Sudan's Darfur no longer at war: Peacekeeping chief


Tihar Jail
Jun 16, 2009
Sudan's Darfur no longer at war: Peacekeeping chief

Updated on Thursday, August 27, 2009, 16:29 IST Tags:Sudan, Darfur, Peacekeeping chief

Khartoum: Sudan's Darfur region is no longer in a state of war and only has one rebel group capable of mounting limited military campaigns, the head of the area's peacekeeping force said as he ended his tour of duty.

The commander of the joint U.N./African Union UNAMID force, Martin Luther Agwai, told reporters the conflict had now descended into banditry and "very low intensity" engagements, that could still carry on to blight the remote western region for years without a peace deal.

"As of today, I would not say there is a war going on in Darfur," he said in a briefing in Khartoum late on Wednesday.

"Militarily there is not much. What you have is security issues more now. Banditry, Localised issues, people trying to resolve issues over water and land at a local level. But real war as such, I think we are over that."

The six-year Darfur conflict has pitted pro-government militias and troops against mostly non-Arab rebels, who took up arms in 2003, demanding better representation and accusing Khartoum of neglecting the development of the region.

Estimates of the death count in Darfur range from 10,000 according to Khartoum, to 300,000 according to the United Nations. Aid workers say more than 2.7 million people have been driven from their homes by the fighting.

Agwai became the latest senior figure to appear to play down the current level of violence in Darfur where the conflict has caught the world's attention and mobilised activists who have accused Khartoum of genocide.

Mostly Western campaigners and some diplomats were angered by comments from UNAMID's political leader Rodolphe Adada in April that Darfur had subsided into a "low-intensity conflict," and from US Sudan envoy Scott Gration in June that he had seen the "remnants of genocide" in the region, stopping short, they said, of describing a current genocide.

Agwai said the fierce fighting of the early years of the conflict had subsided as rebel groups split into rival factions.

"Because of the fragmentation of the rebel groups, I do not see any major thing that can take place.

"Apart from JEM, I do not see any other group that can launch an attack on the ground," he said referring to the Justice and Equality Movement, a rebel force that launched an unprecedented attack on Khartoum last year.

Agwai said JEM still had the capability to launch sporadic attacks, but did not have the manpower to hold territory.

Sudan`s Darfur no longer at war: Peacekeeping chief


Tihar Jail
Aug 6, 2009
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Peacekeeping staff kidnapped in Darfur

(CNN) -- Two international staffers supporting the peacekeeping mission in the volatile Sudanese region of Darfur were kidnapped Saturday morning, a spokesman for the peacekeeping force told CNN.

Soldiers with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) pictured in June.

The man and the woman, whose identities and nationalities were withheld, worked for UNAMID, a U.N. and African Union force designated to keep peace in Darfur.

"Our people have been able to establish contact with the people responsible for the abduction," said UNAMID spokesman Noureddine Mezni, but he declined to identify the abductors.

The organization is "asking for their immediate release," Mezni added.

The peacekeeping force began operations in Darfur in December 2007 and is expected to remain there until July 2010, according to UNAMID's Web site.

As of July 31 its force is comprised of more than 13,000 troops from 39 countries. As of June 30, 999 international civilian personnel were on staff, according to the site.

The United Nations estimates that 300,000 people have been killed in the conflict in Darfur, and 2.5 million have been forced to flee their homes. Sudan denies the death toll is that high.

The violence in Darfur erupted in 2003 after rebels began an uprising against the Sudanese government.

To counter the rebels, Arab militias with ties to the Sudanese government went from village to village in Darfur, killing, torturing and raping residents there, according to the United Nations, Western governments and human rights organizations. The militias targeted civilian members of tribes from which the rebels drew strength

Peacekeeping staff kidnapped in Darfur -

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