The Darfur Consortium

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Darfur in the News

U.S. and European Media

August 10, 2023

Associated Press: Scores Die in Heavy Fighting in Darfur. Fighting over a strategic town in southern Darfur has killed many rebels and government forces over the past week, and the Sudanese air force has bombed several villages, rebels and international observers said Thursday. The clashes began Aug. 1 when rebels captured the town of Adila, where Sudanese troops were stationed to protect the only railway linking Darfur to the capital of Khartoum, rebels said. The Sudanese army and its allied janjaweed militias ''were summarily defeated, leaving behind heavy weapons and ammunition,'' the rebel Justice and Equality Movement said in a statement. An international observer in Darfur said Sudanese forces had recaptured Adila, located near South Darfur's border with the neighboring region of Khordofan, but clashes were reported to be ongoing. ''It seems over 100 (Sudanese) soldiers or janjaweed have been killed,'' the official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. At least 10 rebels were killed and 15 injured, he said. Observers and rebels said Sudan's air force bombed at least four villages in the area this week, but there were no reports of casualties because many of the civilians had fled. The African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur confirmed there had been heavy fighting, but said it had no details. ''The zone around Adila is a no-go area for us,'' said AU spokesman Noureddine Mezni. Also Thursday, an ailing rebel chief said he planned to leave a U.N. hospital and ask the United Nations to fly him out of Sudan for further medical treatment. ''I am taking their conditions and I'm trying to walk out of the hospital on Monday,'' Jamous told The Associated Press on the telephone from the town of Kadugli near Sudan's Darfur region, where he has been for over a year.

Agence France Presse: Darfur force unprecendented challenge: UN official. The deployment of the UN-African Union peacekeeping force to the western Sudanese region of Darfur will be an unprecendented challenge, the UN official in charge of the mission said Friday. Jean-Marie Guehenno, the UN under-secretary general for UN peacekeeping operations, told the French newspaper Ouest France that "markedly more troops" than the 26,000 planned for the mission would ultimately be needed. He said the relative lack of mobility and firepower currently on the table would have to be addressed. "Attack helicopters and transport are needed to have the necessary responsiveness," he said. "How do you have a solid impact on an immense, scarcely-populated territory with very dispersed villages? How do you make sure that horrors are not committed?" he asked. "This part of Sudan is prone to drought, and resupplying (troops) with provisions and water will be very complicated," he said. The new peacekeeping force, to replace an under-equipped AU force of 7,000 currently in place, should begin deploying in October.

Reuters: Senegal to triple Darfur peacekeeping contingent. Senegal will triple the number of soldiers it has in Sudan's Darfur region after international calls for contributions to a new U.N.-African Union peacekeeping mission, the West African country's government said on Friday. Infantry soldiers will be drawn mainly from African nations if enough can be recruited. The mission will incorporate the under-equipped and under-financed 7,000 African Union troops already in Darfur, including more than 500 Senegalese. "The head of state, his excellency Abdoulaye Wade, has decided to increase the Senegalese contingent in Darfur from 538 to 1,600," the foreign ministry said in a statement. Senegal has in the past threatened to withdraw from Darfur unless the overstretched AU force was given firm U.N. backing and said this month it would only send more soldiers for the new hybrid force if they had clear rights to defend themselves. The African Union said last week five other African nations -- Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Egypt, Cameroon and Ethiopia -- had pledged to provide troops for the new force while South Africa has also said it will consider sending more.

The following column by Michael Gerson appeared in today's Washington Post.

A Date Certain on Darfur

After four years of brutal raids, ethnic cleansing and systematic rape in Darfur, Sudan -- and nearly three years after the Bush administration declared this a genocide-- the U.N. Security Council has finally approved a credible peacekeeping force. For 2 million displaced people in the camps, this is a wisp of hope on the horizon. For the 200,000 dead, it comes too late.

The most disturbing part of the latest U.N. negotiations was the continued leverage exercised by the regime in Khartoum, which has a long history of mass killing. In the polished manners of the United Nations, blood on your hands is not a disqualification for a seat at the diplomatic table. With the expected help of China, and the disappointing support of France and Britain, the Sudanese envoy weakened the mandate of the peacekeeping force -- no weapons are to be seized from the militias -- and removed the threat of sanctions if Khartoum fails to cooperate. The regime protested that its "sovereignty" over the people of Darfur must be respected -- which is really the sovereignty of lions over the herds they hunt.

But even this diluted resolution is useful. It authorizes what will be the largest peacekeeping operation in the world -- upward of 25,000 soldiers and police under joint United Nations and African Union control. It sets specific dates for the transition to that force. And it mandates the protection of both aid workers and civilians.

Khartoum's grudging acceptance of U.N. peacekeepers is the result of global pressure. For all its tactical confusions, President Nicolas Sarkozy's France is tougher on the regime than was Jacques Chirac's France. China can no longer be too obvious in its support of Khartoum or it would risk a boycott of its Olympics next year. And a new round of American sanctions on Sudan has begun to bite, pressuring international banks to stop accepting Khartoum's billions in oil money. The Sudanese, one U.S. official told me, "are feeling financial pressures across the board, really flailing on the financial side."

Is this momentum real? There are two benchmarks that will help answer this question, one way or the other.

In October, the United Nations must have its headquarters -- its command and control structure -- operational in Darfur and take over the financing of African troops already on the ground.

By December at the latest, the United Nations will need to have in place what is called the "heavy-support package" -- hospitals, attack helicopters, 2,000 new African troops and 3,000 police. It will also need to know which countries will contribute the rest of the troops to the peacekeeping force.

If the United Nations has met these realistic goals by New Year's Eve, it will be a good beginning, a sign of seriousness.

The signals out of Khartoum are mixed. The United Nations has informed U.S. officials that it is already getting resistance from the regime on logistical issues. If the Sudanese continue to play these games, as they have done before, there will need to be penalties.

The United States has immediate responsibilities as well -- to provide airlift support through NATO, training for command staff, communications and computer equipment, and generators. America is obligated to pay 27 percent of the cost of the peacekeeping force, which will probably require a supplemental funding bill from Congress in 2008.

But the implementation of this resolution is, above all, a test for the United Nations. In dealing with Darfur, U.N. officials are determined to learn from past mistakes. The problem is choosing which mistake to learn from.

U.N. military planners want to avoid the debacle of Somalia that began in 1992, when peacekeepers entered a chaotic situation piecemeal and eventually left in defeat and failure. So in Darfur they want the U.N. intervention to be large and decisive -- a "big bang" -- even if that means the timeline is delayed. During a genocide, however, patience and delay have casualties.

Another U.N. failure is worth recalling and avoiding: Rwanda in 1994. While waiting for perfect circumstances to intervene, the world did little and now lives haunted by a million ghosts.

No historical analogy is exact. But the Darfur genocide is closer to Rwanda than Somalia. It requires the urgent establishment of security first.

For all the Americans who have worked and prayed for Sudan over the years, for all the churches and synagogues with banners that call us to conscience, the time to push has arrived. There are many complex steps of negotiation and reconciliation between government and rebels down the road. But we should begin with one step: 5,000 new police and troops in Darfur by the end of this year.


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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