengthen all that makes for peace in a land that has known far too much of war."

Friday, February 24, 2006

Re Guantanamo Bay: Back the UN Human Rights Commission report, recommending that the US try all the detainees, or free them without further delay

Sudan Watch Intermission for this important notice.

Today, the UK's Independent tells us the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has launched a passionate attack on President George Bush, saying his administration's refusal to close the notorious Guantanamo Bay camp reflected "a society that is heading towards George Orwell's Animal Farm".
Dr Sentamu, the Church of England's second in command, urged the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) to take legal action against the US - through the US courts or the International Court of Justice at The Hague - should it fail to respond to a report, by five UN inspectors, advising that Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay should be shut immediately because prisoners there are being tortured.
Click here to see statement by Dr Sentamu on Guantanamo Bay.

Archbishop of York

Photo: The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu [photo: John Giles/PA]

Note Feb 17 2006 BBC report: Tutu calls for Guantanamo closure

Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay

Photo: Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay. Only a handful of the approximately 500 detainees have been tried. (BBC)

US diplomacy and drive stalls for quick UN vote on Darfur force - US and China's differing ideologies seem to be the root of Africa's troubles?

Sudan's President and the Chairman of the African Union Commission agreed at a meeting held in Khartoum Feb 15, 2006 that resolving Darfur should remain an African initiative.

Today, Reuters confirms the US, under growing pressure from religious groups to do more for Darfur, has found no support in the UN Security Council for a resolution before the end of this month on a future UN force in Darfur, US Ambassador John Bolton said Thursday. Excerpt:
At a UNSC meeting Thursday, all other council members argued a resolution should come only after African Union foreign ministers make a final decision on a handover, expected in early March, said diplomats present at that meeting. Prior to an AU move, everyone but Washington "agreed the council shouldn't be seen to be prejudging that decision," said one council diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because the meeting took place behind closed doors.
- - -

American diplomacy

Some statements by Westerners, who appear to want peace for Sudan, beggar belief. Here's one relating to Darfur, from an opinion piece authored by two Americans, John Prendergast and film actor Don Cheadle:
"The United States has to lead the diplomacy in the United Nations - especially with China and Russia. And the Europeans must pony up more money."
American diplomacy eh? I've seen Chinese pottery older than America. There would be no African Union if it weren't for the European Union's initiative and funding to enable Africans to apply solutions to African problems.
- - -

Comment received today at Sudan Watch from a UK reader

"China and the United States have switched positions. And the different ideologies seem to be the root of Africa's troubles.

China holds similar beliefs to those the US once held. "Business is business. We try to separate politics from business", said a Chinese Minister this year. "The business of America is business", said by US President Calvin Coolidge in the 1920's just prior to the Great Depression."

Libya's Gaddhafi and Sudan's al-Bashir discuss Darfur crisis

Here in England, it is difficult to gauge accuracy of AngolaPress when no other source reports same story. Once again, I am pointing out news from Tripoli because I like to hope that Libyan leader Col Gaddhafi is a good guy and well intentioned in his efforts to broker peace for Sudan. I believe they can pull it off and negotiate a peace deal that unites Sudan:

AngolaPress report Tripoli, Libya, 02/24/2006:
"In a telephone conversation on Thursday, Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bechir and Libyan leader, Col. Moammar Kadhafi examined the situation in Darfur, plagued by a bloody rebellion from two rebel movements since February 2003, official sources affirmed here.

President Al-Bechir earlier briefed the Libyan leader on the latest developments of the situation in Darfur, a region in western Sudan. Without giving details, the sources said the discussion was part of the co-ordination and permanent consultations between President Al-Bechir and Col. Kadhafi."
From Sudan Watch archives

Sudan Watch entry May 13 2005:

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi

Photo: Libya's leader Col Gaddafi leads noon prayers with a Sudanese delegation from Darfur before their meeting in his traditional tent in Tripoli, Libya, May 9, 2005. (AP Photo/Yousef Al-Ageli)

Note, in May 2005 the first flight taking food from Libya directly into Darfur took place as the UN's food agency launched a campaign to reach nearly 2 million people during the rainy season.

Libyan leader Moammer Gaddafi

Photo: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is greeted by rebel, tribal and opposition Sudanese leaders from Darfur at his tent in Tripoli, Libya, Wednesday, May 11, 2005. Two main rebel groups in Sudan's Darfur declared Monday their commitment to a cease-fire and to unconditionally resuming talks with the Sudanese government. (AP/Yousef Al-Ageli)

Darfur summit in Tripoli

Photo: Libyan leader Col Gaddafi (C) attends an African mini-summit on Darfur in Tripoli, Libya 16-17 May 2005. (AFP/Osama Ibrahim)

See Sudan Watch entry May 18 2005.

Further reading:

Aug 27 2004 Jesse Jackson visits Darfur and appealed to Gaddhafi to help solve the problem in Darfur.

Feb 18 2006 Tony Blair hails Gaddafi's efforts for Darfur.

Feb 21 2006 Libya's Gaddhafi and Senegal's Wade discuss African solution to Darfur crisis - United States of Africa?

Feb 22 2006 Libya arranges for AU-EU conference - Libya's Foreign Secretary met Tuesday in Tripoli with the Ambassadors of Spain, France and Italy who hailed Gaddhafi's humanitarian role in promoting peace, securing, and stability in Darfur.

Feb 23 2006 Libya offers African Union 100,000 troops, 1,000 tanks, 100 aircraft to close Chad-Sudan border.


Photo: Arab tribal leaders (from left) Ramadhan Daju Hassan, Mohammed Idris Maghrib and former member of parliament Obeid Habullah Dico calling for peace in West Darfur, Sudan. See Sudan Watch entry Sep 26, 2004.

Effective peacekeepers not wanted by Sudan - "Stewardship" suggests NATO provides expertise for expanded peace force

Strategy Page's snappy and insightful news round-up "Effective Peacekeepers Not Wanted" informs us:
February, 2006 The [Sudanese] government has made it clear that it would not approve the use of UN or Western peacekeepers in Darfur. This means the UN would have to "invade" Sudan to get effective peacekeepers into Darfur. This would cause an uproar among Moslem members of the UN, and is unlikely to be approved. Government backed bandits and militias continue to attack black tribes and refugee camps.

February 18, 2006 US President George Bush said that an effective peacekeeping force in Darfur might require twice as many troops as the African Union currently has in Darfur. The AU currently has 7000 troops in Darfur.) NATO "stewardship" of the peacekeeping mission may also be required. Bush put it bluntly: "The strategy was to encourage African Union troops to try to bring some sense of security to these poor people that are being herded out of their villages and terribly mistreated. The effort was noble, but it didn't achieve the objective." "Stewardship" suggests that NATO may help coordinate training, communications, maintenance, and logistics for the expanded peace force.

African Union seeks entry into UN Security Council

Information on Africa, especially Sudan, is coming from so many excellent sources, especially Sudan Watch readers. Comments and emails are warmly welcomed and appreciated, thank you.

Thanks to a non-blogging Sudan Watch reader here in the UK for posting commentary pointing us to an article in Namibian Environment News 24 February 2006 by Fluksman Samuehl, a former Member of UK Parliament and Karas Regional Councillor who is currently studying towards a Master's Degree in International Relations and Strategic Studies at the University of Lancaster in the UK. I have cross posted the article in full at PoTP 24 Feb 2006.

The British reader, who shares the same initials as this blog author, IJ, says:
"This article tells us that Africa is claiming a bigger role in the United Nations. The UN Millennium Declaration in 2000 was really a springboard for the African Union's petition for "two permanent seats with full privileges including veto power, and add five more non-permanent seats on the world's elite political platform, the UNSC."

However, even if the fundamental problem of economics is set aside, there remains an assumption that the 53 countries in the AU can agree common policies: it is pointed out that they still have no common foreign and security policy - but this is not unusual for an international grouping. See, for example, the confusion in the European Union or NATO.

Does Africa have the economic power for its ambitions? Chequebook diplomacy suggests that China is developing much influence not only in Sudan, but in many countries."
Note to Sudan Watch readers (who are from all over the world and many parts of Africa): please feel free anytime to comment or email news or links to reports for sharing here, even if it is just a few lines or photo. Email address is in sidebar. Thanks. Due to time involved in tracking news and posting at several blogs on humanitarian crises in Africa, it is not always possible to respond personally right away.

Ugandan rebels LRA looting S Sudan villages around Rojo, Kansuk and Rodo - SPLA pursuing LRA south of Juba

Report highlights of UN Sudan Situation Report 23 Feb 2006 - excerpt:

Recent reports indicate that the LRA has moved southwards near Kajo-Kaje province which is located south of Juba, The LRA looted the villages around Rojo, Kansuk and Rodo on 20 Feb., killing five people and wounding many others. The entire population has vacated the area. The SPLA is said to be pursuing the enemy. The incident has stopped the movement of civilians to Kajo-kaje.

South Sudanese in "LRA Triangle" flee Ugandan LRA rebels

Coalition for Darfur points us to a Sapa-AFP report 24 Feb 2006 that claims deadly raids by the LRA have forced scores of villagers in southern Sudan to flee their homes to spend nights in the bush fearing abductions and killings, a German humanitarian group has said.

Ex-Sudan opposition MPs reject UN Darfur force, blame government

24 Feb 2006 Sudan Tribune report says the former Sudanese opposition MPs rejected international efforts to have UN peacekeeping troops take over from African Union troops in Darfur. They also blamed the government for the current situation there. Excerpt:
MPs on the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) said they will not endorse government policies on Darfur but also reject the presence of UN troops in Darfur.

Communist party MPs, who are member of the NDA, blamed the government for allowing the situation to come to such levels by not implementing the Resolutions of the Security Council. They called upon the government to implement those resolutions and start disarming the Janjaweed, convene the National Comprehensive Conference and implement fully the CPA with the SPLM and Cairo agreement with the NDA.

Portrait of Sudan's Islamist leader Hassan al-Turabi

For a portrait of Sudan's "indestructible" Islamist leader Hassan al-Turabi, Bin Laden's protector in Khartoum, and the source of inspiration for the international Islamist movement, visit PoTP and read opinion piece by Christophe Ayad at Liberation (translated by BBC Monitoring Service and reprinted at SudanTribune 17 Feb 2006. Original text in French is available at http://www.liberation.fr/page.php)

Islmaist leader Hassan al-Turabi

Photo: Hassan al-Turabi

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Drilling for Sudan's drinking water is more important than drilling for oil

You can support the work of UNICEF by buying their Cards & Gifts online. Last year, instead of buying greetings cards and gifts from other stores online or local shops, I ordered one year's supply online at UNICEF. Three days later, the goods were delivered to my door by courier in a nicely packed box. T-shirts, toys and games for children were high quality. Excellent cards too. Sign up for their mail order catalogue and get stocked up on blank greetings cards, gifts etc. Spending in this way makes hard earned cash stretch into helping others.

Note, Peacekeeping waterpumps - East Africa a front in war on terrorism.

See how in Darfur, handpumps are on the frontline of peacebuilding.

South Sudanese drinks

Photo: Southern Sudanese drinks. (Courtesy UNICEF/ST)

Cholera kills 68 people, infects more than 2,933 in S Sudan's Juba and Yei

AFP news 21 Feb 2006 reports 68 dead in suspected Sudan cholera outbreak.

Cholera is transmitted by consumption of contaminated water and food and is linked to poor hygiene, overcrowding and inadequate sanitation. It leads to severe diarrhea and dehydration. Medecins Sans Frontieres said "a large outbreak can be expected" in Juba, a town with more than 250,000 people that "relies heavily on polluted water from the River Nile." Full report (AP/ST) 22 Feb 2006.
- - -

Using entrepreneurs to bring water and electricity to the world's poor

Sokari Ekine of Global Voices notes an amazing invention that may provide the water and power to many people in poor rural areas of the developing world and points us to Timbuktu Chronicles' 22 Feb 2006 blog entry on Using Entrepreneurs to bring Water and Electricity to the worlds poor.
- - -

UNICEF and ECHO bring clean drinking water to villagers in Sudan's Nuba Mountains

UNICEF report by Thomas Nybo 21 Feb 2006:

For people living in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan, central Sudan, getting enough clean water has long been a difficult task.

Working with ECHO, the European Community's Humanitarian Aid Department, UNICEF has turned the situation around, building and rehabilitating the region's water system to ensure more than 110,000 people have access to safe drinking water. Excerpt:

Many areas of the region have been affected by conflict which makes fetching water not only difficult but dangerous too. On top of that the existing water sources are inadequate -- many are equipped with hand pumps that are barely functional.

Drinking water is more important than oil

Photo: Children try a new hand pump installed by UNICEF and ECHO. (Courtesy UNICEF Sudan/2006)

The joint effort started with rehabilitation of some 200 hand pumps. Fifty new boreholes have been drilled and equipped with brand new hand pumps. Most of boreholes are built with concrete basins to collect spilled water, which can then be used for cleaning, gardening and the watering of livestock.

More time for education

"Now my children have plenty of time for other activities," says Ajuba El Zubier Mala, a mother of six. "In the morning, they collect water to bathe. Then they go to school. After school, they get more water and sometimes bring our small animals to the pump to give them water."

Having plenty of water hasn't made residents of Nuba Mountains forget about the hardships they once endured. When water was scarce, many women and girls had to carry the burden of collecting water for the families. Many girls missed out their education because they had to spend many hours each day fetching water.


Photo: With adequate water sources, children can spend more time on education. (Courtesy UNICEF Sudan/2006)

Clean water is also crucial to keep children and adults healthy. Mothers like Ajuba know all too well about ailments like diarrhoea and Guinea Worm disease, which are caused by unsafe water. Since the completion of the water project, few waterborne diseases have been reported across the region.

Water project continues

UNICEF and ECHO also conducted training sessions for local residents. About 300 people, half of them women, have gone through the training sessions and learnt how to maintain and operate the water pumps. Courses are also given to help children and families develop good hygiene practices. Nearly 500 people have been informed so far on how to prevent Guinea Worm disease.

One hand pump serves about 500 people

"One hand pump serves about 500 people, which is a very great number," explains Sulieman Hamad, Deputy Director of Water, Environment and Sanitation Project for the Government of South Kordofan. "We want to reduce this number to 250 because beside the communities we have animals. We must water them from these facilities."

UNICEF and ECHO continue to bring clean water to more children and families. In Blue Nile State, eastern Sudan, 50 new wells were drilled and equipped with hand pumps, while another 50 hand pumps were rehabilitated. Since the project began, more than 200,000 people have benefitted from the efforts of UNICEF and ECHO so far.

Baroness Cox of Queensbury on Southern Sudan, Darfur, Uganda and Nigeria - Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART)

Excerpt from Hugh Hewitt 12 Feb 2005:
Baroness Cox has been leading the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust for decades, and travels continually to bring aid and hope to the worst hell holes on the globe. "You meet the most amazing people in the darkest places," she told me today.

She joined me to day to discuss the grim realities of Darfur's ongoing genocide -- it hasn't stopped, it has just dropped from Western agendas-- the push by Islamists into southern Sudan, and the jihad underway in northern Nigeria. The transcript will be posted at Radioblogger.com.

UN envoy Jan Pronk admits peace strategy to halt "cleansing in Darfur" had failed - Let's hope Libyan leader Col Gaddafi succeeds in brokering peace

On 14 Jan 2006 UN envoy in Sudan Jan Pronk called for up to 20,000 UN peacekeepers to disarm militias in Darfur and admitted the peace strategy to halt "cleansing in Darfur" had failed.

British blogger Lord Soley of Hammersmith says:
I'm not optimistic about Darfur but the latest attempt by the US and UK to get a more effective peacekeeping force offers a glimmer of hope.
But UN troops, if they ever materialise, will probably not be in Darfur until late this year or next year. Meanwhile, how will Khartoum protect and take care of millions of defenceless Sudanese women and children ... There must be a solution. The onus is on the Sudanese rebels and Khartoum to come up with it. It is their country. They must take responsibility. My thoughts always seem to wander to Libya, how the Sudanese, Egyptians and surrounding neighbours listen to Libyan leader Col Gaddhafi. Surely he can do something to get the Janjaweed leaders and everyone else together to hammer out a deal. He speaks their language.

Feb 14 2006 Reuters report says NATO ready to help in Darfur, but not with troops

Feb 10 2006 Reuters report says NATO commander fears rapid-reaction force delay

Feb 18 2006 Tony Blair hails Gaddafi's efforts for Darfur

Feb 21 2006 Libya's Gaddhafi and Senegal's Wade discuss African solution to Darfur crisis - United States of Africa?

Feb 22 2006 UN can provide access to technology that could spot raiding parties approaching human settlements

Feb 23 2006 Libya offers African Union 100,000 troops, 1,000 tanks, 100 aircraft to close Chad-Sudan border

Signs of a clash of civilisations - FT on China: a new force in Africa's development

China is back in Africa in a big way, as the FT reports today, but this time Beijing's foreign policy is shaped by China's voracious development needs. We are only just beginning to grapple with the implications. The report concludes by saying:
For Africa, therefore, China's hunger for resources is a blessing that pulls in not just investment in Angolan oil or Zambian copper but in roads and schools too. But it could turn into a curse if it turns African leaders away from the hard choices of political and economic reform.
Thanks to a British Sudan Watch reader in the UK for pointing us to the report - and for posting the following comment at "Sudan rejects help to quell death and anarchy in Darfur":
Signs of a clash of civilisations. "Anarchy in Sudan threatens the stability of Africa. . . Drinking water is more important than oil."

But economics may be more important than politics, in 'one-size-fits-all'. An editorial today comments that China's commercial dealings with Africa could undercut "efforts by the African Union and western partners to make government and business more transparent and accountable. In summary, China's partnership "could turn into a curse if it turns African leaders away from the hard choices of political and economic reform."

The list of Sudan's trade partners suggests that China's economic involvement in Africa is becoming very influential. Is this a good or a bad thing?

Incidentally, China is still not a member of the G8 world economic grouping.

Forbes' list of the world's most corrupt countries includes Sudan, Chad, Nigeria, Kenya, DRC

ComingAnarchy.com publishes Forbes' list of the world's most corrupt countries and notes 9 of the 16 countries are in Africa. Sudan is one of them. See the list at Congo Watch.

Darfur peace talks nearing end - EU says Sudanese gov't and Darfur rebel leaders losing control as new elements wage wars - Onus on Khartoum re CAP

Yesterday, the European Union's special representative to Sudan Pekka Haavisto told a news conference that all the necessary elements for making decisions on power-sharing, wealth-sharing and security arrangements were on the table at the Darfur peace talks, but reaching a deal was not a guarantee for sustained peace. Excerpts from Reuters report:

"We are now in a situation where it could optimistically be said that the peace negotiations in Abuja are nearing their end," Haavisto said.

"In the European Union, there is a feeling that even if a peace deal is reached in Abuja, the means to realise the peace deal on the ground are lacking if the situation in Darfur worsens," he added.

Haavisto said a major problem was that the Sudanese government and the leaders of armed groups seemed to have lost control, and guerrilla groups had become bandit-like gangs that waged their own wars.

He said the worsening of relations between Sudan and neighbouring Chad was a threat to the entire peace process.

"This is a kind of nightmare that everyone has feared, that the situation in Darfur spreads across borders even more ... It is possible that this will add to the conflict completely new elements," Haavisto said.

When asked about the sustainability of any peace deal reached for Darfur, Haavisto said the onus was on Khartoum.

"We turn to Khartoum. If you want peace with Darfur, you need to work quicker to fulfil the peace deal between the north and the south. This is a question of Khartoum's own credibility," he said.

Libya offers African Union 100,000 troops, 1,000 tanks, 100 aircraft to close Chad-Sudan border

Feb 22, 2006 Al-Jazeerah news report re Libya's hosting of mini Africa summit does not say who would pay for 100,000 Libyan troops to patrol the Chad-Sudan border to stop armaments and insurgents from criss crossing the two countries. Excerpt:
Col Gadhafi said Chad and Sudan had "crossed a red line" with their war of words and called for their desert border to be sealed to prevent rebel infiltration in either direction.

"We can settle our problems ourselves," Col Gadhafi insisted, stressing that UN peacekeepers were not needed.

"Libya is ready to put 100,000 troops with 1,000 tanks and 100 aircraft at the disposal of the African Union to close the border," he informed at the summit. "All our forces are at the disposal of the African Union."

The Libyan leader said it was vital that the region's leaders agree on an "African solution" to the problem in order to "avoid foreign interference and keep the door firmly shut to outside machinations."
- - -

Mass migration, nomads, IDPs and illegal immigration

Libya's Foreign Secretary met Tuesday in Tripoli with the Ambassadors of Spain, France and Italy. During the meeting, they discussed illegal immigration and the special arrangements to hold a conference under the umbrella of the African and European Unions to deal with this phenomenon and take the practical measures that enable the Africans to stay in their countries by establishing agricultural and industrial projects and provide them with essential services.

Note Feb 22, 2006 UNHCR calls for European leadership to bridge gap between humanitarian assistance and development aid.
- - -

Africa's tragic borders and the illusory African brotherhood

Chenjerai Hove's opinion piece in The Zimbabwean on Africa's tragic borders notes African countries can loot across each other's borders, they can plunder wealth and lives across borders, but when it comes to proper official trade, they prefer the spoils of worthless wars. Zimbabwe and Uganda looted the DRC, and the African Union never protested, all in the name of the illusory 'African brotherhood.'

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Sudan's army and Janjaweed attack and destroy water pump, livestock and huts in villages Likalik and Al Amin, North Darfur

Armed forces supported by militia attacked two villages in North Darfur this week and an AU vehicle was assaulted and stolen, reports UN News Centre today. Excerpt:
Attackers stormed the village of Likalik and its market area and destroyed its source of water as they attacked the water pump area and killed many animals at the site, the UN Mission in Sudan reported today.

On Monday, the village of Al Amin came under assault and its market was raided and huts were burned. The same day, an armed group attacked a vehicle of the AU peacekeeping force, injuring AU soldiers and stealing the car.
Meanwhile, Jan Pronk said the AU Peace and Security Council will meet March 3 to explore how its security forces might make a shift to a proposed peacekeeping force supervised by the UN.

Arab Women Can Power Peace, Progress

Politicians have failed to bring about peace in many parts of the world. The Arab world in particular has suffered the most. There are many reasons behind the failed diplomacy. One of them is the absence of women in negotiations for peace.

Women so empowered can take an active role in ending hostilities, first and foremost by raising the next generation. If educated and enlightened they will be able to teach their children the importance of dialogue, opening channels to present their positions - but not in a combative manner.

Peaceful ways and means can be the weapons to end wars. Educated mothers can do that. Instead of having men negotiate settlements, why not allow those who suffer the most to resolve these conflicts?

Full story at Arab News 22 Feb 2006 Arab Women Can Power Peace, Progress.

Sudan ministers named in leaked UN Darfur list

Financial Times report Sudan ministers named in leaked UN Darfur list by Mark Turner at the United Nations 22 Feb 2006 - excerpt:
"Sudan's interior minister, defence minister and the director of its national intelligence service, are named in a confidential list of individuals who could be considered for sanctions by the UN Security Council over their alleged role in the conflict in Darfur."
[Note List of top wanted Janjaweed leaders - Who's who on Darfur (African Confidential) via Sudan Online Discussion Board 4/3/2005]

Cartoons led to attacks on aid workers in Sudan - EU Official

The European Union's representative to Sudan, Pekka Haavisto, said Wednesday that the prophet drawings controversy had led to attacks on foreign aid workers in Sudan.

"The Danish cartoon scandal did not help the situation (in Darfur) at all," Haavisto told reporters in the Finnish capital. "There were some attacks, that were driven by the cartoon scandal, against foreign aid organisations," Haavisto said, but didn't give details.

Full story AP/ST 22 Feb 2006.

Note, mainstream media can't report everything but uncensored bloggers are free to discuss anything.

OIC Meeting

This photo and excerpt from The Religous Policeman's blog entry entitled Emergency Meeting! - OIC Calls for Emergency Meeting - via Will the EU listen?

Britain warns Sudan: patience running out on Darfur

Washington Post reports Britain warns Sudan: patience running out on Darfur.

Sudan rejects help to quell death and anarchy in Darfur

Khartoum regime sound like they live on another planet. Today, Reuters says Sudan rejects UN troops for Darfur. The report quotes Sudanese Foreign Minister Lam Akol as saying the UN had not approached Sudan about the deployment of troops.
"Our position is if you have a problem you solve it. If the African forces are short of money, you provide them with money," he said.
Well Mr Akol, bandits and Arab militia are looting, attacking, maiming, raping and killing. You have a problem with your Arab militia, you solve it: disarm them or ask for the world's help. Anarchy in Sudan threatens the stability of Africa.

Listen up Mr Akol, news reports have said over and over again: the AU mission is dependent on the whim of donor nations, whereas UN peacekeepers are paid from the UN budget. So, please stop evading the issue of who is willing to protect the millions of defenceless Sudanese women and children. In Darfur, handpumps are on the frontline of peacebuilding. Stop talking hot air and wasting time at the expense of suffering civilians. Drinking water is more important than oil. Do and say something useful - like getting the good for nothing bandits and Janjaweed to build peacekeeping waterpumps.

Feb 17 2006 3.4 million people in Darfur depend on aid for survival

Feb 17 2006 6.7 million people in Sudan need aid despite good harvest

Feb 1 2006 6,100,000 Internally Displaced People in the Sudan - 770,000 fled elsewhere

Benn calls for UN force in Darfur

BBC report 22 Feb 2006 quotes Hilary Benn, who arrived in Darfur yesterday, as saying "We have to step up the international effort here in Darfur." He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme (see link in earlier entry here below):
"The security situation has deteriorated compared with last June when I was last here in El-Fasher.

"The rebels have been responsible for an increasing proportion of the attacks. The Arab militia are still at work.

"It really reinforces the point that we have to step up the international effort here in Darfur."
Note, the UN plan for an expanded peacekeeping force has been opposed by Sudan who said funding should go to the AU troops already there. Khartoum does not appear to want to understand that UN peacekeepers are paid from UN funds and AU troops are paid for by donors.

Khartoum ought to ask its Arab and African neighbours for double the amount of 10 million pounds it costs donors each month for African Union troops in Darfur. Sudan and chums insist on 'African solutions to African problems' but their solution appears to consist of eliminating people who get in the way. What exactly are Khartoum's other solutions, can anyone explain? Why aren't Arab tribal leaders attending Darfur peace talks?

Recently, Sudan spent 15m pounds on villas for a two-day African Union summit in Khartoum and who knows how much on two new presidential boats.

On 14 Jan 2006 UN envoy Jan Pronk called for up to 20,000 UN peacekeepers to disarm militias in Darfur and admitted peace strategy to halt "cleansing in Darfur" had failed.

Also, on Jan 14 news reports said British troops may join UN Darfur force as the UN is to ask Britain to provide troops for a beefed-up peacekeeping force. 13 Jan 2006 British military sources said that Britain would actively consider such a request.

Benn: Time is running out for people of Darfur - UK donates 40m pounds to humanitarian fund for Sudan plus 23m pounds to NGOs

UK government Press Release 22 Feb 2006 says the international community is running out of patience with the crisis in Darfur, Hilary Benn, International Development Secretary, said today as he pledged 40 million British pounds for a new Common Humanitarian Fund for Sudan, including Darfur, and called on other donors to commit to the fund.

He also announced the UK's contribution of a further 23 million British pounds for NGOs - 5 million pounds of which will go to the IC Red Cross for tools, seeds etc., to help some Sudanese people grow their own food.

Important BBC Four Radio Interview with Hilary Benn: Sudan's curfew hinders Darfur peacekeepers and aid workers

Thanks to a British Sudan Watch reader in the UK for posting the following comment and link to interview with Hilary Benn:
"The short-term incentive for other states to send peacekeepers to Sudan's Darfur is of course missing. But a more serious problem is how to moderate the rights of a sovereign government.

A recent post here reports: Sudan is hindering the African Union's ability to monitor a ceasefire in Darfur by imposing a curfew and restricting airport access, the head of the mission said on Tuesday. . . [UK Cabinet Minister Hilary Benn] urged the local state governor to lift the curfew. "I can see no justification for imposing a curfew on peacekeepers".

The UK Minister talked this morning (22/2/06) about the possibility of a UN mission for Darfur. He said the Sudanese government may be failing to meet the obligations it has entered into for protecting its people. If this is the case, the international community should act. If it does, Sudan shouldn't be able to impose preconditions on such UN official missions as it is doing on the AU at present."
This morning, I started transcribing the interview but it is taking me too long to type. Here's what I have so far - will add more later if able to transcribe more:

Hilary Benn

Photo: Hilary Benn

BBC interviewer: A ceasefire was signed in Darfur in April 2004. It's been widely ignored. Raids by the Janjaweed militia are continuing despite the presence of African Union peacekeepers. A curfew imposed by the Sudanese government is intefering with the AU's ability to stop the atrocities that's something the Intenrational Development Secretary Hilary Benn says he'll puruse when he meets members of the Khartoum government today. His visit to the area comes as the US is increasing the pressure on the UN to pass a resolution before the end of this month authjorising UN peacekeepers to replace the AU forces. Well I spoke to Hilary Benn a little earlier and asked him first to describe the conditions for people in Darfur

Mr Benn: The conditions in the camps are OK, the huge humanatarian effort in darfur over last 2 years or so means the people are getting food and water I have to say the seucurity sistuion has deteriored compared with last june when I was in El-Fasher and I have been talking to the AU force commander about that. The rebels have been responsible for an increasing proportion of the attacks. The Arab milia are still at work. There are people in the second camp I visited this afternoon who'd fled recently from a town called Shearia where there's disturbances and violence going on as we speak and it really reinforces the point that we have to step up the international effort here in Darfur to protect people while at the same time putting pressure as Jack Straw did last week in Nigeria on those who are talking part in the talks in Abuja because only a political settlement is going to allow the people I spoke to in the camps to ...

BBC interviewer: Going back to the distressing news you bring are you saying the Sudanese government are colluding in that violence?


Further reading:

Feb 2 2006 US, UK move to get UN troops into Darfur

Feb 3 2006 UK sets list of priority actions on Darfur for new Sudanese Government of National Unity

Feb 4 2006 UK offers Sudan gov't 7-Point "Plan for Peace" in Sudan

Feb 13 2006 British PM Blair vows to keep up pressure on aid for Africa

Feb 13 2006 British PM Blair writes "Towards real action in Africa" - AU Standby Force of 20,000 personnel

Feb 13 2006 Britain's top diplomat Straw to attend Darfur peace talks

Feb 14 2006 Britain's top diplomat Jack Straw at Darfur peace talks - Warns of sanctions

Feb 14 2006 AU top mediator hails UK efforts to bring peace in Darfur

Feb 15 2006 TEXT: UK Foreign Secretary's speech to Darfur peace talks

Feb 16 2006 Darfur: Stop the killing, or pay the price warns Britain's Foreign Secretary Jack Straw

Feb 18 2006 Africa A New Agenda - How Africa Can Succeed, by UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Jack Straw

Feb 20 2006 UK's Cardinal O'Brien with SCIAF in the Sudan sees hope amid horror of African nightmare

Feb 21 2006 UK urges lifting of Sudan curfew - AU says curfew hinders Darfur peacekeepers

Feb 21 2006 Benn: UK to provide 20 million pounds for African Union mission in Sudan

Feb 28 2006 Tony Blair hails Gaddafi's efforts for Darfur

Jack Straw

Photo: British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, pictured here in January 2006, called on his Sudanese counterpart Lam Akol to accept the deployment of UN peacekeeping troops to help resolve the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. (AFP/POOL/File/Carl De Souza)

Displaced people in Darfur Sudan

Photo: A general view of a Sudanese internally displaced people camp housing over 730 families, December 3,2005. NATO allies would look kindly on new appeals for back-up help to African troops in Darfur, but rule out for now a major deployment of their own, NATO diplomats said on Tuesday. (Reuters/Antony Njuguna/Yahoo News)

See NATO ready to help in Darfur, but not with troops Feb 14 2006 (Reuters).

Tony Blair in Khartoum Sudan

Photo: Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir shakes hands with British Prime Minister Tony Blair at the presidential palace in Khartoum in Sudan, Oct 6, 2004. (AFP/Sudan Watch archive)

Bump up Darfur on NewsBump.net - where YOU decide what's important

Interesting new site NewsBump.net - where YOU decide what's important.

[Via a comment at The Little Green Blog's post on the resignation of Harvard's president, divestment and Darfur - excerpt:
"In my opinion, activist movements from across the spectrum of strategies and political beliefs have played the largest role in bringing Darfur to the forefront. But I don't really care if people agree with me or not, because the world is taking action, and this genocide will end."]
More on Lawrence Summers' resignation at Jim Moore's Journal.

UN can provide access to technology that could spot raiding parties approaching human settlements

Excerpt from Associated Press report 21 Feb 2006 UN envoy denies Sudan's accusation :
"I am not going to have a discussion with the government through the media," Pronk told reporters at the weekly U.N. press briefing Tuesday. "I can only say the following: the UN is acting within its own mandate.

"We are not overstretching our mandate, and I have always been completely impartial," Pronk said.

Pronk said the AU forces hadn't managed to stop militia and rebels from killing civilians in Darfur, and that what we needed was advanced technology that could spot raiding parties approaching human settlements.

"I don't think African countries have that technology," he said.
No doubt NATO have the technology. Why this monitoring technology is not part and parcel of a ceasefire agreement is beyond me. Whoever breaks the ceasefire agreement goes to jail. Darfur war criminals are continuing to get away with murder. Maybe the hold up on employing this technology in Darfur is due to the African Union not requesting the help offered by NATO? Or Khartoum stopping the African Union from requesting UN/NATO's help?

Sudan's "Hakamaat" find their voice again - Modiba's Afropop Darfur benefit CD

Canadian Leslie Morris, a public health promoter for Oxfam in North Darfur explains that Oxfam has "enlisted the hakamaat -- traditional women storytellers -- to help to promote potentially life-saving public health messages, such as washing your hands and storing drinking water safely. These messages may seem simple, but in overcrowded camp conditions they can literally make the difference between life and death.

Modiba's Afropop Darfur Benefit CD

Hakamaat women, old and young, are prevalent in almost every village in Darfur and traditionally serve a very important role: to spread important news and to help mark and celebrate notable events. But they are also highly effective social mobilizers."

Read all about it - and the Afropop CD to benefit Kebkabiya, a small town in North Darfur where the hakamaat are back in business - at Patrick's blog The Horn of Africa: Darfur.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

UK urges lifting of Sudan curfew - AU says curfew hinders Darfur peacekeepers

Reuters report 21 Feb 2006 by Opheera McDoom says Sudan is hindering the African Union's ability to monitor a ceasefire in Darfur by imposing a curfew and restricting airport access, the head of the mission said on Tuesday. Excerpt:
"Of course with the curfew, the airport shut, there are some constraints because if we cannot move about in that hour we cannot know what the government is doing in that hour," said Collins Ihekire, head of the AU military mission in Darfur.

Ihekire said the government had been flying helicopters offensively, a breach of the ceasefire signed in April 2004, which has since been widely ignored. Last week rebels shot down a government helicopter in South Darfur and captured a pilot alive and are still holding him.

"Those were helicopter gunships supporting their troops fighting with the SLA (Sudan Liberation Army) ... offensive flying," he added of the two helicopters the government used in the attack.

The government has imposed a curfew in el-Fasher from 2100 until 0630, U.N. officials said. The AU also says the airport in el-Fasher, the force headquarters, is closed from 1800.

Benn urged the local state governor to lift the curfew. "I can see no justification for imposing a curfew on peacekeepers," he said.

A state minister, Adam Haribush, told Benn that rebels were seeping into the town at night and it was impossible to differentiate the AU forces from rebel troops.

"The rebels are even within the AU base and are taking their cars to go around the town at night," he declared in Arabic, but which the government translator did not repeat in English.

The AU's Ihekire told Benn the Sudanese army was also using white helicopters and vehicles, the same colour used by the AU peace monitoring force and aid agencies working in the vast region, which compromised their neutrality.

Benn: UK to provide 20 million pounds for African Union mission in Sudan

Press Release UK government 21 Feb 2006 via ReliefWeb:

Hilary Benn, International Development Secretary, today announced an additional 20 million pounds of UK support for the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) during a visit to El Fasher, Darfur.

Mr Benn discussed the current security situation and plans to hand over peacekeeping in Darfur to a UN 'blue-hatted' force with Major-General Ihekire (the AMIS force commander) and said:

"I have seen firsthand today how AMIS soldiers and police on the ground are making every effort in difficult circumstances to protect the lives of the people living in the Darfur camps. But talking to women who were forced to flee their homes, it is clear that they don't feel it is safe to go back.

"Funding for AMIS is running low, and the international community must do more to ensure the African Union can operate effectively, as preparations are made for a handover to the UN. Improving security must be the priority. This means predictable, sustainable support for AMIS and I am confirming that the UK will provide a further 20m pounds for this. The UK stands ready to provide equipment, fund essential expenses, for example fuel costs, and provide experts to strengthen AMIS headquarters and operations.

"I urge other donors, who along with the UK will be attending a pledging conference in early March, to join us in committing significant additional resources to ensure that AMIS gets the support it needs."

Notes to editors

1. The UK has already committed 19m pounds funding this financial year to the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS). This money is providing equipment, including over 900 vehicles, military and civilian policing advice, expertise and training, airlift of troops into Darfur, and further troop rotation. Today's announcement brings our total contribution to AMIS since its inception to almost 52m pounds.

2. The UK will work with AMIS to ensure the additional funding announced today is put to best use. While exact requirements are still unclear, we expect funding to provide support for core running costs and any additional experts required. As part of this support we will pay for AMIS' fuel requirements for their ground vehicles.

3. The AU has decided in principle that it will ask to hand over responsibility for peacekeeping to the UN. The AU's Peace and Security Council will meet on 3 March and is expected to agree formally the handover to the UN.

4. A pledging conference will take place in Brussels on 8 March. If a formal decision about handover has been made, the pledging conference will aim to remove uncertainty about AMIS funding until the transition to UN. Cash reserves are currently running critically low.

Sudan raps UN envoy Jan Pronk

Comments from UN secretary general Kofi Annan's representative Jan Pronk and his aides had "impaired the country's sovereignty and marred its image abroad" says Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Keerti. Naughty UN ;)

See BBC report Sudan attacks UN envoy on Darfur.

HRW has evidence of Sudanese Janjaweed attacks in Chad and calls for sanctions against Janjaweed leaders Hamid Dawai and Abdullah Abu Shineibat

Reuters report by Opheera McDoom 21 Feb 2006 says Chadian farmers are being beaten, harassed and killed in raids by Sudanese militia, at times with support from Sudanese army helicopters, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report 21 Feb 2006. Excerpt:

The [HRW] report quoted dozens of interviews with some of the tens of thousands of Chadians who have fled their homes, flooding already overcrowded refugee camps along the long and porous Chad-Sudan border.

A 51-year-old Chadian farmer interviewed by Human Rights Watch said the Janjaweed were targeting non-Arab tribes.

"This is not your land. ... If you stay you will be killed, but if you run we won't kill you," he quoted the Janjaweed as saying when he fled his land.

HRW said it had evidence of Sudanese army involvement in the militia attacks and had documented at least four attacks by Sudanese armed forces on eastern Chadian villages.

"Witness accounts and physical evidence indicated that government of Sudan troops and helicopter gunships participated directly in attacks, while many people reported seeing Antonov aircraft approach from Sudan, circle overhead, then return to Sudan in advance of Janjaweed raids," the report said.

The New York-based rights group said Hamid Dawai and Abdullah Abu Shineibat, who they described as Janjaweed leaders with known links to the Sudanese government, were involved in the attacks and should be subject to a UN imposed travel ban and asset freeze.

One 50-year-old man interviewed by the rights group said he fled an attack on his village to a refugee camp in Darfur. Now he's fleeing insecurity from inside the camp.

"If they like your wife, they take her," he said of the Janjaweed in the camp. "Even the soldiers enter the camp and behave like the Janjaweed."

Postcard from Darfur

Image: Janjaweed - See HRW 21 Feb 2006 - Darfur Bleeds: Recent Cross-Border Violence in Chad
- - -

Confronting War Crimes in Africa

Note this excerpt from the U.S. Hearing Before the Sub Committee on Africa of the Committee on International Relations House of Representatives June 24, 2004:

"Credible organizations have reported the following individuals of the Jingaweit bear responsibility for the atrocities that have occurred there. While we know there are others, the United States is working to determine their culpability and the culpability of others who support them. Some of the individuals are Musa Hilal, a Jingaweit coordinator; Hamid Dawai; Abdullah abu Shineibat; Omar Babbush; Omada Saef; Ahmad Dekheir; Ahmed Abu Kamasha. These people need to be investigated and brought to justice."

List of top wanted Janjaweed leaders - Who's who on Darfur (African Confidential)

Via Sudan Online Discussion Board 4/3/2005 - copy in full for future reference.

Quote: Who's who on Darfur (African Confidential)

The United Nations International Commission of Inquiry's report into the atrocities in Darfur names 51 individuals it recommends for prosecution at the International Criminal Court. The file has been sealed, to be opened only by a 'competent prosecutor'.

The names of many people involved in Darfur policy have been published by governments, the United States Congress, human rights organisations and the media since the genocide/ethnic cleansing got under way in earnest in early 2003.

A 2004 Congressional report lists Vice-President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha as at first in 'charge of the offensive in Darfur' and later 'the key player behind the scenes', according to 'US and regional officials'. Other policy-making officials listed here and elsewhere include:

Lieutenant General Nafi'e Ali Nafi'e, seen as second-in-command on Darfur: Federal Government Minister, ex-External Intelligence boss;
Major Gen. Salah Abdullah 'Gosh', as third-in-command on Darfur: intelligence chief;
Maj. Gen. (Air Force) Abdullah Ali Safi el Din el Nur: State (junior) Minister for Cabinet Affairs and ex-North Darfur Governor; described in Congress members' June 2004 letter to President George W. Bush as 'General Coordinator of Janjaweed';
Colonel Ahmed Mohamed Haroun: Minister, Internal Affairs, former People's Police Force chief;
Ali Ahmed Kurti, Minister, ex-head People's Defence Force militias;
El Tayeb Ibrahim Mohamed Kheir (El Tayeb 'Sikha': Iron Bar): Presidential Security Advisor, ex-Darfur Governor;
Gen. Mutref Sideeg: Foreign Affairs Under Secretary; The published part of the US State Department's List of Janjaweed commanders comprises:
Musa Hilal Musa: Janjaweed coordinator and Buffalo Brigade (Liwa el Jamous) commander;
Brigadier Hamid Dawai: Terbeba-Arara-Beida area leader;
Abdullah Mustafa Abu Shineibat: Habila and Foro Burunga area;
Omada Saef: Misterei area;
Omar Babbush: Habila and Foro Burunga area;
Ahmed Dekheir: Mornei area;
Ahmed Abu Kamasha: Kailek area;The US Congress members' letter names as 'supervising and controlling Janjaweed activities and operations' several of the above, plus:
Abdel Hamid Musa Kasha: Commerce Minister;
Gen. Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein: Internal Affairs and Police Minister;
Maj. Gen. Adam Hamid Musa: South Darfur Governor;
Brig. Mohamed Ahmed Ali: Director, Riot Police, which attacked Darfur displaced people in Khartoum in March 2004;
Mohamed Yussef Abdullah, State Minister, Humanitarian Affairs; The Congress letter names a 'Coordination and Command Council of Janjaweed':
Lt. Col. (Abdel Rahim Ahmed Mohamed) 'Shukratallah': El Geneina;
Ahmed Mohamed Haroun: see above;
Osman Yussef Kebir: Governor, N. Darfur;
El Tahir Hassan Abboud: National Congress Party (ruling NIF faction);
Mohamed Salih el Sanusi Baraka: National Assembly member;
Mohamed Yusef el Tileit: State Minister, Western Darfur;
Maj. Gen. Hussein Abdullah Jibril: National Assembly;As field commanders, along with Musa Hilal and Hamid Dawai, theCongress members list:
Brig. Abdel Wahid (Said Ali Said): Kebkabiya area;
Brig. Mohamed Ibrahim Ginesto;
Maj. Hussein Tangos;
Maj. Omer Baabas;Also potentially of interest in their military/political roles are:
Gen. Abdel Karim Abdullah: intelligence chief;
Gen. Awad Ibn Auf: Military Intelligence chief;

Gen. Bakri Hassan Salih: Defence Minister;

Lt. Gen. Omer Hassan Ahmed el Beshir: President