Sudan: Out of Control


May 23, 2006: It's deadlock. Too many of the Darfur rebels do not trust any peace proposals from the government. This distrust is based on the government's constant insistence that it cannot control the Arab militias it has armed and unleashed. Actually, there appears to be a lot of truth to this, which may explain the growing willingness of the government to allow non-African (NATO) peacekeepers.

May 21, 2006: The Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) faction led by Minni Arcua Minnawi, accused the Sudanese government and its Janjaweed militias of violating the peace agreement they signed on May 5. Minnawi claims that Sudan government-backed militias have launched several attacks in North Darfur state since. One of the attacks (on May 20) allegedly included some Sudanese government soldiers. The attack took place near the town of Dar es-Salaam in North Darfur. Media reports that fighting has taken place in the Darfur region over "the last few days." There is no independent confirmation of this. This is precisely the kind of violence the peace deal's "doubters" expected. The Sudan government claims it does not have complete control over the militias. That may be true to an extent, but the Jajaweed have been armed and supplied by Sudan.

May 19, 2006: Aid and relief operations in Sudan's Darfur region could "collapse" this summer. Donor nations have not provided enough funds to keep the aid programs going. The UN says it is short approximately $400 million. That deficit must be overcome in the next several weeks. The aid efforts are helping four million people (in east Chad and in Sudan's Darfur) avoid starvation. The security situation in Darfur makes relief operations difficult. Supply convoys regularly lose vehicles in attacks. The road network, which was minimal to begin with, is in even worse shape because repair and reconstruction is so dangerous, and usually not done, or done well. There is also official theft. Local officials in South Darfur have stolen some fuel deliveries. No explanation was given for the action by the Sudanese local government, but fuel in Darfur is very valuable.

May 17, 2006: Unknown "militiamen" killed 11 people in Darfur. The militia attacked several small villages near the town of Kutum (North Darfur). Three people died on May 13 when a fight erupted between Sudanese police and refugees living in a refugee camp in South Darfur near the town of Nyala. One of the dead was reported to be a Sudanese military intelligence officer.

May 16, 2006: The UN Security Council threatened to take (quote) "strong and effective measures" to bring peace to Sudan's Darfur region. The measures would be taken against any parties who seek to stop or break the May 5 peace agreement. This is usually diplospeak for economic and political sanctions. The UN also urged Sudan to "cooperate" with UN plans. The UN is discussing sending a UN peacekeeping force into Darfur. Sudan opposes a UN-sponsored peacekeeping force.

May 15, 2006: The African Union (AU) said that the Darfur rebel groups which did not sign the May 5 peace agreement have until May 31 to sign the agreement.. The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and dissidents in the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army have not signed the accord.




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