The Darfur Consortium

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Darfur in the News

U.S. and European Media

August 8, 2023

Reuters: U.N. Has Enough Infantry For Darfur; Needs Aircraft. The United Nations has enough pledges for infantry soldiers, mainly from Africa, for the new Darfur force but needs specialists and attack helicopters from rich nations, U.N. officials said on Tuesday. The "hybrid" U.N.-African Union operation aims to protect civilians in Sudan's Darfur region, where more than 2.1 million people have been driven into camps and an estimated 200,000 have died in the past four years. The operation is expected to cost more than $2 billion a year plus start-up costs. The task in Darfur is daunting, with limited water supplies, sand storms and the nearest seaport in Port Sudan, more than 1,200 miles from Darfur, Jane Holl Lute, the assistant secretary-general in peacekeeping told reporters. In October, the United Nations hopes to have set up a headquarters for the joint force, which will absorb the 7,000 African Union troops now in Darfur. The full transition to the hybrid force is expected by December 31. The largest offers of new infantry troops have come from Rwanda, Ethiopia and Egypt, all African nations, with pledges from Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda as well as Asians Bangladesh, Jordan, Malaysia, Nepal and Thailand, U.N. officials said. Police units are pledged from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Egypt, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal and Pakistan. "We are meeting the objective of a predominantly African force," said Lute, a retired U.S. army officer and lawyer. Boots on the ground, she said, were not a problem but the operation needed attack helicopters, engineers and people who could supply and drive huge rigs of cargo from Port Sudan in the northeast to Darfur in the west.

Reuters: Darfur Rebels Say They Shot Down Government Plane. Darfur rebel commanders said on Wednesday they had shot down a government MiG 29 plane they say was bombing civilian villages in their areas in Sudan's Darfur region. "We have downed a plane - MiG 29 around 4.5 km south of Adila yesterday around 5 p.m. (10 a.m. EDT)," commander Adel Aziz el-Nur Ashr from the Darfur rebel Justice and Equality and Movement (JEM) told Reuters by telephone. Adila is in the far east of South Darfur state. Last week the government accused JEM of attacking the government controlled town. JEM said the government attacked their areas around Adila ahead of a U.N.-African Union mediated meeting of rebel factions in Tanzania to renew the peace process. "We are looking for the pilot," said Ashr. "We have the body of the plane." Neither the United Nations, nor the AU, which is monitoring a shaky ceasefire in Sudan's arid west, could immediately confirm the report. A U.N. report said the government had been bombing in Darfur until the end of June, which would violate U.N. Security Council resolutions banning offensive flying.

Washington Post: Activists Urge Sudan To Release Key Rebel. U.S. legislators and activists intensified their appeals for the release of a key west Sudan rebel leader and humanitarian coordinator who was once a vital link between relief organizations and insurgents. Meanwhile, Sudanese officials indicated yesterday they would release Suleiman Jamous if given guarantees he would not rejoin armed rebels in Darfur. Analysts and scholars remained skeptical that the Sudanese government would abide by a pledge not to rearrest Jamous. But the presence of U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, who is expected in Khartoum on Saturday, would likely deter such an action. Jamous was the humanitarian coordinator for the rebel Sudan Liberation Army for three years before being arrested more than a year ago by rival rebel chief Minni Minawi in the village of Bir Maza. Most observers insist Jamous's presence in the wake of peace talks this past weekend in Arusha, Tanzania, is necessary to keep western rebel groups unified, which has been a main challenge in recent months. In a letter to the U.S. special envoy for Sudan, Andrew S. Natsios, Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) said Jamous was essential to the creation of lasting peace in Sudan. "Suleiman Jamous' participation will be important to help ensure that the peace process re-launched in Arusha can be consolidated. . . . His engagement, particularly with the disparate rebels, will inject critical credibility into the next stage," Feingold wrote in a letter yesterday. "He is an elderly man in poor health, needing treatment that he cannot obtain in Kadugli."

The Times (London): Olympians urged to make a stand against China’s betrayal of Darfur. With a year and a day until the start of the Beijing Olympic Games, plans are being put in place for the biggest peaceful political demonstration by international athletes ever staged. Sportspeople are not exactly synonymous with global altruism but a year from now, when a medal-winner in Beijing is afforded their moment at the microphone to address the world, they will talk not of personal fulfilment or the love and support of their parents or endorsement deals, but of Darfur and how the involvement of China is fuelling the genocide. Joey Cheek, who is behind the campaign, hopes to have 1,000 athletes bearing that message as they fly to the Games. Imagine that: medal-winners all over the Olympic city talking about their Olympic hosts, arms and oil trading with Sudan and the deaths of more than 200,000 people. Unlikely? Yes, Cheek concedes, “but we’re Olympians, we’re used to attempting the impossible”. Cheek is an American speed-skater who won a gold medal at the Turin Olympics last year but claimed far more media space for what he did in his press conference afterwards. He chose not to talk about his achievement — “I love what I do”, he said. “But it’s honestly a pretty ridiculous thing. I skate round the ice in tights, right?” — and talked about Darfur. He donated his $25,000 (about £13,000) medal bonus to a charity for Darfur refugees and he challenged other athletes and sponsors to follow suit. 

Reuters: Berkeley Scientists Work Scrap Metal For Darfur. In the last 70 years, researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California have smashed molecules, analyzed cosmic rays and used supercomputers to simulate the earth's climate. Now, scientists there have created a device that, though it can be built out of scrap metal, has the potential to alleviate suffering for some of the 2.2 million displaced people in Sudan's troubled Darfur region. The device is a wood-fired stove, meant to replace the traditional campfire over which the refugees -- mostly women and children -- typically boil water and cook powdered grain into bread. These fires are so inefficient that for many refugees, each day has meant a new struggle to find, or buy, enough wood to survive. That's where Dr. Ashok Gadgil comes in. The Indian-born physicist told Reuters that once he learned about the refugees' plight, he was gripped by a vision of a more efficient stove that could reduce the number of exhausting wood-seeking journeys on which women are vulnerable to attack. Some women, he recalled, were initially hesitant to cook using the unfamiliar gadget. But with time, they confided that "every night we move it to near our bed, because this is our most prized possession." Ken Chow, a Berkeley colleague recruited by Gadgil to fine-tune the design, transformed the prototype so it could be manufactured using locally available tools and, if necessary, without electricity.


The Darfur Daily News is a service of the Save Darfur Coalition.  To subscribe to the Daily News, please email [email protected]. For media inquiries, please contact Ashley Roberts at (202) 478-6181, or [email protected].


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