Sudan: August 9, 2004

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The government is trying to deceive the UN about its efforts to disarm the Arab militias in Darfur. The Arab militiamen it said it had prosecuted for crimes in Darfur turned out to be common criminals who were already in jail, and just brought together so that foreign journalists could take pictures. Increasingly, members of the Arab militias in Darfur are seen with members of the army and police. Not as prisoners, but as colleagues. The Arab world is backing the Sudan line that all the problems in Darfur are the fault of non-Arab rebels. Sudan now claims that Israel is providing support for the Darful rebels and is responsible for the mess. This is typical. If the situation gets bad enough, blame Israel. 

Meanwhile, 300,000 of the 1.2 million Darfur refugees could be dead of starvation and disease by the end of the year if insufficient foreign aid does not reach them in time. At least that's the estimate of aid groups. These estimates are usually way over the mark, but thousands of the refugees will die because of the rough conditions in the camps. Actually, many of these refugee camps are not really camps, but merely places where the refugees have collected and sought whatever shelter they could find. Water and food are short. The poor water supply will be the main cause of fatal diseases. 

 

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