Saturday, February 28, 2004

Sudan: the other conflict

While on the subject of Sudan ... a bit of news about Darfur ... SLA/M today accused government forces of killing 70 civilians in raids on villages.
Sudanese Humanitarian Affairs Minister Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid said he was "not aware" of any raids.

[SLA/M spokesperson Hassan] Mandela said there were no rebels in the villages, which are in a part of the western Darfur region controlled by the government. But the residents of the villages were largely black African Muslims, the ethnic group from which the rebels draw the bulk of their fighters, he said. The government-backed militiamen were mostly Sudanese Arabs.
And a claim of victory from the SLM/A ...
Western Sudan rebels said on Saturday they had killed 60 government soldiers and allied Arab militia on Friday in a settlement called Dumma, between Nyala and El Fasher towns.

"They were coming to attack us but we were able to destroy them. Up to now we are chasing them," Ahmed Yagoub ... [SLA/M] spokesman said by telephone.
The government of Sudan now seems to be open to new mediation efforts.
"There are initiatives that the government is examining and talking [about] with the initiators," [official government spokesman Sa'id] Khatib told IRIN. He said both the EU and the US had come forward, and that a new mediation was a possibility.
Recall that earlier this month, the President of Sudan had claimed victory in Darfur.

As you can see, the fighting is still going on and thousands of refugees are still streaming into Chad.

SLM/A = Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (active only in Darfur region)