The Darfur Consortium

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Darfur in the News

U.S. and European Media

January 7 , 2008

Associated Press: US prepares for new push in Darfur. The Bush administration is preparing a new push to end the conflict in Sudan's western Darfur region and keep a fragile north-south peace deal from unraveling in the vast African state. With international attention increasingly focused on other world trouble spots, the United States is boosting its profile on Sudan with the appointment of a new special envoy for the country, a former senior diplomat with links to President Bush, the GOP and a firm grasp of the U.N. system. The envoy, Richard "Rich" Williamson, was sworn in by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday, after his predecessor, Andrew Natsios, resigned last month. Natsios, a former administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, was said to have been frustrated by internal bureaucratic battles over the direction of Sudan policy. Williamson was Negroponte's No. 2 when Negroponte was U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from 2001 to 2004. Williamson takes over just a week after a joint African Union-U.N. force took over peacekeeping duties in Darfur on New Year's Eve despite chronic shortages of staff and equipment and less than adequate cooperation from the Sudanese government, which is accused of fomenting the violence. Meanwhile, on Monday, one of the largest U.S.-based Darfur advocacy groups announced it had chosen a new president to lead its lobbying efforts. After a six-month search, the Save Darfur Coalition named Jerry Fowler, an official with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, to be its executive director.

Agence France Presse: Chad's air force bombs rebels base inside Sudan. Chadian air force planes on Monday attacked a Chadian rebel base across the border, southwest of El-Geneina in the Darfur region of Sudan, a military source said. The air raid was carried out around 4:00 am (0300 GMT) by two helicopters, an Mi-17 and an Mi-24, with a Pilatus light aircraft, military and security officials said. But a Chadian rebel spokesman told AFP that the aircraft could not have hit rebel forces since "our troops are all in Chad". The military and security sources confirmed a report from Khartoum on Sunday that a similar attack had been carried out in the same Darfur region against rebels opposed to Chad's President Idriss Deby Itno. Several rebel bases lie south of El-Geneina, the capital of West Darfur, about 200 kilometres (125 miles) across the desert from Abeche, the main town in eastern Chad, but it was not clear which had been targetted. Sudanese army spokesman Othman al-Aghbach said Monday that Chadian aircraft had bombed positions in West Darfur early Sunday, killing and wounding civilians. "Three Antonov planes attacked positions southwest of Geneina in the early hours of Sunday, killing three civilians and wounding four others," he said. A spokesman for Chad's latest rebel alliance formed in mid-December, Abderaman Koulamallah, said Monday's attack could not have affected the movement since "our troops are all on the Chadian side of the border." The attack followed a threat Saturday by Deby to pursue and strike Chadian rebels inside neighbouring Sudan and repeated charges that Khartoum was trying to destabilise his country. On January 1, Sudan's military claimed eight of its soldiers were killed and 19 wounded in clashes with rebels backed by Chadian troops in Darfur, just across Chad's border.

Reuters: Chad threatens to strike rebels inside Sudan. Chad's President Idriss Deby threatened on Saturday to send his armed forces into neighbouring Sudan to destroy rebel fighters he accuses Khartoum of supporting, and said he may break off diplomatic ties. Relations between the two countries have deteriorated since a conflict began in Sudan's border region of Darfur nearly five years ago, spilling fighters and refugees into eastern Chad. Deby accuses Sudan of backing Chadian rebels trying to overthrow him, in particular of sheltering and re-arming them in recent weeks after eastern Chad's worst fighting for months, which both army and rebels said killed hundreds. "The Khartoum regime's plot will never succeed," Deby told hundreds of women who held a march on Saturday in Chad's capital N'Djamena to protest against Sudan. "We will not let them into our territory. We will destroy them in their den in Sudan. We will make them eat dust inside Sudan. The lightning bolt of our defence forces will strike them," said Deby, a French-trained former fighter pilot who led his army in person against the rebels a few weeks ago. Khartoum has repeatedly denied Deby's charges of supporting Chadian rebels and in return accuses Deby of backing Sudanese rebel groups fighting Sudanese government forces in Darfur. The European Union plans to deploy around 4,000 troops to Chad, including a small number to its southern neighbour Central African Republic, to complement a 26,000-strong mixed United Nations-African Union force planned for Darfur itself. Deployment of both forces has been held up by a lack of equipment, in particular transport and attack helicopters needed to police the vast, remote expanses of central Africa.


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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