May 23, 2007: It looks like China is fighting back
against threats to boycott the 2008 Beijing Olympics. First off, China issued a
statement saying that any sanctions against Sudan would not produce peace in
Darfur. Then Japan (which takes from 35 to 38 percent of Sudan's daily oil
production) announced that it would not boycott China's Olympics over Darfur.
This makes sense for Japan, which is trying to get China to help it stop North
Korea's nuclear weapons program.
May 22, 2007: There is a "surge" in internally
displaced persons (IDPs) is occurring in South Darfur state. Several hundred
new IDPs have arrived the Al Salam refugee camp. The refugees are probably
fleeing the new wave of janjaweed militia attacks being reported in South
The government of south Sudan said that it will
upgrade the airport at Juba to "international standards." South Sudan and the
main Sudanese government in Khartoum also announced they will build two new
airports in south Sudan, in the towns of Malakal and Rubeck. South Sudanese
have complained for decades that they lack transportation infrastructure. This
is a small indication that some of the developmental aid promises made when the
2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed are finally being fulfilled.
May 19, 2007: A large battle took place between a
local defense force and militiamen in South Darfur state, in the town of Abu Surug. Some 120 militiamen took part in
the attack. Elsewhere in Darfur, the National Redemption Front (NRF) gunmen
were hit by an air force strike, that
killed one person, in the town of Malam Hush (West Darfur state). The
NRF was also attacked by a janjaweed militia unit attack the Jebel Moon area
(West Darfur), an action that killed four civilians.
The UN's Office of the High Commissioner for
Refugees called for a complete and independent investigation of a series of
attacks in South Darfur state that occurred between January and March 2007. The
request followed the publication of a UN report that said that "heavily armed"
fighters (some in uniforms) attacked eight different villages in the period.
(The entire text is available at
http://www.ohchr.org/english/press/docs/periodicreport7.doc and is worth
reading in detail) Over 100 people died in the attacks. The villages were inhabited
by members of the Tarjum tribe. Members of the Sudan military (including
members of the Border Intelligence Guards) were involved in the attacks, but so
were members of the Rizeigat Abbala tribes - rivals of the Tarjum. The Rizeigat
Abbala tribespeople are mostly herders (pastoralists) and the Tarjum farm as
well as herd. What is really interesting are the reasons the report gave for
the attacks: control of land. The report said the attackers wished to gain
control of farmland and "grazing land" in the area.
Here is an extract from the UN report:
"?witnesses described hundreds of heavily armed
attackers, mostly dressed in green or beige khaki uniforms, accompanied by
machine gun-equipped Land Cruisers owned by Border Intelligence Guards In many
instances, victims in the affected villages, particularly men, knew their
attackers by name and independently identified specific Border Intelligence
commanders as being present. Witnesses reported that during all the incidents,
attackers fired from the outskirts of the settlements with heavy
vehicle-mounted machine guns and rocket propelled grenades (RPGs), before
entering the settlements and targeting any men found inside. They then
systematically looted items of value, particularly livestock, before (in most cases)
burning large sections of the settlements. Although it could not be confirmed,
UNMIS Human Rights received several reports from witnesses about the use of
heavy weapons, including mortars, which they were unfamiliar with."
May 13, 2007: The UN believes that the African Union's (AU) Darfur peacekeeping
force is near "collapse." The UN wants an immediate reinforcement. The AU
peacekeepers are short of supplies. Their internal communications situation is
also bad-the force needs new radios and more radios. The UN also accused Sudan
of launching new air attacks in Darfur. The UN is also angry over an attack in
in late April, that left five AU
peacekeepers dead. A Darfur rebel group was believed responsible, and the
incident still under investigation.