Darfur Crisis Worsens, but Khartoum Won’t Budge on Peacekeepers

Daily News Article   —   Posted on August 25, 2006

(by Stephen Mbogo, CNSNews.com) Nairobi, Kenya – Amid reports that displaced women are being raped, private property
plundered, and relief agencies attacked, Sudan’s Islamist government is
refusing to reverse its opposition to the entry of U.N. peacekeepers in
the Darfur region.

President Bush is
sending a senior envoy, Assistant Secretary of State for African
Affairs Jendayi Frazer, to Khartoum on Friday in a bid to persuade the
authorities to reconsider.

African church
leaders and analysts are urging the international community, including
the Africa Union (A.U.), to increase the pressure on President Omar
al-Bashir’s government to stop the carnage in Darfur.

Sudanese church
leaders meeting in Kenya said the first step should be the withdrawal
from Darfur of the Khartoum-sponsored militia known as the Janjaweed,
blamed by rights groups for civilian atrocities.

Then the government should agree to the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping force, they said.

“Peace in Darfur
is essential for the stability of the whole country. We ask all our
international friends to help to achieve a genuine peace there,” said
Bishop Daniel Deng of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan.

vigorously opposes the arrival of a U.N. force, suggesting instead that
an existing, 7,000-strong A.U. force be strengthened. The A.U. wants to
hand its mission over to the U.N. by October, a position backed by

Sudan recently
made a new proposal – supported by the Arab League – to deploy 10,000
of its own national troops in the Darfur. The plan was rejected by the
U.S. and by human rights campaigners.

Only a credible and legitimate U.N. force could stop the atrocities, said State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos.

Washington also has warned of heavy consequences should Sudan make good on threats to fire at U.N. peacekeepers.

At least two A.U. peacekeepers have been killed and dozens more injured in new attacks by unidentified assailants in Darfur.

Last week, the
U.S. and Britain introduced a Security Council resolution to send some
17,000 U.N. peacekeepers to Darfur by Oct. 1.

Sudan and the
Arab League are opposed to the resolution, which Britain’s U.N.
ambassador Emyr Jones Parry said hoped could be adopted by the end of

John Prendergast,
an adviser to the global monitoring group, the International Crisis
Group, said atrocities in Darfur would not stop unless U.N. member
states deal more harshly with Khartoum.

Regional security
analyst Adan Mohamed said the Sudanese government feared its
sovereignty will be at stake if it allowed U.N. peacekeepers onto its

“The regime is
also keen to be in control of what happens in Darfur now and after
there is peace,” said Mohamed. He said the U.N. would need to act
faster and apply more pressure on Khartoum.

Ann-Louise Colgan
of Africa Action, a group that lobbies for pro-Africa U.S. policies,
called on Washington to “take new steps to challenge Khartoum’s

Aid agencies say
while reduced funding was a challenge, deterioration of security was a
major threat, with humanitarian workers’ lives at risk. As a result,
civilians are suffering even more.

The U.N. World
Food Program said the poor security situation had made it too dangerous
for truck convoys to drive through large areas in north and south
Darfur, where fresh outbreaks of fighting have occurred.

On Wednesday, the
International Rescue Agency, another aid agency, reported that sexual
attacks against displaced Darfurian women had risen dramatically, from
a handful a month near the largest displaced persons’ camp, to more
than 200 over the past five weeks.

More than 200,000
people are reported to have been killed and over two million have fled
their homes since early 2003, when fighting erupted between African
rebel groups and militias backed by the Arab-led Khartoum government.

Reprinted here with permission from Cybercast News Service. Visit the website at CNSNews.com.


[Sudanese] government [made up of Arabs] has launched scattered attacks
on local African tribes for years. But when two main Darfuri rebel
groups began retaliating against government positions in February 2003,
Khartoum's leaders ratcheted up their campaign with pounding
intensity....  The Khartoum regime's motives in Darfur soon became
clear:  Its leaders are not only Islamists but Arabists, who believe
blacks-even Muslims-are 'slaves.' "   (From WorldMag.com.)

For more background on the genocide in Darfur, read World's Spectator to Genocide.