Sudan To Send Troops Into Darfur After Fresh Killings

File photo of Sudanese members of the Rapid Support Forces, a paramilitary force backed by the Sudanese government to fight rebels in 2017. AFP PHOTO / ASHRAF SHAZLY

 

UN officials reported a fresh massacre of more than 60 people in Sudan’s West Darfur, as the country’s prime minister promised fresh troops for the conflict-stricken region.

Attackers targeted members of the local Masalit community, looting and burning houses and part of the local market, a statement said.

Around 500 armed men attacked Masteri Town, north of Beida, in Darfur on Saturday afternoon, said the Sunday statement from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

“This was one of the latest of a series of security incidents reported over the last week that left several villages and houses burned, markets and shops looted, and infrastructure damaged,” said the statement, from the OCHA’s Khartoum office.

Following Saturday’s attack on Masteri, around 500 local people staged a protest demanding more protection from the authorities.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said the government would send security forces to conflict-stricken Darfur to “protect citizens and the farming season.”

The force will include army and police, he said in a statement after he met a delegation of women from the region.

Land conflict

On Friday, armed men drove into a village and killed 20 civilians returning to their fields for the first time in years, an eyewitness and a tribal chief told AFP.

Darfur has been devastated since 2003 by a conflict between ethnic minority rebels and forces loyal to now ousted president Omar al-Bashir, including the feared Janjaweed militia, mainly recruited from Arab pastoralist tribes.

West Darfur State is one of the states of Sudan, and one of five comprising the Darfur region.
West Darfur State is one of the states of Sudan, and one of five comprising the Darfur region.

 

A government scorched-earth campaign to crush the rebels left 300,000 people dead and displaced 2.5 million.

Violence in Darfur has eased since Bashir’s ouster by the army amid mass protests against his rule last year.

The government and a coalition of nine rebel groups, including factions from the region, signed a preliminary peace deal in January.

Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court over charges of genocide and crimes against humanity in the conflict.

Farmers displaced by the fighting had since started to return to their land under a government-sponsored deal reached two months ago, in time for the July-November planting season.

But the bloodshed has continued, particularly over land rights, according to expert Adam Mohammad.

“The question of land is one cause of the conflict,” he said.

“During the war, peasants fled their lands and villages to camps, and nomads replaced them and settled there.”

Harvests threatened

The recent killings have targeted the African farming communities in conflict with the nomadic Arab tribes over the land.

In late June and early July, hundreds of protesters camped for days outside a government building in the Central Darfur town of Nertiti to demand that the government beef up security after multiple killings and looting incidents on farmland and properties.

After Saturday’s attack on Masteri, around 500 local people staged their own protest demanding more protection.

“The escalation of violence in different parts of Darfur region is leading to increased displacement, compromising the agricultural season, causing loss of lives and livelihoods and driving growing humanitarian needs,” said the OCHA statement.

South Africa Set To Leave International Criminal Court

Zuma, al-Bashir
The failure of South Africa to arrest the Sudanese President has been a knotty issue in African politics.

South Africa has begun the legal process of formally withdrawing from the Roman Statute setting up the International Criminal Court.

If it formally withdraws from the statute, it means the country would no longer be bound to the International Criminal Court.

In the ‘Instrument of Withdrawal’ signed South Africa’s Foreign Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, states that South Africa “has found that its obligations with respect to the peaceful resolution of conflicts at times are incompatible with the interpretation given by the International Criminal Court of obligations contained in the Rome Statute.”

Under that statute, South Africa is obligated to arrest anyone sought by the tribunal.

The United Nations spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, is however yet to confirm if  the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon has received the notice of withdrawal from South Africa.

al-Bashir Brouhaha

South Africa is exiting the ICC after a controversial visit by Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, who was wanted by the tribunal over allegations of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

President al-Bashir in June 2015 was in Johannesburg to attend an African Union summit but the South African government refused to arrest him.

During the visit, provincial court has ruled that the Sudanese president remains in the country while judges considered whether he should be arrested on the ICC warrants.

President al-Bashir left for Khartoum before the court ruled that he should be arrested.

South Afica’s Supreme Court of Appeal later ruled that the government’s refusal o arrest President al-Bashir was a “disgraceful conduct”.

The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda insists President al-Bashir as a sitting president, directed a campaign of mass killing, rape, and looting against civilians in Darfur.

The charges against the Sudanese president follow the unrest in the Darfur region which started in 2003.

The United Nations said 300,000 people died in the conflict while 2.7 million people were displaced.

800 Nigerian Soldiers Return To Boost War On Terror

soldierA total number of 800 Nigerian soldiers sent on peace support operations in Darfur, the Sudanese capital last year, are back in the country to join in the fight against insurgency.

Addressing the contingent on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff, shortly after their arrival at the Ribadu Military Cantonment in Kaduna, the General Officer Commanding One Division of Nigerian Army, Major General Kenneth Osuji, reminded the soldiers that their exposure to international warfare is needed at this critical time to tackle the Boko Haram security challenge which has become a threat to national security.

He urged them to contribute their quota to the fight against ending terrorism, especially in the northeast states.

Osuji commended them for displaying a high level of professionalism and discipline while in Darfur and expressed optimism that such zeal would be replicated in the fight against insurgency.

The soldiers spent a period of nine months in the West African Country.

Upon their return to Nigeria, they will proceed on a two weeks disembarkation leave and thereafter, join their colleagues in the field.

 

Army Deploys More Troops To Darfur

The Nigerian Army has deployed more troops to Darfur, the Sudanese capital on peace support operations, as part of commitment to the United Nations and African Union peace support operations in Africa.

The troops comprise of officers and men totalling 800 and are going to replace troops already on ground in Darfur.

The Commandant of the centre, Major General Salihu Uba said the troops have received the intensive training, hence their deployment to the United Nations peace operations in Darfur.

After undergoing the intensive training manned by the peacekeeping centre, the officers and men of the Nigerian army get signed off and a typical example of this routine are the officers deployed to Daufur.

The General Officer Commanding one Division, Nigerian Army, Major General Garba Wahab however warned the troops to abide by the rules of engagement and shun acts capable of tarnishing the image of Nigeria in Darfur.

This is not the first time the country is churning out military personnel on peace keeping operations abroad since its establishment in January 2009, the Nigerian army peace keeping centre has been mandated to provide quality training for troops earmarked for induction into peacekeeping missions to be camped four weeks, while received training in several military tactics in line with the mission, a training that will become useful while in action ahead Nigeria’s commitment with the United Nations and the African continent on peace support operations.

Nigerian Army Deploys Another 800 Peacekeepers To Darfur

The Nigerian Army is set to deploy another 800 officers to Darfur, Sudan in continuation of its peacekeeping mission.

Addressing the 322 battalion troop at the end of their four weeks pre-deployment training at the Nigerian Army Peacekeeping Centre Jaji, North West Nigeria, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 2 Division Nigerian Army, Major General Ahmed Jibrin advised members of the Nigerian contingent to live above board and shun acts capable of tarnishing the image of the country.

The GOC warned the contingent to exhibit high sense of professionalism and also respect the cultural heritage of the people of Sudan, adding that the Nigerian army will not condone any form professional misconduct from its officers.

Commandant of the centre, Major General Salihu Uba said the training was in cognisance of the Chief of Army Staff’s vision of injecting quality army peacekeepers into global and regional peace support operations.

He said the training was to equip the troop to be capable of confronting the complex multidimensional challenges of contemporary peace keeping and peace support environment, adding that Nigeria will continue sending troops   on peace keeping mission in war affected countries until peace and stability return to Africa and beyond.

700 personnel of the Nigerian Army who had undergone a four-week pre-deployment training at the centre were deployed to Liberia three months ago.

Since 1960 when it inducted the first peace contingent to Congo, the Nigerian Army has since then been contributing in several peacekeeping operations at continental and regional levels.

Four Nigerian peacekeepers killed in Sudan’s Darfur

Four Nigerian peacekeepers were killed and eight wounded in an ambush in Sudan’s western Darfur region, the international peacekeeper force UNAMID said on Wednesday.

“They were killed last night some 2 km (1.2 miles) from our regional headquarters in El Geneina. They came under fire from all sides,” a spokesman for UNAMID said.

UNAMID, the world’s largest peacekeeping mission, was deployed by the United Nations and the African Union in the arid western territory after fierce fighting in 2003 which forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes.

A total of 42 peacekeepers have been killed since UNAMID was set up, according to the force.

Violence in Darfur, where mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms against the government in Khartoum, has ebbed from a 2003-04 peak but international efforts to broker peace have failed to end the conflict.

The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and other officials to face charges of masterminding atrocities in the region where Sudanese troops and allied Arab militias have sought to crush the rebellion.

Estimates of the death count vary widely.

Sudan’s government signed a Qatar-sponsored peace deal with an umbrella organisation of smaller rebel groups last year, but the major factions refused to join.

Tribal clashes kill 58 in Sudan’s Darfur region

Clashes between two Arab tribes in Sudan’s troubled Darfur region earlier this week killed 58 people and wounded 24, the state news agency SUNA said on Thursday.

Displaced Sudanese women walk past an armoured personnel carrier (APC) of United Nations-African Union Mission in Nyala, southern Darfur

The fighting involved the Misseriya and Rizeigat tribes and took place in the Jebara area at the border between East Darfur and South Kordofan state, SUNA said after a meeting of tribal leaders and government officials in East Darfur.

It did not say what had started the violence. Tribes in Darfur, a vast arid region in western Sudan, and in the south of the country often clash over land or water rights.

Darfur is the scene of a rebellion by non-Arab tribes against the Arab government in Khartoum, which they accuse of political and economic marginalisation.

The rebels took up arms in 2003, and a year later the government sent troops and allied Arab tribes to quell the insurgency, unleashing a wave of violence which the United Nations estimates has killed hundreds of thousands of people. Khartoum puts the number of dead at 10,000.

The level of violence has subsided, but continuing fighting and widespread banditry have hampered peace efforts.