Sudan: Getting Worse


October 29, 2007: Nations are pledging troops to serve in the UN-African Union "hybrid" force that will deploy into Sudan's Darfur region, though the process has been slow. Thailand has agreed to commit 800 infantrymen. The Thais have very several high-quality infantry units. Earlier this month Ethiopia pledged 5,000 troops for duty in Darfur. The UN reported that 90 percent of the troops the force requires have now been pledged. African nations are supposed to provide 80 percent of the total personnel for the proposed force. 90 to 95 percent of the force's infantry is supposed to come from African nations. But for the millions of terrified and displaced people in Darfur, the peacekeeping force still seems like an empty promise. The West has been promising help for two years now, and not much has changed. The Islamic tribesmen continue to burn, rape and pillage their way across Darfur.

October 27, 2007: The government is declaring a "unilateral ceasefire" in Darfur. The government made the declaration in the opening rounds of the latest Darfur peace talks which are being held in Libya. Rebel groups, however, didn't give the statement much credence. As it is, the two biggest rebel factions, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Army "Unity faction", have said they will not attend the peace talks. These factions completely distrust the Sudanese government.

October 24, 2007: A spokesman for the JEM claimed that JEM fighters had attacked a Sudanese oil facility on October 23. JEM rebels engaged a Sudanese Army unit in the Defra oil field in Kordofan and killed 20 Sudanese soldiers in the firefight. The statement also said that the rebels took two "foreign oil workers" from the facility. A government spokesman later confirmed that an attack had taken place. The Sudan government and South Sudan have fought over oil facilities, but this attack is the first time that Darfuri rebels (at least in public) have claimed to have attacked an oil facility. Oil feeds Sudan's war machine.

October 23, 2007: UN advisers reported that the AU-UN hybrid force for Darfur will need 24 transport and attack helicopters. So far no country has officially offered to supply the helicopters.

October 22, 2007: A spokesman for the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM), which is essentially the government of southern Sudan ("South Sudan " increasingly, in official press statements) said that the UN needed to help it resolve a political dispute with the Sudanese government. The dispute. According to the SPLM. Threatens the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement which ended the civil war between the north and south. Troops redeployment is the central disagreement. Both the north and the south failed to meet scheduled re-deployments this past summer. However, the most serious troop dispute is over northern military units which continue to occupy part of the oil fields in the Abyei region.

October 21, 2007: The Sudan government (Khartoum) accused the SPLM of conducting a troop build-up along the north-south Sudan boundary. The government statement said that the SPLM was "mobilizing forces."




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