The Darfur Consortium

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Darfur in the News

U.S. and European Media

October 25, 2022

Associated Press: Darfur Rebels Kidnap Oil Workers. Rebels from Darfur attacked an oil field in a neighboring Sudanese region, abducted foreign workers, and gave a one-week ultimatum for foreign oil companies to cease operating in the zone, a rebel chief said Thursday. The Justice and Equality Movement, one of the leading Darfur rebel groups, said it attacked the Defra oil field in the Kordofan region on Tuesday, inflicting losses to the Sudanese army and abducting two foreign workers. JEM said it attacked the facilities because oil companies are indirectly funding Khartoum's war effort in Darfur. The rebels gave oil companies one week to leave the region. ''This military operation is a clear message to oil companies working in Kordofan: The staff, especially foreign workers, have been given a week, starting yesterday (Wednesday) to leave,'' said Mohamed Bahr Hamdeen, the head of JEM for the Kordofan region. ''Or else the companies and its foreign staff will become a legitimate target for the movement,'' Hamdeen told The Associated Press by telephone from Darfur. Sudanese media said the kidnapped workers were a Canadian and an Iraqi national. The Canadian embassy would not immediately comment Thursday. Hamdeen said the two kidnapped foreign workers were ''in good health,'' but would not comment on conditions for their release. The Defra oil field is operated by a Chinese-led consortium, the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company. JEM said the attack was a signal to China that it has to stop supporting and funding the Sudanese regime. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao confirmed that rebels had surrounded a Chinese oil field in Sudan and he hoped that ''relevant parties will realize a comprehensive cease-fire and settle the Darfur issue through dialogue.''

Reuters: Darfuris Hold High Hopes For New Darfur Force. Darfuris who have waited almost five years in miserable camps have high expectations for a joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force due to deploy by the end of the year. The 26,000-strong mission will take over from the struggling AU peacekeepers who have failed to stem the violence which has killed an estimated 200,000 and created one of the world's worst humanitarian crises in Sudan's west. The more than 2 million who have been driven by rape, killing and looting from their homes to the camps which they say are rife with the same violence they fled from want the new peacekeepers to guarantee their safety, remove settlers from their lands and disarm the militias who drove them away. But while the force hopes to be able to at least protect civilians, Khartoum refused to allow it any disarmament mandate and it is lacking key attack helicopters and other logistical needs which Western nations have so far not stepped up to provide, casting serious doubts on its efficiency. Hawa Abdallah Mohamed fled a vicious attack on her village in North Darfur 4-1/2 years ago to el-Fasher, Darfur's main town, and later to Abu Shouk camp, created by aid workers to house those squatting in squalid conditions in the town. She says she's been waiting for the force for years and wants it to protect her and her family within the very camp in which she sought refuge in 2003. "It's so important that this force, which we have asked for so long, will protect us in the camps where we now find the same rape and killing we fled from," the 23-year-old said. The new force will have to work hard and fast not to lose the trust of the people. "They are so late for Darfur because we have been living a tragedy," said 24-year-old Ishaq Ismail Adam. Just three weeks ago he was walking in the camp when an armed man shot his friend in the head in front of him. "Do we need to pay them to make them come? I want to ask a high-level U.N. official just what do you want us to do so you can come?"

Reuters: PREVIEW-Chances slim for Darfur breakthrough. Disarray in both government and rebel ranks makes quick progress unlikely in Darfur peace talks billed by the United Nations as a "moment of truth" to stop 4-1/2 years of violence in western Sudan. The best that can be hoped at the gathering in Libya which begins on Saturday is agreement to meet again, this time with a wider, more inclusive array of parties to the conflict to end one of the world's worst humanitarian disasters, experts say. "If I were the facilitators I would be seeking to build down expectations for this first round," said Larry Rossin, a former U.S. and U.N. diplomat who now represents the Save Darfur Coalition, an umbrella group. The conference seeks to end a conflict that has sparked U.S. accusations -- dismissed by Sudan -- of genocide. Much of the killing, rape and looting has been blamed on a government-allied militia known as the Janjaweed. Recently, however, rebels have been blamed for deadly attacks on African Union peacekeepers and aid workers. In some cases, experts say, the rebel command structure has broken down to the point that the groups represent no constituency and are nothing more than bandits. Even those who will turn up "are not welded together into any form of coherent delegation with any form of position at this stage. A lot of Darfurians sense themselves going into something whose basis they are unsure of," Rossin said. Experts have said the May 2006 peace deal failed because international diplomats forced it on the Sudanese players despite the fact that it did not have widespread support among Darfuris. Within days of its much-heralded signing, violent protests were staged against it in Darfur camps. De Waal said U.N. had "set a trap for itself" again by insisting the talks proceed despite the rebel demand in Juba for another month to organise themselves. Proceeding without them meant the opportunity for peace was likely to be squandered, he said.

New York Times: Darfur Talks in Danger of Lacking Attendance. Faced with the prospect of significant no-shows at a peace conference scheduled to begin in three days, the United Nations envoy for Darfur on Wednesday urged fractious rebel groups and the Sudanese government to overcome their internal differences and attend. “Now is the time for everyone to be in the same place,” the official, Jan Eliasson, said of the talks. Held under the auspices of the United Nations and the African Union, they are set to start Saturday in Sirte, Libya. Mr. Eliasson said he was trying to convince the various movements that they did not have to settle their differences before deciding to go to Sirte. “We will allow plenty of time for the movements to have consultations among themselves because the real negotiations will start only after we have had the full preparation of the parties,” he said. He said the original goal had been undermined by “realities outside our own control,” including fragmentation of rebel groups into warring subgroups and a new division in the capital, Khartoum, between northern and southern leaders who had been working in a fragile so-called government of national unity.

Los Angeles Times: U.N. refuses to delay Darfur talks. The U.N. will press ahead with Darfur peace talks set to start Saturday, even though leaders of the main rebel groups have refused to attend and violence in the region is escalating, the lead negotiator said Wednesday. The U.N. special envoy for the war-torn region of western Sudan, Jan Eliasson, said he had rejected requests from rebels to delay talks until they had unified their splintered groups or to wait until U.N. peacekeepers deploy to Darfur. He said the longer the wait, the greater the obstacles to peace. "There has to be a moment when we turn the tide, a moment when we change this vicious cycle," said Eliasson in a videoconference from Eritrea. The Sudanese government is sending high-level officials to the peace talks in Sirte, Libya, and says the rebels should be sanctioned for refusing to participate. "Peace in Darfur is being held hostage to the selfish interests of those only interested in their own power," said Sudan's U.N. ambassador, Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem.

Reuters: U.S. Says Concerned About Sudan Peace Deal, Darfur. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Wednesday she was very concerned about a crumbling peace agreement in southern Sudan and took aim at Khartoum for its behavior in Darfur and the south. "I'm personally very concerned about the CPA," Rice said, referring to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement which ended a two-decade-long civil war between the north and south that killed 2 million people and displaced more than 4 million. "It's something that we really must make work," she added, in response to a question during testimony before the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. "We are very concerned about the behavior of the north, about Khartoum, in dealing with southern Sudan ... about their behavior in Darfur and eastern Sudan," Rice said after being asked if Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir was still putting in roadblocks to bringing in peacekeepers into Darfur. "This is something that cannot be lost," she said. "We do not want the southern Sudan piece of this to unravel." Violence has also intensified in recent weeks in Darfur. Peace talks are set to begin this weekend in Libya on Darfur but a prominent rebel figure and five other smaller factions have said they will not attend the talks. Natsios will represent the United States at the Libya meetings and has been pushing hard for all sides to attend.

The Times (London): Olympic hopeful born into hostility faces losing battle to fulfil dreams. Rabah Yousif, an asylum-seeker aiming to compete for Britain at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, faces the prospect of being deported to war-torn Sudan after losing his fight to stay in the country. The England Under-23 champion at 400 metres has been embroiled in a two-year battle to remain in the North East, where he has built a new life with his partner, Sophie Legg, and their son Noah. The family is devastated after receiving news of the judge’s verdict from his appeal hearing. His lawyers are seeking a solution but the options seem limited and they can appeal against the verdict only if a legal error has been made. It means Yousif could be deported to a country where he has been given warning that he will face trial by military court. “Rabah has lost faith in the system,” Katie Legg, Sophie’s sister and co-ordinator of a campaign to keep him in England, said. “His career may be lost in a legal battle.” It was the fear that he might be killed that prompted Yousif to leave his parents and four sisters behind to abscond as a teenage soldier while at an athletics training camp in Sheffield. Since he did that, more than 200,000 people have been killed in his native Darfur. He was granted asylum until the age of 18, but he is now 20 and has been embroiled in a protracted legal battle, winning the first stage of a judicial appeal in June. “My dream is to run for Britain,” he said.


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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