Friday, May 19, 2006

Bad News from Darfur

The peace accord between Sudan and one of the rebel groups seems to have had little effect - Darfur Effort Said to Face Collapse
Jan Egeland, the chief United Nations aid coordinator, told the Security Council today that conditions in Darfur had deteriorated so drastically that the international assistance effort there faced collapse in weeks.
Lydia Polgreen of the NY Times also reports that Violent Rebel Rift Adds Layer to Darfur's Misery
Two of the main rebel factions fighting the Sudanese government and its allied militias have turned on each other, spurred by ethnic tensions and what appears to be a relentless grab for more territory. Now the rebels have unleashed a tide of violence against the very civilians they once joined forces to protect.

"Right now, we don't have any security problem with the government forces or with the janjaweed," said Lt. Col. Wisdom Bleboo, the commander of 140 African Union troops based in nearby Tawila, referring to the Arab militias that have terrorized the people of Darfur in recent years. "It is only the fighting between the rebel factions that is causing us trouble."

The tactics of the rebels have grown so similar to those of their enemies that an attack on this dusty village on April 19 bore all the marks of the brutal assault that first forced its people to flee their homes three years ago. Soldiers in uniform, backed by men toting machine guns on camels, flooded the village, burning huts, shooting, looting and raping.

Only this time, the soldiers were not government troops, as they had been before. Nor were the men on camels and horseback the fearsome janjaweed, who often destroy villages alongside government forces in a campaign of state-supported murder and rape that the Bush administration has called genocide.

Instead, last month's attack came from a faction of the Sudan Liberation Army, the same rebel movement that says it wants to liberate the non-Arab people of Darfur from the yoke of Arab domination. Alongside the rebels were armed nomadic herdsmen from the Zaghawa, a non-Arab tribe that is supposedly fighting for the people of Darfur against the government.

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