Sudan: July 9, 2004


The government continues to promise a crackdown on militias in western Sudan, but so far, not much has happened. Relief organizations and refugee camps continue to be attacked or extorted by groups of armed men in Darfur (western Sudan). Government troops also continue to interfere with the movement of relief workers and supplies. Meanwhile, in southern Sudan, the government is accused of assisting Ugandan LRA rebels in attacks on anti-government Sudanese villages. At least a hundred civilians have been killed in these attacks over the last few weeks. Local Sudanese rebel militias confronted the 2,000 LRA attackers, and drove them off. About 20 LRA rebels were killed, along with seven Sudanese militiamen.

The government says it will send 6,000 policemen to Darfur to maintain order, but this is unlikely to happen. The government has long resisted cracking down on its Arab irregulars. These Arab militias are the core of the government's support. The peace deal in the south left the Arab militias with their loot, including most of the slaves they took from the Christian tribes. In Darfur, the government is unlikely to restore all the lost property to the million non-Arab Sudanese refugees. American threats of an economic boycott are also having no effect, if only because the United Nations will not back it.

An unspoken problem is that African leaders to not like to crack down on the leaders of other African nations for using violence against dissent. All African leaders are faced with this sort of thing, and the attitude is "that could be me." In addition, the Arab nations are unwilling to condemn Arab violence against non-Arabs. It's easier to blame it all on Israel. 


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