ME and Ophelia

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

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Khartoum has kitted out the Arab militias with police gear and uniforms
Over the past few months, it's been reported that government of Sudan has incorporated Arab militias into Sudan's army and police. Having them 'protect' the refugees from Arab militias is like leaving foxes to guard chickens.

Today, Khartoum ordered its officials to stop helping the aid operation. There are reports of Sudan's army (a rag bag of under trained and poorly equipped conscripts) "protesting" at the threat of sanctions in 30 days.

Also today, Khartoum is saying it's prepared to deploy up to 12,000 policemen to secure the western region of Darfur: "should that become necessary", Information Minister Zahawi Ibrahim Malik said. He said the current plan was to increase the existing number of policemen in the region from 5,000 to 6,000 over the next few days.

The minister added that the increase was in line with an agreement between the Sudanese government and the United Nations aimed at securing the region and ridding it of various militia groups blamed for many of the atrocities committed against the civilian population. Eh? If it doesn't care to help get vital food to 70,000 people isolated in Darfur, why would it care to protect them? It will be interesting to read what the African Union says about this.

If Sudan refuses to help with the aid operation, foregin troops will have to go in and help, and provide back-up to the AU-led mission of 270 troops due to land in Sudan any day now. Khartoum's so-called "police force" will guard what is going on in Darfur. AU-led 270 troops will guard the 120 UN observers who will report everything that is going on. Aid and aid workers will get through to Darfur, non?

The regime in Khartoum - by ordering it's officials to delay the aid getting through to Darfur - is digging its own grave. Surely, it's days must be numbered - and it knows it too. The Arab League ought to be helping. They are very wealthy. Seems we in the West are the only ones to care. What about China, Russia, Pakistan and Brazil - are the citizens of those countries not ashamed of their governments - or do they simply not care?

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 8/03/2004
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