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AU Envoy: Darfur More Violent Than Ever


In the wake of increasing violence in Darfur the African Union special envoy to Sudan has blamed the largest Darfur rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Army, for recent insecurity in the region. Baba Ghana Kingibe told reporters in Khartoum that violence in Darfur is now more widespread and frequent than ever.

African Union special envoy to Sudan, Baba Ghana Kingibe, said the Darfur region remains volatile and accused Darfuri rebels of instigating much of the recent violence in the war-torn region, including attacks against civilians.

Kingibe added that Arab militias know as janjaweed continue to roam unchecked, killing and raping. He called for the immediate disarmament of the militias.

Kingibe praised the Sudan government for acting with "restraint" in Darfur in recent weeks.

He said that there is no evidence to support accusations by Chadian President Idris Deby that Sudan is arming and harboring Chadian rebels. Kingibe said that the government of Sudan has urged rebels to disarm.

Kingibe defended the African Union mission, saying he would not consider it a failure, though critics say the AU presence has produced few results in Darfur. There are 7,000 AU soldiers in the region struggling to maintain a shaky cease-fire.

But, Kingibe admitted the mission could not be called a success.

"Clearly we have not met all the expectations of the people of Darfur, especially the refugees and the IDPs [internally displaced people] and the unarmed civilian population," he said. "We have not stopped the constant, everyday threat to which they are exposed. They are still attacked. They are raped, they are killed, their villages burned, their animals stolen. It is an everyday occurrence. We have not been able to stop it. We are neither equipped nor mandated to do so."

Kingibe also expressed frustration with the lack of progress in peace talks between the government of Sudan and rebels in Abuja, Nigeria.

"As far as I am concerned these talks can be concluded at any given time. It is a matter of will. It is a matter of commitment," he continued. "There is no new wheel to be invented. All the elements of a settlement in Darfur are known. They have been discussed. They have been debated, over and over and over. I do not know if the rebels or the government, whoever is holding out, what more gains they expect."

The Darfur conflict began in 2003 when rebels rose against the Khartoum government complaining of economic and political marginalization. At least 180,000 people have died and two million more have been displaced in fighting that ensued when the government armed Arab militias to crush the rebellion.