The Darfur Consortium

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Darfur in the News

U.S. and European Media

October 26, 2022

Reuters: Two main Darfur rebel groups will not attend talks. Darfur's two main rebel groups will not attend U.N.-African Union mediated peace talks in Libya, their leaders said on Friday, dashing any chance of a peace deal to end 4-1/2 years of war. "We decided not to go," said Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) chief negotiator Ahmed Tugod Lissan. He said the decision was made with the Sudan Liberation Army Unity faction after long consultations ahead of the talks scheduled to begin in Libya on Saturday. The head of SLA-Unity confirmed the statement to Reuters in Darfur.

Reuters: Darfur Displaced Say Peace Talks Doomed to Failure. A day before Darfur peace talks are due to open in Libya, many victims of the 4-1/2 year conflict in Sudan's remote west have already doomed them to failure. While more than a dozen Darfur rebel groups jockey for power at the negotiating table in Libya, Darfuris at the Al-Salam Camp say the one rebel they trust will not be among them. Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) founder and Chairman Abdel Wahed Mohamed el-Nur commands almost unanimous support in Al-Salam and many of the camps housing more than 2 million people who have fled homes and villages destroyed in the fighting. Nur's refusal to go to the U.N.-African Union mediated talks until a U.N. force deploys to stop rape, looting and murder in Darfur has earned him almost blind support among those who suffered most after his group rose up against the government. "He's (Nur) not going because we don't want him to be there," said Ahmed Etim Osman who watched 13 members of his family executed by militia in 2004 before fleeing his home to the camps surrounding Darfur's main town el-Fasher. "I can still see the faces of the men who did it," he said. "I was in the next hut watching through the window. I could see them but they couldn't see me." "If talks go ahead in Libya it will cause more suffering. We paid for what happened in Abuja," Osman said. Al-Salam was a planned camp to provide refuge for the ever increasing numbers fleeing their rural homes, but the conditions are far from good. Birds of prey circle ominously above piles of rubbish and the smell of overflowing latrines hangs in the air.

The Times (London): General Martin Luther Agwai fears Darfur force will fail. A 26,000-strong peacekeeping mission to Darfur risks failure unless donor countries come forward with desperately needed helicopters, according to the man who will command the international force. General Martin Luther Agwai, who leads a beleaguered and bloodied African Union (AU) contingent, said that the success of the so-called hybrid force also depended on the outcome of peace talks due to start in Libya tomorrow. But analysts believe that the negotiations bring little chance of a breakthrough after the withdrawal of key rebel leaders. General Agwai said that his soldiers would continue to be targets without a ceasefire on the ground. “Without a new peace deal, even with the force numbers we are bringing into Darfur, it will still be a big task because you cannot keep peace if there is no peace deal,” he said. His officers in the field say that they are outgunned, outnumbered and lack the air transport they need to react rapidly to clashes across an area the size of France. Violence has escalated in recent weeks as rebels and government-allied militias scramble for territory before the Libyan talks. The general’s African force is due to be transformed into a much bigger force with troops, funding and equipment from the UN on January 1. The UN has asked for eighteen transport and six attack helicopters from its members but has yet to receive any offers. General Agwai said that the air transport was vital. Without it, it would be impossible to intervene in violence. “I hope the right numbers of troops, equipment and the right capabilities are introduced to the mission because then our chances of success are much, much greater,” he said by telephone from his headquarters in El Fasher, northern Darfur. “If they are not then we will be bogged down by the same problems that we face today.”

Associated Press: Group Tries to Fly Children Out of Chad. Nine French citizens were arrested in Chad after a group tried to fly more than 100 African children to France, saying it wanted to save them from the crisis in neighboring Darfur, the French Foreign Ministry said. Rama Yade, France's junior minister for human rights, was quoted as saying Friday that the group acted "illegally and irresponsibly." Diplomatic officials say an investigation is pending. The group, L'Arche de Zoe, or Zoe's Arc, had lined up French host families for the children, saying they were orphans from the crisis-stricken Darfur region of Sudan. Many host families had paid thousands of dollars to the charity. But as a plane filled with 103 children was preparing to take off Thursday from Chad, which neighbors Sudan's Darfur region, authorities there arrested nine French citizens, the Foreign Ministry said. Following the detention of the French citizens apparently behind the operation, the children were taken into the care of Chadian authorities with the support of UNICEF, the International Red Cross, and the U.N. refugee agency. "We just wanted to save them from death, by giving them a host family," she told Le Parisien.

Tuscaloosa News (AL): Darfurian refugees appeal to community for support. In July 2003, soldiers with the Sudanese army and members of the Janjaweed — a militia supported by the Sudanese government — stormed Ibrahim Mousa Adam's village in northern Darfur, and massacred its residents. Of the 80 people killed in the village, 20 were members of Adam's family. As of this year, a total of 4,000 Darfurian villages have been destroyed by the Sudanese army and the Janjaweed. On Thursday, at 7 p.m. in the Ferguson Center Theater on the University of Alabama's campus, three Darfurian refugees stood before a crowd of more than 200 people, and told stories of the rape and geneocide of the Darfurian people that they say occurs every day in their country. 'Since 2003 the Sudanese government has been working very hard to eliminate the native people of Darfur,' said Adam, 32. 'They use all kinds of weapons,' he said. 'They use rape as a weapon.' 'The conflict in Darfur is a genocide,' Adam's said. 'This is ethnic cleansing.' 'For those of you who don't understand what's going on in Darfur, it's as if president Bush mobilized troops to come to Alabama to kill members of your family,' he said. 'That's what's happening in Darfur.'

Newsweek: ‘Outraged by Indifference’. Ted Braun's documentary "Darfur Now" tells the story of the crisis through the eyes of six vastly different individuals around the world. There's American Don Cheadle, the Oscar-nominated actor who learned about the troubled Sudanese region while working on the movie "Hotel Rwanda." There's American Adam Sterling, a Jewish student activist who lobbies Congress on divestment from Sudan—and succeeds in getting Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign a bill keeping California's state funds out of the African country. There's Argentine Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court who painstakingly gathers the evidence of atrocities needed to get arrest warrants for some of those believed responsible. There's Ecuadorean-born Pablo Recalde, leader of the World Food Program Team in Darfur. And then there are the Sudanese thrust into the conflict: Hejewa Adam, a rebel fighter who took up arms after her baby was beaten to death on her back, and Ahmed Mohammed Abakar, a Darfur farmer trying to help bring order and dignity to the 47,000 people with him in the Hamadea displacement camp. To be released in November, "Darfur Now" will hit theaters as diplomats and government leaders renew faltering efforts to bring a United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force to Darfur. Braun hopes the film will change the way people feel about Darfur—and inspire them to do something that might make a difference. To read the full text of the interview with Newsweek, please follow the link provided above.

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