Sudan: Impunity


November 6, 2006: While AU peacekeepers were in the area, militias armed and supported by the government killed 63 people in a series of attacks conducted during the last week. At least 27 of the dead were children. Eight villages in Darfur were attacked on October 29 by the militias. A displaced persons camp was also assaulted. The villages were described as "strongholds" of supporters of the rebel National Resistance Front (NRF). The fact that the militias can attack so boldly, even when under observation by AU peacekeepers, is telling. Over 7000 people have fled the area around the villages.

November 5, 2006: The government is reacting to complaints by Uganda and south Sudanese over the recent spate of murders around Juba. Some 41 murders have been committed during the last two weeks (11 on October 29). The murders may have been committed by a rogue faction of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA), the northern Uganda rebel group. The LRA has denied any involvement in the murders.

The United States reiterated its support for a deploying UN-sponsored peacekeeping force in Darfur.

Eritrea offered to mediate between the Sudan government and rebel groups in Darfur. Eritrea helped the Eastern Front rebel group reach a deal with Sudan. The offer indicates the Eritrean government thinks its regional prestige would be greatly enhanced if it worked out a resilient ceasefire in Darfur. It is a way to diplomatically one-up Eritrea's main rival, Ethiopia.

November 1, 2006: The US renewed its economic sanctions on Sudan. The sanctions were extended for one year. The sanctions ban oil and petrochemical-related trade and prohibit selling or providing any "defense-related" material. How much effect do US sanctions have on Sudan? Very little, beyond the symbolic. Sudan uses relatively unsophisticated weapons that are easily purchased on the world's arms market. It is conceivable that the "oil-related" sanctions could affect a few drilling operations. The US is the world's leader in advanced drilling technology. But sanctions are always leaky.

October 29, 2006: Unidentified gunmen attacked a bus in south Sudan (near Juba) and killed 11 people.




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