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US says Minnawi’s threats to attack Darfur airports are "unacceptable"


February 22, 2011 (KHARTOUM) — The US State Department today said alarmed by threats issued last week by a rebel group to attack the airports in the restive region of Darfur saying such actions are unacceptable and put civilians and peacekeepers at risk

The Sudan Liberation Movement led by Minni Minnawi warned in a statement released on 20 February that all the airports in the region are "strategic military targets" asking the UNAMID, international and non-governmental organizations to stop using these sites.

The rebel group said the airports are used by the Sudanese warplanes to commit atrocities against civilians and to transport ammunition and weapons to Darfur.

UNAMID chief Ibrahim Gambari yesterday slammed the statement of the rebel group saying he called Minnawi and warned him of "the grave consequences of any actions that may harm civilian populations, international personnel and operations or hamper the provision of crucial humanitarian assistance in Darfur".

Gambari went further to say he reminded Minnawi that any attack on the peacekeepers is considered a war crime under international law.

"Attacks by any party that place innocent civilians, peacekeepers, and aid workers at risk are unacceptable and inconsistent with the spirit of working collectively toward a peaceful and more prosperous future for the people of Darfur," said State Department spokesperson Philip J. Crowley on Tuesday.

He further stressed that Washington "discourages" such attacks and urged the warring parties in Darfur to stop hostilities and join international efforts to reach a negotiated settlement.

The Sudanese army minimized Minnawi’s statements saying his threats are meaningless. The Sudan Armed Forces spokesperson Khaled Al-Sawarmi said these threats are for media consumption. He also stressed that all the airport in Darfur are protected.

The peacekeeping operation said intensified patrols in and around Shangil Tobaya to provide protection to the civilians there. Further following several days of fighting in Wadi Mura, North Darfur, a UNAMID assessment team found that civilians abandoned some villages and fled to Tawilla and Zamzam camps.

Minnawi who was the first to sign a peace agreement in May 2006 denounced formally this month his pact with the government. The government in the past objected his participation in the Doha process to settle their differences over the implementation of the deal.


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  • 23 February 2011 07:52, by Omoni Atari

    U.S, the airports you are talking about is not use for transporting in civilians goods,instead use for bring in janjaweed and its allies equipment for their remaining genocidial phase. All the airports across the Darfur region are supposed to be free from SAF and janjaweeds malitias.
    must only UN PEACE KEEPERS,operating there.

    repondre message

  • 23 February 2011 07:53, by Sam.Eto

    See Mr. Minnawi - like i told you before.

    " Dont you think they would have done it sooner ? At least during the climax of the war - if they could. The war was over a long time ago. The rebels lost the war - but the battle will continue as long as there is some degree of tolerance from the West towards the rebels. Unfortunately for them (JEM, LEM, SLM and other factions), the international community is losing interest. The headline catching news craze is over. They will have to accept anything now and anyone seen exploiting or reigniting the situation will be seen as a perpetrator. The government has been that target from the start, but smartly played (vis-a-vis the South) they have managed to gain the respect of many, lifting much pressure they had been under for some time on darfur. You will start seeing pressure on the Americans from the Chinese, Russians, Africans and even some European countries like the UK. Even Americans companies are itching to get a share in the oil and mineral rush in North Sudan, even Darfur. The government has offered all it can in terms of compensation, development and security - which many, even in the West are beginning to see as fair and not push for "justice". Two issues which the North will not fall into is the questions of a vise president and one state. This lead to the South seceding and they will not fall for that trap twice.

    I’m sorry Minnawi, but your sudden surge of passion and patriotism after all these years of sitting idle will not be seen or felt by many, let alone your own supports - of whom many have defected ...... "

    repondre message

    • 23 February 2011 12:37, by Sudani Logik


      Do what you must to free your people from the tyranny of the northern Arab elites, while you’re at it, get the supporters like Sam.Eto who keep supporting those barbaric and oppressive regimes of the confused north.

      Make sure you target Military and not civilian installations, so if SAF is using regional airports as bases then do away with them. The NGO’s will find a way to drop or airlift aid to the needy. SAF is composed of a bunch of cowards, hence why they can attack their own civilians but wont defend Halaib from Egyptian invasion, what a joke! The international community may have sensationalized the Darfur issue but none the less crimes were committed there and those criminals must pay the price.

      repondre message

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