Remember Darfur? That little problem Sudan was having with a civil war?
...Yeah, neither does anyone else.
EL FASHER, Sudan, Sept. 5 -- Adouma Ahmed Khames, 35, had no illusions of heroism that July morning. When gunmen appeared by the hundreds in his village, riding on camels and horses and in sleek Toyota trucks, he dived for cover under a rotting, stinking pile of grass, he said. By the time he climbed out, night had fallen and the village, in Sudan's western Darfur region, was full of dead young men, dispatched in their own huts with bullets to their heads. Khames counted 58 bodies from the rampage, which he and other witnesses said was carried out by a former rebel faction, along with Sudanese troops and government-allied militiamen called Janjaweed.
Over the next several hours, he and his wife, Kaldoum Adam Ahmed, 32 and nearly due to deliver their sixth child, helped dig mass graves to bury their friends, neighbors and relatives. Then as dawn approached, Khames returned to his hiding place -- the grass gathered months earlier to feed the family's donkeys -- and burrowed under in hopes of living another day.
He did, remaining in hiding long enough to see his village -- called Deker -- looted and to learn of at least four rapes. "They destroyed everything," said Khames, who has a coffee-colored, triangular face that comes to a point at his goatee. Deprivation had shrunk his body to the point that a copper ring on his left hand dangled from a bony finger.
According to witnesses and an Amnesty International report, the killing spread across three days and devastated Deker and several other villages, as well as the town of Korma, about 45 miles northwest of El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state. The incident, in the first week of July, is among dozens reportedly involving civilian casualties as the three-year-old war in Darfur has moved into a newly lethal phase since the signing of a peace deal in May. Under the agreement between Sudan's government and one of three Darfur rebel groups, the government is sending about 30,000 troops and police officers to Darfur, where they are joining forces with the rebel group that signed the peace deal....
Wait ... this setup is by design? And the United Nations and the Organization for African Unity, which are allegedly monitoring this, brokered this decision? What the hell were they THINKING?
...Amnesty also reported 39 rapes and 103 injuries, and it said the main attackers were members of the rebel group, headed by Minni Minnawi, that has sided with the government since signing the peace accord. Minnawi, who is now a senior adviser to Sudan's president, Lt. Gen. Omar Hassan al-Bashir, visited President Bush at the White House in July. The Amnesty report said the attackers told their victims, who were unarmed, that they were being punished for not supporting the peace agreement.
Khames said: "All the people are only farmers. There are no rebels there." But he also said he supports rebel leader Abdel Wahed, who did not sign an accord that Khames and many others in Darfur call flawed. "This peace is not going to give us our rights," he said....
Well, since the "peace" (1) isn't, and (2) seems to be producing a one-sided government sanctioned assault and massacre, I would say that Khames is correct, to put it mildly. It won't give them their rights, it won't give them peace, and it won't even preserve their lives.
At this rate, not only will the refugee camps in Darfur never be emptied, but they're likely to essentially remain unarmed prison camps, where refugees can be picked off at will.Posted by iain at September 06, 2006 10:17 AM