India Intelligence Report

 

 

   Darfur Refugees Live in Fear

  Belying expectations that African Union (AU) peacekeepers would bring peace to the ethnically torn Darfur region of Sudan , refugees in camps say that the peacekeeping mission is escalating the conflict and the resultant violence is driving away aid.
 

 

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Belying expectations that African Union (AU) peacekeepers would bring peace to the ethnically torn Darfur region of Sudan , refugees in camps say that the peacekeeping mission is escalating the conflict and the resultant violence is driving away aid. Tribal leaders confused about the purpose AU peacekeeping force complain that the blue helmets are not helping stem the violence—the UN force was deployed in 2004 only to monitor violence but not fight it.

Since 2003, Sudanese rebels have fought a confederacy of the Army and Arab nomads resulting in the death of 200,000 and displacement of over 2.5 million people. Moreover, barbaric human rights violations are heaped on helpless civilians where women and children bear the brunt of such abuse.

The UN Security Council recently passed a resolution to send in 20,000 UN peacekeepers to replace the AU troops which expires later this year but the deployment of the new force faces stringent opposition from Sudan arguing that would be an infringement of its sovereignty. With such opposition, the UN’s strategy is to extend the AU forces mandate but augment this force with about 100 military and civilian advisers to avoid a security vacuum which will inevitably end in genocide perpetuated by rabid Arab militia called janjaweed. Lawless and given immunity against prosecution, the janjaweed loot, rape, and pillage undefended civilian villages leaving in their wake an entire generation of single-parent children that mothers call “children of the devils.” Hated by their mothers because of the violence heaped on them by the janjaweed, the future of these children is dangerous and would only perpetuate the violence in this region.

Ethnic African rebels fighting the Army and the militia are hostile against the aid workers suspecting them of collusion with the government. Although one group signed a peace agreement with the government in May, the uncertainty and risk of operation has caused humanitarian groups to withdraw from frontlines. Therefore, without medical aid or basic supplies, refugees have to risk being robbed or raped going to neighboring town for medical attention or even to gather firewood. Tribal elders also say that armed men plunder the camps at will and the refugees are unable to protect themselves and security inadequate. For example, the 82 policemen in the area to cover 13,000 square miles near Kassab is grossly insufficient and even patrols by the AU peacekeepers have to be without weapons.

Despite such hardship, the locals refuse to migrate to safer pastures.