Sudan: Bribes Offered to Keep Foreigners Out

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March 9, 2006: The Sudan government's anti-UN and anti-US rhetoric is increasing. Sudan objects to the UN taking charge of the Darfur peacekeeping mission. What the Sudan government really objects to is the arrival of non-African troops, in this case NATO troops. That's because NATO troops outclass the various "Arab" militias the Sudan government uses to prosecute its war against "black" African farmers in Darfur. So far, the African peacekeepers (who, technically, are only providing security for truce monitors) have not interfered much with the Darfur raiders, who continue to loot and rape. UN and other aid personnel continue to send back reports of this carnage, and the UN brass are under increasing pressure, especially from sub-Saharan nations, to do something about it.

March 8, 2006: According to rebels in eastern Sudan, the Sudanese government has ordered a key NGO aid organization, the International Rescue Committee, "to suspend its program" in Sudan's northeast.. The Sudan government is fighting another rebellion in the area. Tthe guerilla umbrella organization known as The Eastern Front made the allegation. The Eastern Front has offices in the country of Eritrea. The IRC provides refugees in the area with medical aid and food. Many of the refugees belong to the Beha ethnic group.

The government continued its diplomatic attempts to keep UN peacekeepers out of Darfur. Sudanese leaders appealed to African nations to let the African Union (AU) maintain control of the Darfur operation. The AU's peacekeeping mandate expires on March 31. The government insists that Darfur is an internal matter, and that Sudan will not tolerate non-African troops interfering. Darfur was never purely internal, not with refugees spilling into Chad. Rebel groups moved into Chad and militias supported by both Chad and Sudan have clashed. Sudan does have oil money (and sells a lot of oil to China-- hence Chinese interest in Sudan). The government is offering to pay for the AU peacekeeping, as a sort of bribe. This would create a situation Catch 22's Milo Minderbinder would appreciate: Sudan paying the peacekeepers to stop militias in the pay of the Sudan government. --Austin Bay

The peace agreement ending the long war in south Sudan is now being implemented-- including the deployment of 10000 UN peacekeepers in south Sudan. However, some fighting continues and another incident on March 8 may be significant because it involved the Sudan Armed Forces militia (a Sudan government ally) and the formerly rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA). A firefight broke out near the town of Kharasana (north of the town of Abeyi and in a major oil-producing region).Twelve SPLA fighters were killed. The SPLA accused the SAF or "ambushing" the SPLA unit. The UN is investigating the incident

 

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