The Darfur Consortium

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Darfur in the News

U.S. and European Media

October 18, 2023

Agence France Presse: US concerned over fresh spate of Darfur violence. The United States said Wednesday it was concerned over a spate of bloody violence in Sudan's Darfur region in recent weeks, including the latest killing of three UN truck drivers. Two of the drivers from the UN World Food Programme (WFP) were killed Tuesday in south Darfur as they were returning from delivering supplies near the scene of an attack on an African Union base which killed 10 peacekeepers last month. The third driver was killed last Friday during the Muslim holiday of Eid, on his way to north Darfur, the WFP said, adding that 25 bags of grain were looted from the truck during the incident. "It is certainly troubling to us to see these kinds of incidents and we have seen an increased level of violence in Darfur in the last few weeks," said Tom Casey, a State Department spokesman. Casey called on rebels, the government and other parties to desist from violence and focus their attention on bringing about a peaceful negotiated settlement.

Associated Press: Senate Panel Backs Efforts Against Sudan. The Senate Banking Committee unanimously approved legislation Wednesday endorsing some state and local governments' efforts to use their investments to pressure Sudan to ease suffering in its Darfur region. The bill quickly moved forward on a 21-0 vote after Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., withdrew a proposed amendment that would have empowered President Bush to override decisions by the local governments. "I don't think we want to give local governments authority in foreign policy decisions," Hagel said. But he said he was stepping aside to back the bipartisan measure already approved in July by the House. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, said the aim was to ease "grinding misery" in Darfur. Since 2005, 20 states and more than 50 universities have protested the violence by adopting policies of divesting funds from companies that invest in Sudan. Typically, this includes legislation to block state pension funds from investing in foreign companies that provide revenue for the government of Sudan. But the tactic has sparked legal battles, with opponents arguing the states are trying to conduct their own foreign affairs in violation of the Constitution. The legislation would authorize such divestment as within investors' rights, so long as the states follow certain standards and notify the Treasury Department of their actions.

Reuters: ANALYSIS-Darfur force brings hope, new threats to aid effort. Aid agencies working in Sudan's Darfur hope incoming United Nations and African Union peacekeepers will help protect them, but there are also fears they could spark new violence against unarmed relief staff. The 26,000-person hybrid force is due to arrive in Darfur in the coming months against a backdrop of escalating violence targeting the world's largest humanitarian relief operation. The new peacekeepers -- mainly African infantry with a handful of troops from other nations -- will replace a much smaller African Union force that has largely failed to halt violence in a region the size of France. Aid agencies -- some of whom have lobbied for years for U.N. peacekeepers -- say their situation now is so bad that they have to withdraw from some areas and cut back operations. Some reports suggest malnutrition rates are rising as a result. "The way it is now for humanitarian agencies cannot continue," former U.N. undersecretary general Jan Egeland, one of the strongest advocates for the force, told Reuters last month. "When the humanitarians or the refugees themselves say they are threatened, the force has to deploy protectively and defend. And fight, if necessary." Aid groups hope more peacekeepers might reduce that risk. But at the same time, if the larger force takes more aggressive action than its AU predecessor it may make enemies -- either militia or rebels -- who may hit aid workers as a soft target. "Of course it is possible and you can expect anything," said Francois Grignon, Africa project director for the International Crisis Group. "It is a risk with all peacekeeping operations. They will have to co-operate in terms of security." Former U.N. aid chief Egeland said there had been incidents in the Democratic Republic of Congo and elsewhere in West Africa where aid workers had been attacked or compounds burnt in retaliation for action by peacekeepers. "We have been discussing that risk for years," he said. "Generally, it has been exaggerated. ... In the short term it may decrease security but in the long-term hopefully it will help."

Rocky Mountain News: Students hear 'Voices from Darfur'. Darfur is a desolate region in western Sudan, worn to the color of straw by years of drought. Its parched soil has soaked up the blood of hundreds of thousands of people killed by government forces, militias and tribes. That was the image Sudan refugees Daoud Hari and Abdelmagid Yousif left in the minds of about 300 students Wednesday in the Tivoli Student Union on the Auraria campus. The two are touring university campuses across the country in a program called "Voices from Darfur," sponsored by a coalition of churches. Hari said he was imprisoned as a spy and tortured after working as a translator for journalists with the BBC, The New York Times and other publications. During one trip in 2006 to his homeland, he and members of the BBC witnessed the killing of 81 people, he said. "We counted 15 persons with cuts on their heads or cuts on their arms and legs," he said softly. "They need a lot of help. Since I came here I will ask you and I ask everybody we have to help those people." Yousif was an engineering student at the country's capital of Khartoum. He fled after being jailed for helping fellow students from Darfur, and now lives in Des Moines, Iowa. "This genocide goes for four years and still people die every day," he said. "They do not have food or medicine and there is no real movement to stop this." Omar Fadul 34, stepped up to a microphone during a question-and-answer period. "I have never seen the government of Sudan attack these people, and I have been to Darfur many times," said Fadul, a student at Metropolitan State College. It was a question Hari said he welcomed. "I saw myself the attacks," he said. "I don't know the rules of the genocide, but if you go to Darfur, you will see 5,000 villages burned down." "The government doesn't do anything," Yousif said. "We have some African Union troops, but they just protect themselves. If you go outside the city, the janjaweed catch you, kill you or hurt you. That is all I want to say."


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 Rob

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