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Jun-30-2010 20:05printcomments

Peace Eludes Darfur, despite Peacekeepers

While the peacekeepers in the area are minimal at best, many report that there is talk of relieving those that are on the Chad/Darfur border.

Entrance to El Fasher
Entrance to El Fasher, Sudan. Courtesy: picoodle.com

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - Last week sources in El-Fasher confirmed escalating violence inside the North Darfur capital and other areas; South Darfur, around Jebel Marra and East Al-geneina. The continued attacks and fighting between the rebels and the Sudanese government forces (GOS) have resulted in many of the most disastrous locales becoming inaccessibility for aid workers and humanitarians organizations. The earliest date given for returning aid was June 25, confirmation has not been conferred if anyone has yet to make it into these areas.

The GOS& JEM are fighting again in south Darfur. Hundreds of wounded soldiers are seen being brought to the El-Fashier military hospital; number of deaths has not been confirmed. Sources say that dozens are dead and many more are missing. “There are a great deal of casualties from both sides as well civilians.” 

Sunday June 6th, a group of Armed personnel, identifying themselves as Sudanese police by their “abu-tira ”(Arabic name means a bird mark), attacked a vendor at the El-Mowashy market located in the middle of El-Fashier town around 3:00 p.m.

The sources stated that the police were from Shalla, located just outside, west of the town. There rented “tico” cars stopped in front of Abdul-monien Mohamad Monien’s (29), grocery store , blocking him from his customers. The 29 year old asked their needs, how he could help them. They responded with their machine guns, extensively firing and killing him instantly. “The killers left immediately after, leaving the slain body to be taken care by friends.”

Earlier that day, the same group was seen harassing Abdella Musa Said’s perfumes and cosmetics store. The armed group insisted they buy the perfume at half price, the store owner refused and the police group left threatening him ”you will see”. The same night the group returned and destroyed the perfume store. Mr. Said was shocked the next morning to find all his store’s goods stolen and destroyed.

In the midst of these incidents and numerous others, the citizens of Darfur are anxious and scared every day. They see the peacekeepers inside El-Fashier do nothing to stop the police or protect the people. “WHY,” they ask?

According to sources “people are very frustrated that the UN peace keepers who are mostly Africans are doing nothing to stop the raids or killings.” Adding “We don’t feel their existence, especially when events like this occur. Under their watch many people are killed, raped, humiliated and looted. Overall, the peacekeepers don’t take any action to protect us. They don’t even pick up an immediate and accurate report or photos, let alone protecting us.”

Contemptuously, the citizens state that they can easily find the peacekeepers at tourist areas, restaurants, shopping and enjoying their time.  Another civilian states, “You can also find them in government’s frequent potluck meetings where they are invited to enjoy good food and drinks, having a good time.”

The people of Darfur are begging to be heard and need the support of effective peace keeping operations.  The death toll in Darfur alone was over 600 in the month of May, with June advancing as heavily. “We are sick of these ineffective African Union peacekeepers and hoping that the UN replaces them with an effective strong westerners UN troops.  Otherwise, the ongoing genocide in Darfur will never end before all of us are uprooted”.

While the peacekeepers in the area are minimal at best, many report that there is talk of relieving those that are on the Chad/Darfur border.  Leaving unprotected thousands of refugees and those still caught amongst the corrupt politics and greediness of the GOS. The citizens are in a continuous state of flight across towns, deserts, mountains and displacement camps. Most are only hoping to find some place for peace and food; they are continuously let down by the international community. Until Al-Bashir is held accountable for his crimes against the people of Sudan and those allowed to go back home, peace will continue to elude the people of Darfur.

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Alysha Atma spends many hours working on projects that support and benefit the beleaguered people of African nations who spend way too much time off the western media's radar. This writer explains that she is a culmination of all her experiences, most importantly knowledge she says, and all that she still needs to learn; lessons of love, laughter and the extraordinary giving of both young and old. She says she has the enormous fortune of learning from the best; every person around her, and the amazing strength and fortitude of those she has never met but will always strive to listen to. "I continue to work and write because I believe in the power of community and the power of one, both contradictory to each other and yet can move together in a very powerful way. I feel a responsibility to use my place, freedoms and connections here in the US to stand up and yell for those who need my voice and actions. I have seen such strength in my fellow humans that I cannot even begin to comprehend, they have traveled distances, have gone without food, water, shelter and safety for days and weeks at a time. I have a responsibility as a fellow human to put our common humanity before anything else. Everyone deserves to look towards tomorrow, to dream of a safe future and to have a peaceful present." You can write to Alysha Atma at: alyshann78@comcast.net




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