Tag Archives: janjaweed

Sudan Promises Cease Fire–PR Or Reality?

President Omar al-Bashir, who is under indictment for war crimes, called for a unilateral cease fire in the Sudan. He claimed to be initiating a program to disarm the militia and reduce the use of arms in Darfur. “I hereby announce our immediate unconditional ceasefire between the armed forces and warring factions, provided that an effective monitoring mechanism is put into action and observed by all involved parties.” His janjaweed militia has been responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands as well as the rape and brutalization of untold thousands of women, and suddenly Bashir has become a man of peace.

The Sudan president has become frightened at the prospect of being forced to appear before the International Criminal Court for war crimes. He has established the Sudan People’s Forum which includes members of the opposition and this group has recommended releasing political prisoners and paying compensation to the two million people his militia has driven from their homes. It remains to be seen if he is serious.

Tragedy Of Darfur Goes On And On

The tragedy of Darfur had a beginning, but it appears less and less likely that it will have an ending in the forseeable future. Rebel commanders in Darfur have accused Arab militias which are backed by the Sudan government of attacking villages in southern regions of Darfur. Major Ahmed Salah, of the UN military group stationed in the area, said, “I can confirm fighting but, between whom and whom has not been confirmed.” However, he noted that units of the Sudan army blocked the path of UN forces. There are reports of janjaweed activity in the area and the villagers can expect attacks which will result in death, burning of buildings and violence toward women.

There have been ongoing protests about failure on the part of the Sudan government to halt the violence, but nothing is ever changed. The only certainty in Darfur is that ordinary people will suffer.

Janjaweed Commander Blames Sudan

A high ranking commander in the Sudan forces who led Janjaweed forces on their terrorist campaign to kill, rape, and brutalize people, confessed he conducted these operations at the behest of the Sudanese government. Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court are using a deposition made by Arbab Idries, who was a key Janjaweed commander between 2003 to 2007, as a key piece of evidence in bringing forth the case against President Omar Hassan al-Bashr of Sudan. In a filmed interview with a British journalist, Idries described how he was instructed by a senior government official to recruit Islamic Arabic speakers from the north of Sudan, then personally led 5,000 horsemen in a murderous campaign against black southerners who did not share their religion. He admitted his troops raped and killed children and the elderly. “We were attacking villages where there were only the blacks. These people were civilians. They had no weapons.”

Ironically, Idries and many of his own men had black skin, but apparently, they had the right religion. The government of the Sudan for years has insisted the Janjaweed attacks were linked to tribal disputes but the Idries testimony demonstrates conclusively, the Sudan government is responsible for the massacres in Darfur.

Unfortunately, the International Criminal Court has no power to force Sudan leaders to appear in court. Given the reluctance of African leaders to even deal with a brutal leader like Mugabe of Zimbabwe, there is scant hope they will turn on Sudan leaders.

Silent World Is Blind To Horror In Darfur

Darfur still attracts celebrities and the concerned who would like to do something for the oppressed people of that region, but, overall, the media increasingly ignores events in the war-torn corner of Africa. President Bush will relent in his opposition to “terrorism,” but after the required statements of concern, Darfur receives scant attention from the bold leader in the fight to end militants and murderers. UN officials describe the Darfur situation as spinning out of control and on the verge of all-out war, but, no nation appears willing to do anything other than express “concern.” Steven Spielberg shocked China by pulling out of the Olympics due to their Darfur policy, but the only response was for the Chinese government to boast it has sent 321 engineers to clean up the mess.

Eric Reeves, writing in the Sudan Tribune, blasted the silence of the lambs of neutrality. “And still, there is no international action remotely commensuare with these extraordinary dire accounts. On the contrary, we see only continued posturing and pleading, even as the lives of many hundreds of thousands of civilians in Darfur and Chad have moved into the cross-hairs of a sweeping new offensive by Khartoum’s National Islamic Front regime.”

The Sudan government is now attempting to destabilize Chad by backing rebel attacks in order to deprive Darfur refugees a sanctuary of peace from the continued brutality of Khartoum. UN and African Union attempts to alleviate conditions have been hampered at every step of the way by Sudan obstruction. Over 3 million are displaced. Muslims rise up in anger if Israel attacks result in the death of several people, but where is Muslim anger at the slaughter in Darfur? Is the “refugee problem” of Darfur of concern to people who never cease complaining about “refugee problems?” I do not mean to denigrate problems suffered by Palestinian refugees, but there is hypocrisy in the Arab press which launches no program to spark protests about Darfur refugees.

A Human Rights Watch observer witnessed an attack on the village of Saraf Jidad, a town of 15,000. “The attacks were carried out by Janjaweed militia and Sudanese ground troops supported by attack helicopters and aerial bombardment.” China has been selling helicopters to the Sudan, but, they have sent the 321 engineers. The hypocrisy of George Bush’s crusade against terrorism is blatantly exposed in Darfur. One suspects a divison of Marines could wipe out the Janjaweed. But, most probably, the best people of Darfur can expect is a concert to raise money.

Sudan Rebel Leader Charges Government Behind Attacks On UN Forces

A million people in Darfur are homeless and countless thousands dead, beaten or raped, but the world still is unable to compel Sudan’s Islamic government to take action for peace. Sudan rebel leader Abu Wahid al-Nur charged the recent attack on troops from the African Union in which ten were killed stemmed from actions by the Sudan government. Al-Nur believes the attack was sending a message to the United Nations not to dispatch a large force to the Sudan.”This was an attack by the Khartoum government and (allied janjaweed) militias to send a message to the international community not to send troops. But all Darfurs want the UN force to protect them.” He also claimed planes from the Sudan government recently bombed and destroyed a village. Al-Nur said he would refuse to attend meetings until the UN finally sends in sufficient troops who can ensure peace and stability are established in the Sudan. A spokesperson for the British Foreign Office said: “We always knew we were going into a hostile environment.”

Months and years have passed while the killings go on in Darfur while the world talks and debates and raises money to care for people. From the beginning it was clear the government of the Sudan was behind the janjaweed and attacks on innocent people. The wold uttered a few words of protest, but China and other nations felt they could not upset the Sudan government because it would interfere with getting their oil. There will be no change in what is happening in Darfur until a powerful UN force supported by an air force are on the ground and ready to fight. The Sudan government must be shown reality that further attacks on civilians will be met by armed forces.