The Darfur Consortium

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Darfur in the News

U.S. and European Media

October 9, 2023

Reuters: At least 45 killed in govt attack on Darfur town. A Sudanese army assault killed at least 45 people in the Darfur town of Muhajiriya, where bodies littered the streets amid burned out buildings, rebels who control the area said on Tuesday. "Until now the number of dead civilians are at least 40, with 80 missing and a large number of injured," the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) said in a statement sent to Reuters. It added five SLA soldiers were killed and eight injured. "Bodies are still lying around the town as this statement is written," the statement by SLA Minnawi's military spokesman Mohamed Hamid Dirbeen said. "Some of the victims looked like they had been executed," it said of the attack on Monday. AU force commander Martin Luther Agwai, who will also command a 26,000-strong joint U.N.-AU force due to take over from the AU, had earlier said government planes bombed the town. He later said his troops had mistaken heavy artillery for aerial bombardment and said although Antonov planes were flying overhead during the attack, they had not released bombs. Agwai said it was not yet clear what was behind the fighting in Muhajiriya, but initial reports indicated it could be tribal rivalries or a spillover from government clashes with other rebel factions. Muhajiriya, which is home to about 5,000 residents, also hosts more than 44,500 Darfuris displaced by violence elsewhere.

Reuters: Darfur violence at risk of spreading: U.N. official. Worsening violence in Darfur risks spreading the conflict further in Sudan and shows the need for advanced equipment a planned U.N. peacekeeping force does not yet have, a senior U.N. official said on Monday. U.N. peacekeeping chief Jean-Marie Guehenno said the situation had deteriorated in the western Sudanese region with an attack late last month by armed men on an African Union base and reports of a government attack on another town on Monday. "I am very concerned with that," Guehenno told a news conference. Combined with recent clashes between the government and rebels in the neighboring Kordofan region, "there is a serious risk of the Darfur situation going beyond Darfur." Just weeks before AU-U.N.-mediated peace talks are to start in Libya on October 27, armed men in 30 vehicles descended upon an AU peacekeepers' base on September 29 near the town of Haskanita in South Darfur, destroying the base and killing 10 peacekeepers. Sudanese government forces subsequently occupied Haskanita, which was burnt to the ground and emptied of civilians. Rebel spokesmen said that on Monday government troops and allied militia attacked the rebel-held town of Muhajiriya. Guehenno could not confirm who had sacked Haskanita but said: "It's very troubling that a city which was under the control of the government of Sudan could be burned down." "I think this incident shows the importance of having troops that are very mobile, with capacity to dominate any situation," Guehenno said. "And for that we need capacities that even with the strong effort of the African Union we do not have yet."

BBC: UK warns Darfur rebels on boycott. The UK has warned rebel groups in Darfur they could be excluded from the peace process if they boycott talks due to be held in Libya later this month. The UK Minister for Africa, Lord Malloch Brown, said those who opted out "should understand the consequences". The meeting was arranged so the rebels could unify their negotiating position ahead of talks with Sudan's government. One key rebel faction says it will not enter peace talks until the promised peacekeeping force is deployed. The Paris-based Abdul Wahid al-Nur faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army told the BBC that Darfur needs the international community to live up to its responsibilities to stop the killing. "We need action from the UN and the international community should do their responsibilities (...) and after that go to the negotiating table and we are ready to go at that time," said spokesman Yahya Bashir. The Justice and Equality Movement, one of Darfur's main rebel factions, said the British threats were not helpful. Haroun Abdul Hamid, a spokesman for the group, told the BBC: "I think it is better for the Africa minister to do the efforts towards helping people to make common ground towards the peace, rather than making these threats."

Associated Press: U.N. Mission to Darfur Faces Supply Constraints. U.N. officials said Monday they don't have enough military helicopters and ground transport for the joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force expected to begin deploying to Sudan's Darfur region later this month. Officials said the force had not received pledges from contributing countries for 24 needed transport and attack helicopters as well as about 60 long-haul trucks. They said the shortfall would not delay or halt deployment, but could "significantly impair" the force. "If you want to ensure the protection of civilians, you need that mobility, you need the capacity to transport troops quickly to a place you hear there is some trouble developing, and you need to have the firepower and the strength to immediately dominate the situation," said Jean-Marie Guehenno, the U.N. undersecretary-general for peacekeeping. Most of the troops committed to the force thus far are from African countries. There is concern, however, whether African countries can meet the U.N. technical standards for the mission, including providing specialized aviation and ground transport units. Sudan's U.N. ambassador, Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad, said his country did not oppose contributions of equipment from non-African countries, but the nationalities of the helicopter pilots would have to be decided "in consultation with the Sudanese government." Abdalhaleem said Sudan would not accept U.S. pilots. Asked if it would allow European pilots, he said that "we will consider it."

San Francisco Chronicle: Save Darfur Coalition targets Franklin Templeton mutual fund firm. If you're a money manager, you know it's a really bad day when you get accused of investing in genocide. But that's exactly what the Save Darfur Coalition is charging in an ad campaign directed at San Mateo mutual fund giant Franklin Resources (parent company of Franklin Templeton Investments) and four other investment companies. Save Darfur, made up of religious groups from across the political spectrum [sic], wants U.S. money managers to dump the stock of PetroChina Co., an affiliate of China National Petroleum Corp. The big Chinese energy company finances oil drilling in Sudan, providing a major revenue source for that African nation's government, whose suppression of a rebel movement in the western region of Darfur has been widely condemned for killing and displacing hundreds of thousands of civilians. In addition to Franklin, Save Darfur has targeted JPMorgan, Vanguard, Fidelity Investments and Capital Group in its campaign to persuade managers to sell PetroChina stock. "We tried to engage all of these companies privately," coalition spokesman Allyn Brooks-LaSure said. In May, the Save Darfur Coalition wrote Franklin Chief Executive Officer Gregory Johnson to urge the company to divest its holdings in the Chinese company. In August, it warned that it would go public with estimates of Franklin's stake in the Chinese company, which it put at a little over $1.5 billion. The coalition says Franklin didn't reply. Beginning Monday, it rolled out some pretty heavy ammunition - ads on the Internet, in a BART station and on Bay Area television stations, the last showing a fictional money manager bragging about the terrific returns he's earned from genocide. "Franklin Templeton's investments support the genocide in Darfur," the tag line declares. The spot asks viewers to look at the coalition's Web site, where they can sign a petition calling on the mutual fund company to sell its Petro China shares.

Boston Globe: Genocide survivors urge China to address Darfur. Standing before several hundred people at City Hall Plaza yesterday, genocide survivors representing five countries, where more than 12 million people were killed, ignited a large torch to signify their hope for bringing an end to the suffering and death in Darfur. They called upon China, host of the 2008 Summer Olympics, to use its influence with the Sudanese government and its permanent seat on the UN Security Council to address the crisis. "The Sudanese government is not that strong on its own," said 21-year-old Carine Gakuba, a member of the Tutsi ethnic group, who said she lost her four siblings and parents as a result of genocide by Hutus in Rwanda in 1994. The theme of next year's Olympic games in Beijing is "One World, One Dream," and organizers and speakers emphasized that they want people in Darfur to realize that vision. "The Olympics is a call to our better natures," said US Representative John F. Tierney, a Salem Democrat. "If anybody has leverage in Sudan, it is China, and we must ask them to stand up and speak out." China buys about two-thirds of Sudan's oil and has invested $7 billion in oil projects and infrastructure. Boston yesterday became the third US city to hold the Dream for Darfur Olympic Torch Event. Similar events have been held in countries that have experienced genocidal violence, including Rwanda, Armenia, Germany, Bosnia, Cambodia, and the border of Chad and Sudan, Savitt said.

The State (SC): State House rally stirs passion to end crisis in Darfur. They came by the hundreds to the state Capitol on Saturday, a mix of energetic college students, concerned people of faith and ordinary folks determined to find a way to end the humanitarian disaster in Darfur, Sudan. Millie Kohn of Columbia was there along with her 85-year-old sister, Lattice Stephens, from Allendale County. She said she’s waiting for a presidential candidate willing to talk about an end to the war and the suffering. “They are going to get my vote,” she said. Shannon Feeney, a USC senior from Milwaukee, was there with fellow students from the campus chapter of Amnesty International, armed with homemade signs calling for peace. “We spend a lot of time raising awareness,” she said, both about Amnesty and the ongoing situation in Darfur, which has left 400,000 dead and 2.5 million homeless. Ben Bates, a social worker, came alone and left determined to e-mail and call his congressman. “A lot of people don’t pay attention. Some don’t care,” he said. “But, like the speakers said, what happens in the world affects us all.” Clyburn, D-S.C., said he had visited the region and was overcome by the scenes he witnessed in the refugee camp. “The things I saw were absolutely horrific,” he said. “The situation there is dire.” Rally organizers, under the umbrella group Darfur Action Group of South Carolina, have pushed for passage of United Nations Resolution 1769, which authorizes sending 20,000 peacekeepers to the region. Mohamed Yahya, a Darfuri refugee and executive director of the Damanga Coalition for Freedom and Democracy, delivered the most impassioned speech of the day, reminding those present that the political situation is a complex mix of ethnic passions, oil and greed and includes such international players as China, a Sudan ally. Singer Kenny Alphin, the Big Kenny of Big & Rich, was among a host of entertainers for the rally. He told the crowd, “I’m ready to see politicians jump up and scream.”

The Press-Register (Mobile, AL): Sudanese refugee speaks. As a projector flickered silent images of the Sudanese crisis on a wall behind him, Daoud Hari calmly gave his own account Saturday of the atrocities that have been tearing apart his homeland since 2003. Hari, a native of Sudan's westernmost region of Darfur, said he fled his village in 2003 after it was bombed repeatedly by his own government. Now a refugee living in the United States, he is on a nationwide speaking tour aimed at educating Americans about the internal strife that continues to plague his country. In heavily accented English, he told of walking through burned out villages on his way to the neighboring country of Chad, where he and millions of other Darfuris have sought refuge since the conflict began. "You could see the human bones" in the burned out houses, he said, "even children's bones." Hari said many of the Darfuris forced to flee their homes walk for weeks with little or no food. Aid agencies who run the refugee camps are unable to make trips into Sudan to collect the fleeing villagers because bandits and militiamen roam the countryside, he said. Hari said he was imprisoned by the Sudanese government while working as a translator for a journalist from the Chicago Tribune. He said he was later released after American officials demanded he and another Darfuri be released with the journalist. Though he was only held captive for about a month, he said it seamed like much longer. "When you are being tortured," he said, "one day is like forever."


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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