Sudan: Peacekeepers With A License To Kill

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October 1, 2007: Present and former UN officials believe that the hybrid African Union-UN force that will enter Darfur must be prepared to robustly defend civilians. It is believed that the troops must be ready to fight. The UN is giving the peacekeepers the right to use force, and believes that the troops will have to use force, and perhaps a lot of it, against bandits and militia groups which attack aid workers and Darfurian civilians. However, many observers don't believe there will be a lot of fighting. The irregulars are expected to back off when faced with professional troops, who have a license to kill.

September 30, 2007: In southern Sudan, the rebel government has deployed 3,000 armed men in the provincial capital, Juba, to search for illegal firearms, and seize them. Since the peace deal, thousands of former rebels, many of them armed, have drifted into Juba, and caused a large increase in crime.

September 29, 2007: Another food aid convoy was attacked by pro-government Arab raiders. Three aid workers were wounded. So far this year, 61 convoys have been attacked. Nearly 100 vehicles have been stolen, along with thousands of tons of food, plus weapons, radios and other equipment. Both the rebels and the pro-government militias see the aid groups as a source of loot.

In northern Darfur, thirty vehicles, containing over 500 gunmen, attacked an African Union peacekeepers camp. At least ten peacekeepers were killed, and over 30 are missing. Many weapons, plus equipment and other supplies were carried away. The attackers were believed to be anti-government rebels. The peacekeepers are part of a 7,000 man AU force which mainly tries to protect aid workers.

September 27, 2007: The UN said Darfur rebels had attacked another NGO aid worker. The worker's car was stopped and the driver taken from the car and beaten. This follows an attack on a World Vision International convoy where eight workers were wounded. The UN reported that attacks on aid workers have jumped 150 percent in 2007.

South Sudan's government is making another more "autonomous" move. Southern Sudan is about to issue a new map of the area that will include what it calls "disputed territories" that should never have been incorporated in northern Sudan (which may become Northern Sudan one day). South Sudan (our preference) says that the 1956 North-South boundary is flawed.


 

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