Sudan: October 12, 2004

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 Two teams of African Union observers in Darfur have confirmed what has long been suspected. The nomadic Arab tribes drove the non-Arab farmers off the land and brought in herds of goats, sheep and other animals to graze there. But some of the Arab tribes buy food from the non-Arab farmers. So many of the refugees are being encouraged to return to their abandoned villages, and resume farming. But the farmers are terrorized by the Arab militias, and the African Union observers have been told by these Arab gunmen that the government not only supplied them with guns, but also pays them cash to clear farmers off their land. The Arab raiders are still wandering around, sometimes looking for rebels, sometimes looking for something to steal and sometimes to  become the "police" in the refugee camps, much to the discomfort of the refugees. The Arabs tend to believe they can do whatever they want with the non-Arab refugees. In the next few weeks, some 3,500 African Union peacekeepers will arrive. This could get interesting, as the Sudanese Arabs have contempt for the non-Arab (black) Sudanese farmers. The African Union troops will look like the refugees, only with guns and an attitude. 

 

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