Sudan: Chaos, and No Relief in Sight


December 17, 2005: Darfur has fallen into anarchy, with army troops, pro-government tribal militias, bandits, anti-government rebels and AU peacekeepers all fighting one another. It's a low key war, with the main objective being to rob, rape and kill civilians, or loot UN relief operations, or trying to stop the all the lawlessness. There are only about 7,000 AU peacekeepers, and, technically, they are only supposed to be observing, not protecting. Such is the chaos, that few countries are willing to offer more peacekeepers. Historically, this sort of widespread tribal warfare is nothing new. But in the past, news of the atrocities took a lot longer to get out to the rest of the world. Getting the news faster has not made it any easier to stop the violence. Since Arab Sudanese run Sudan, they have the rest of the Arab world to protect them in the UN, and make it difficult for sanctions or war crimes investigations to get anywhere. Officially, the Arab world denies that there are any Moslem-on-Moslem atrocities being committed by Sudanese Arabs.

December 13, 2005: The government has barred ICC (International Criminal Court) investigators from Darfur. The ICC wants to investigate war crimes by government officials. The UN is threatening sanctions against Sudan if the investigation is not allowed to proceed. The UN wants to impose travel sanctions on Sudanese leaders.

December 12, 2005: Bandits, government troops and rebels are all becoming active in attacking aid workers, and stealing whatever they can. For nearly three years, the army and their tribal militia allies have been looting black African tribes, and now they are turning to the UN sponsored relief effort as a source of loot. The UN has to be careful which roads it uses to move food and other aid. If a group of soldiers, tribal militia, or even anti-government rebels, sets up shop on a road, any relief convoy coming along is likely to get robbed. if not completely looted. The UN then withholds all aid from an area, until an agreement can be negotiated with local tribes, to either keep the roads safe, or continue to do without aid. Some of the violence in Darfur is a result of these deals, as tribal militias battle bandits, or other tribes, to keep the roads safe for the humanitarian aid.

December 3, 2005: The UN is trying to raise nearly two billion dollars for Darfur relief efforts. Last year, nearly a billion dollars in relief aid was raised for Sudan. But donors are reluctant to pour a lot of money into an area that no one is willing to pacify, and is too dangerous for a lot of relief activities. There are about 7 million Sudanese who are refugees in their own country. Those who fled the fighting in southern Sudan, are beginning to return home, because since 21 years of civil war has ended. So far, about a half a million refugees returned to the south this year, and another 700,000 are expected to move south this year.

December 2, 2005: Increasingly, SPLA troops are turning to banditry. One group looted the home of a Christian bishop in Tombura-Yambio.

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