The international aid agency, OXFAM, says the current African Union mission in Darfur is understaffed and ill equipped to deal with the crisis. Only half of the promised 3,300 AU troops have been deployed in western Sudan.
Adrian McIntyre is a spokesman for OXFAM. From Khartoum, he spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about insecurity in Darfur.
He says, “The past three weeks have been relatively quiet in that there haven’t been any major attacks between the rebel groups, the government of Sudan military forces, the groups that are referred to often as the parties to the conflict. However, the low-level violence on an individual scale that targets civilians throughout Darfur continues. And in fact, in the eight months that I’ve been working in Darfur I would say that has never gotten any better. The rape, the abuse, the beatings and the murder continue everyday throughout the region. And a lot more needs to be done to protect civilians in Darfur from these violence attacks.
As for the effectiveness of the AU mission there, Mr. McIntyre says, “The Africa Union mission in Darfur has made a difference. Unfortunately, that difference has been far too limited and that’s due to the fact that their presence has been far too limited. At the moment, there’s only half of the roughly 3,000 personnel that were promised for Darfur last October. And the delays in getting them on the ground are due to shortages in funding, equipment, personnel and key resources, logistical resources. The communications equipment and the transportation that’s necessary to make a mission like this work. In places where they have established a presence in Darfur, places such as Kebkabiya, for example, where OXFAM has been working since the past eighteen months, we have seen that their presence is able to reduce the level of violence in the immediate town and vicinity. But Darfur is a massive region, it’s bigger than France and much more presence is needed.”