Darfur: Radio Dabanga, News Digest Number 10 | May 3, 2015‏

 

Darfur: Radio Dabanga, News Digest Number 10 | May 3, 2015

This is the tenth installment of a digest containing what I believe to be the most important stories reported by Radio Dabanga in the previous week. Radio Dabanga continues to be by far our most important and reliable source of information about what is occurring in Darfur, and provides a great deal more than the UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and the largely worthless quarterly reports of the UN Secretary-General.

In the further wake of Sudan's electoral travesty, this week has been particularly dense with detailed news about violence in Darfur and issues affecting all of Sudan. Important stories also appeared in Sudan Tribune. Per usual, there are ten primary stories, with related stories in subsidiary positions in the text.  Often, however, there are no compelling reasons for subordinating one story to another, as for example in the second heading here, relating to attacks against civilians this past week.  Altogether there are eleven such stories, all giving an important sense of how vast the sea of violence has become in Darfur, and how little the international community has provided in the way of meaningful civilian protection.

In the further wake of Sudan's electoral travesty, this week has been particularly dense with detailed news about violence in Darfur and issues affecting all of Sudan. Important stories also appeared in Sudan Tribune. Per usual, there are ten primary stories, with related stories in subsidiary positions in the text.  Often, however, there are no compelling reasons for subordinating one story to another, as for example in the second heading here, relating to attacks against civilians this past week.  Altogether there are eleven such stories, all giving an important sense of how vast the sea of violence has become in Darfur, and how little the international community has provided in the way of meaningful civilian protection.

I have again particularly emphasized in this digest that what is now called "Central Darfur" was formerly part of West Darfur (and to a lesser extent South Darfur). The further division of Darfur by the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party (NIF/NCP) regime in 2012 was arbitrary and entirely politically motivated; it has also worked to encourage geographical confusion (the western part of "Central Darfur," for example, borders eastern Chad). Similarly, "East Darfur" was also created arbitrarily in 2012 from parts of South Darfur. Geographically, it designates the southeastern region of Darfur.

This emphasis on geographical clarification derives from the fact that while North Darfur and eastern Jebel Marra continue to be the site of the greatest violence in Darfur, reports from West Darfur (including what is now "Central Darfur") as well as South Darfur (including what is now "East Darfur") are increasing alarmingly. 

Most notable among this week's dispatches is Khartoum's accusation that "[UNAMID] peacekeepers killed four civilians taken hostage inside the mission's base." Absent a fully credible investigation we can't be sure what occurred near Kass, South Darfur. UNAMID vehemently denies Khartoum's charges, and it must surely be borne in mind that the Khartoum regime and its military and official spokesmen have a long history of lying and denial, even when the facts available make nonsense of such responses.

But all this was reported after an earlier, ominous, and likely related incident: Khartoum's refusal to allow the medical flight evacuation (medevac) of a badly injured UNAMID peacekeeper in West Darfur; the Ethiopian soldier later died of his injuries, perhaps for lack of access to a trauma center because of the denied medevac.

Together these and other similar incidents provide context for a decision that is imminent in the negotiations between the UN, the African Union, and the Khartoum regime about the re-authorization of UNAMID; current authorization expires in less than two months (June 30, 2015). What we may see in both of these incidents is Khartoum's creating significant "facts on the ground":

[1] Hostility on the ground by the regime's militia forces and regular troops, as well as rising animosity on the part of the regime, will define the environment for any re-authorized force, which confidential sources make clear will be substantially re-configured, as well as severely reduced in size.

[2] Efforts to make UNAMID a greater burden to the UN and African Union will continue. Challenges will multiply. Visas will be delayed as they have in the past, sometimes for as long as two years. Various weapons and weapon systems will be denied the re-authorized mission, and peacekeepers will be much more vulnerable as a consequence. A new "Status of Forces Agreement" (SOFA) will certainly contain provisions allowing Khartoum to impede, obstruct, or deny access any re-authorized force; these actions occur now, but are in contravention of the SOFA negotiated in February 2008.

But all this was reported after an earlier, ominous, and likely related incident: Khartoum's refusal to allow the medical flight evacuation (medevac) of a badly injured UNAMID peacekeeper in West Darfur; the Ethiopian soldier later died of his injuries, perhaps for lack of access to a trauma center because of the denied medevac.

Even as the NIF/NCP regime is pushing for UNAMID's "exit," there are growing signs of civil unrest, especially in universities in several locations around the country. Radio Dabanga is able to provide a highly detailed account of this growing threat from a populace that overwhelmingly longs for "regime change."

All dispatches have again been edited to some degree for length; any editorial comments on my part appear italicized in [brackets] and in blue; all emphases within the cited texts have been added. 

Eric Reeves, 3 May 2015

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 1 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1CD

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 2 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1De

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 3 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Dt

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 4 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Ei

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 5 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1EL

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 6 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Fp

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 7 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1FL

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 8 | http://sudanreeves.org/2015/04/19/6452/

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 9 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Gi

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 10 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Gt 

                                    *************************

[1]  Darfur peacekeeper dies as Sudan denies evacuation request

April 28, 2015 | New York

The Sudanese government denied a flight request for an emergency medical evacuation of a UNAMID peacekeeper on Sunday. He died from his injuries, sustained in West Darfur, hours later.

[This is not the first time that Khartoum's military has denied medevac permission to mortally wounded soldiers. For example, three members of the UN Interim Security Force in Abyei (UNISFA) were denied medevac from Abyei to nearby Kadugli (capital of South Kordofan). Two were likely to have died, but one might well have survived if he had reached the Kadugli hospital in timely fashion.]

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon deeply regrets the decision by the Sudanese government. In a press statement on Monday... Ban Ki-moon called on Khartoum to respect the Status of Forces Agreement signed with the UN and lift all restrictions placed on the joint peacekeeping mission with the African Union in Darfur, UNAMID...

The Secretary-General further expressed his concerns about the recent increase in the number of attacks on UNAMID soldiers, "and the limited cooperation provided by the Government of Sudan in addressing these incidents." He pointed to and condemned the two attacks by "unidentified armed groups" that took place in Kass, South Darfur, on 23 and 24 April.

[Whatever the fate of UNAMID after its current authorization expires on June 30, we may expect to see an escalation of attacks on any force that remains, as Khartoum attempts to compel a complete withdrawal. The regime has a long, well-documented responsibility for many of the most deadly attacks on UNAMID peacekeepers. See:

"Khartoum's Military Forces Deliberately Attack a UNAMID Convoy," Sudan Tribune, 14 January 2008| http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article25579 

"Killing UN Peacekeepers: A Ruthless Proclivity of Khartoum's SAF, Militia Proxies," Sudan Tribune, 9 May 2013 | http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article46513

"Violence in Hashaba, North Darfur: A brutal portent, another UN disgrace," Sudan Tribune, 30 October 2012 | http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article44379

"Attack on UNAMID Forces in Darfur: The Khartoum Regime is Responsible," Genocide Prevention Advisory Network, 12 July 2008 http://goo.gl/S4ZzyA ]

For the full text of "Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 10," see http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Gt ...

-- 

 

Eric Reeves 
Smith College
Northampton, MA  01063
       413-585-3326
       ereeves@smith.edu

       Skype: ReevesSudan 

 

 

 

       Website:   www.sudanreeves.org

Compromising With Evil: An archival history of greater Sudan, 2007-2012   www.CompromisingWithEvil.org