Home | Comment & Analysis    Sunday 28 February 2010

What is the function of UNAMID in Darfur?

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By Gamal Adam

February 27, 2010 — It has now been more than three weeks when the Government of Sudan’s forces have been wreaking havoc in eastern, southeastern, northeastern and northern parts of Jabel Marra including towns and villages such as Kidinyeer, Laibei, Feina, Dirbat, and Dobo. These towns have been exposed to continuous attacks from the air by helicopters and Antonov and MiG planes and by forces of infantrymen and janjaweed from the ground.

The tactical pattern the government has adopted in these areas is aerial attacks followed by intensive invasions from the ground. Every single attack there is accompanied by hundreds of Arab men each of whom has at least three camels following the military vehicles. The government forces open fire indiscriminately on the villagers killing and wounding civilians. The survivors among the villagers just flee with the clothes they had on and leave everything behind. Then the Arab men from the S’adaa tribe who accompany the invading military convoys, enter the homes and shops and take all the valuables, destroy the property that they cannot carry and rustle cattle and small stock.

All these attacks have been happening in the face of what appears to be a complete media blackout. The news sources that previously reported on the atrocities in Darfur are more concerned about the reunification of Islamists in Doha, the infighting amongst rebel groups and the pretense of a forthcoming election. None of these issues have anything to do with survivors of genocide in Darfur whose immediate need is protection and then the right to life with dignity in their own country. Even Radio Dabanga which is thought by many to be the voice for the destitute Darfuris, has prioritized elections and the sham of the Doha negotiations over the protection of people in Jabel Marra.

However, the most shocking absence in all of this is UNAMID. The silence of UNAMID on the attacks in Kidinyeer, Leibei, Feina, and Dirbat is outrageous and unconscionable. While UNAMID’s s mandate is limited, there is no excuse whatsoever for leaving civilians to die with a complete news blackout. UNAMID’s failure to fulfill their role of reporting the ongoing government attacks in Jabel Marra at the time when it has recently received several helicopters to intensify its monitoring operations makes me wonder on what its function really is. It weakens further the ability of the UN claim any legitimacy for peace operations and renders questionable the “African” in African union. In what way did these villagers see any support from their African brothers?

One wonders what will be written on the pages of history about Darfur. Will it be that the world abandoned innocent people to be slaughtered while a mockery of negotiations took place in Doha and Chad? Will it be that news-agencies reported on the so called elections while the Sudanese government carried out its plan to annihilate an entire ethnic group? Will it be that the international community facilitated peace talks for their own interests with the very same group of fundamentalists that it is fighting the war on terror against? Will it be that in the 21st century long after the hard fought campaigns to end slavery that a new form of enslavement of the people of Darfur is happening under the nose of the first African American President? These questions remain to be answered.

Gamal Adam is Adjunct Professor at University of San Francisco. He can be reached at gaadam@usfca.edu



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  • 28 February 2010 07:58, by DASODIKO

    Is only Obama adminstration to be blamed, he has appointed a man who has become in the hands of NCP and legalized the killing of Darfuris with a foolish excused of rejecting negociations with regime who up to now has never respected any agreement even the gareements signed with the most powerful body in the world which is UN Security Council.

    Gration has spoiled the reputation of the American people in the eyes of Darfur IDPs and refugees. They generalized dirty work of this man as Americans. If any American man appear in the third world even without the concent of the adminstration people believe that is the adminstration work that he or she is doing. I think its not too late Obama try to fix it now before you fail both in your internal and and foreign policies. The support you Found was not only internal.

    A innocent old man among Darfur Refugees in Chad asked man where President Ronald Reagan who use to feed people of Darfur in hunger times. Not to lose hope I told him that he is coming.

    repondre message

  • 28 February 2010 14:15, by Time1

    The answer is to make money from the misery of thepeople, if the conflict stop what will happen tot he employed UN staff? are they ready to lose their jobs and not get any more free housings and free cars? UN is surviving on other peoples misery, it is ridden by corruption. however working together between UN and AU will reduce corruption and make the work more effective, let them keep the peace not focus on making money only.

    repondre message

  • 1 March 2010 07:02, by william brown

    Not a total media blackout. Reuters has been covering it - http://af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFTRE61O18420100225

    The challenge for reporters is getting independent confirmation of these attacks - especially difficult when UNAMID stays silent.

    repondre message

    • 2 March 2010 07:19, by Shuggar

      It is a complete media blackout. Where are the pictures? There is no media presence in Darfur?! Reuters is reporting from Khartoum via satellite phone calls. Words can always be denied or refuted by GoS but not the pictures.

      repondre message

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