Darfur update

The Addis Tribune is reporting that the African Union is sending monitors to Darfur to monitor the ceasefire. Military officers from Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Namibia are slated to be deployed “as soon as possible”; the US has offered “unspecified ‘logistical support’”.

Nairobi’s The East African observes that the “ceasefire” in Darfur is likely to give the Bush administration some breathing room just as the administration was starting to receive some pressure to investigate the situation in Darfur and determine whether or not it constituted genocide. IRIN reminds us that the ceasefire doesn’t guarantee a cessation of fighting, as the Janjawid militias aren’t signatories to the ceasefire. (Indeed, the Khartoum government doesn’t acknowledge the Janjawid, referring to incidents of “banditry”, rather than to an organized campaign to eliminate ethnic groups.) A day after the ceasefire was declared, a Janjawid group attacked a refugee camp in southern Darfur.

Reporters sans Frontieres is calling for the release of Islam Salih, Al-Jazeera’s bureau chief for Sudan, imprisoned on April 10th for “reporting false news”. Salih’s arrest is part of a news blackout the Khartoum authorities are attempting to impose on Darfur.

The Boston Globe is running a Reuters article regarding one of the most horrific aspects of the violence in Darfur – the gang rape of young girls. Nick Kristoff writes about rape as a tool of war in his powerful NYT op-ed – he notes that families in Darfur face a terrible decision in choosing who goes to the well for water – men or boys who are shot by the Janjawid, or women or girls, who are raped by them.

For those following the events in Sudan, All Africa is an invaluable resource – their Sudan newswire gives an overview of some of the major stories coming out of the country. It’s also available as an RSS feed.

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