Eric Reeves, 4 August 2013 •
APPENDIX 1: Statement by fourteen UN agencies on insecurity in Darfur, January 2007
“In the face of growing insecurity and danger to communities and aid workers, the UN and its humanitarian partners have effectively been holding the line for the survival and protection of millions.
“That line cannot be held much longer. Access to people in need in December 2006 was the worst since April 2004. The repeated military attacks, shifting frontlines, and fragmentation of armed groups compromise safe humanitarian access and further victimize civilians who have borne the brunt of this protracted conflict. In the last six months alone, more than 250,000 people have been displaced by fighting, many of them fleeing for the second or third time. Villages have been burnt, looted and arbitrarily bombed and crops and livestock destroyed. Sexual violence against women is occurring at alarming rates. This situation is unacceptable.
“Nor can we accept the violence increasingly directed against humanitarian workers. Twelve relief workers have been killed in the past six months—more than in the previous two years combined. Their loss has had direct consequences on the Darfur humanitarian operations. [ ]
“In the last six months, 30 nongovernmental organizations and UN compounds were directly attacked by armed groups. More than 400 humanitarian workers have been forced to relocate 31 times from different locations throughout the three Darfur states, including from the capitals El Fasher and El Geneina and from rebel-controlled areas. Assets have been looted and staff threatened and physically harassed. In the town of Gereida (South Darfur), targeted attacks against six humanitarian compounds on 18 December forced the NGO staff to withdraw, seriously compromising the delivery of vital assistance such as food, clean water and health care for 130,000 displaced persons, the largest IDP gathering in all Darfur. Ten days earlier, in the town of Kutum (North Darfur), the staff of four NGOs and WFP were forced to withdraw to El Fasher, after an attack on a clearly marked humanitarian compound. These are but two examples of the types of incidents which have taken place throughout Darfur.
“If this situation continues, the humanitarian operation and welfare of the population it aims to support will be irreversibly jeopardised. Ongoing insecurity negatively affects access to health care for the population of Darfur, as many NGOs providing primary health care have had to suspend or minimize their activities. This reduction in services is leading to a deterioration of the hygiene in IDP camps, reflected by the cholera outbreak that struck 2,768 and killed 147 people during 2006. Global malnutrition rates are edging perilously close to the emergency threshold, while some 60 percent of households in need of food aid cite insecurity as the main barrier to cultivating their land, raising livestock and taking part in other income-generating activities.
“The humanitarian community cannot indefinitely assure the survival of the population in Darfur if insecurity continues. [ ] Solid guarantees for the safety of civilians and humanitarian workers are urgently needed. At the same time, those who have committed attacks, harassment, abduction, intimidation, robbery and injury to civilians, including Internally Displaced Persons, humanitarian workers and other non-combatants, must be held accountable. If not, the UN humanitarian agencies and nongovernmental humanitarian organizations will not be able to hold the fragile line that to date has provided relief and a measure of protection to some four million people in Darfur affected by this tragic conflict.”
This statement has been endorsed by the following members of the UN Country Team in Sudan:
International Organisation for Migration (IOM)
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
United Nations Joint Logistics Centre (UNJLC)
United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS)
United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
World Food Programme (WFP)
World Health Organisation (WHO)
(Joint Statement on Darfur, January 18, 2007; source: UN High Commission for Refugees)
APPPENDIX 2: Reports from Radio Dabanga on violence against IDPs
§ Attacks on camps and returning farmers by Khartoum-allied militias:
• Pro-government militiamen “wearing on the uniforms of the Central Reserve Forces” (nicknamed Abu Tira) forces allegedly attacked a group of displaced women from Kondobe camp in Sirba locality, West Darfur, “with the intent of rape” on Thursday. The women reportedly escaped the assault, but a man who was with them for protection was shot dead. A sheikh of the camp told Radio Dabanga that the women were tending farmland in the Al Limbo area to the east of the camp. (Sirba camps [West Darfur], July 21, 2013)
• Displaced residents of Murnei camp in West Darfur were reportedly whipped and beaten by pro-government militiamen on Sunday night for sleeping on their farms. One of the sheikhs of the camp told Radio Dabanga that 13 farmers from Murnei were spending the night on their farms in the Jumjum area just to the west of the camp. “The pro-government militia arrived at about midnight, riding camels and horses. They whipped and beat the displaced with rifle butts and sticks, causing them varying injuries,” the sheikh said. “The militia then stole all of their property and baggage, threatening to beat or even kill them if they return.” (Murnei [Mornei, West Darfur], July 2, 2013)
• Residents of camps for the displaced in Tawila locality, North Darfur, have reportedly been injured after being beaten, lashed, and robbed by “pro-government armed herders” on Monday and Tuesday. One of the sheikhs of camp Rwanda told Radio Dabanga that “a group of camel herders armed by the government attacked about a thousand displaced people from the three camps of Tawila – Rwanda, Argo and Dali – as they were moving to cultivate their farms in the Jely Area, 11 kilometres north of Tawila city.” The sheikh said the people were lashed with whips, and beaten with rifle butts which caused “varying wounds.” They were also allegedly robbed of their possessions. (Tawila Locality [North Darfur], July 10, 2013]
• Pro-government militiamen opened fire on Friday on nine displaced persons from camp Murnei in West Darfur, critically injuring all of them. On the next day, militias “tortured” camps’ residents and robbed their belongings. A sheikh of Murnei camp told Radio Dabanga that pro-government militias riding 30 horses opened fire on nine farmers at the Jumjum valley, located near to the camp. The victims had their properties stolen and militias threatened to kill them if they returned to the area, the sheikh said. (Murnei, July 8, 2013)
• [C]amp residents complained about their exposure to repeated attacks by pro-government militias when they leave the camp to collect firewood and hay. The displaced explained that the militants threaten to kill them, claiming the lands belong to the herdsmen and are used for grazing of their livestock. (Mershing [South Darfur], February 20, 2013)
§ Extortion is another way in which displaced farmers are kept from their lands:
• Armed pro-government militiamen are levying “rent” for farmland in Nertiti locality in Central Darfur, causing farmers to abandon their farms. A Nertiti farmer told Radio Dabanga that the militias impose a fee of SDG500 ($114) per acre of land. This is causing farmers to quit, for fear of abuse. “The militiamen levy SDG250 as rent, and another SDG250 for the use of a tractor,” he said. “They are simply taking fees for their own benefit, because these farming areas originally belong to the citizens. If the farmers refuse to pay, the militias will just rent the land to other people.” (Nertiti [formerly West Darfur], July 21, 2013)
§ At the same time, pro-regime militias are increasingly directing their violence against those within camps for the displaced and even urban areas such as Kebkabiya and Tawila. But the threat is particularly great in and around the camps near Nyala, South Darfur:
• The displaced inhabitants of El Salam camp in Bielel locality, South Darfur, have reportedly been subject to a spate of beatings and robberies, with not even camp leaders left unscathed. “The pro-government militias have launched widespread assaults and lootings against the displaced persons entering and leaving El Salam camp,” said Sheikh Adam Mahjoub Tabaldiya, who regularly reports to Radio Dabanga. (El Salam camp [near Nyala, South Darfur], July 29, 2013)
• Pro-government militias are said to be “spread in an unprecedented way” around camps for displaced persons in South Darfur, having robbed a number of local residents by the roadside. Speaking to Radio Dabanga, witnesses said that especially residents of camps El Salam, Attash [also Otash] and Dreige—all located near the state capital Nyala—are affected. (Nyala, August 2, 2013)
• Pro-government militiamen reportedly stormed El Salam camp in a Land Cruiser on Tuesday night, under the pretext of retrieving property of a merchant stolen within the site located near Nyala in South Darfur. Speaking to Radio Dabanga, Sheikh Mahjoub Adam Tabaldiya said that when members of the militia broke into the camp, the police forces exchanged fire with them. “This terrorized the displaced,” the sheikh said. “Some militiamen then tried to escape from the camp with a number of bags of beans they had stolen.” Sheikh Tabaldiya warned that the camp “might collapse under the multiplicity of militia attacks and repeated storming.” He demanded that “Unamid troops and police perform their duty in protecting the displaced.” (Nyala, July 4, 2013)
• Four displaced people were killed and nine others were seriously injured when “pro-government militiamen” allegedly opened fire on residents of Dreige camp in Nyala, capital of South Darfur on Saturday evening. As a result, thousands of displaced people staged a sit-in demonstration on Monday in front of the Unamid headquarters in Nyala. Multiple witnesses have told Radio Dabanga that a group of about 15 militiamen in Land Cruisers opened fire on the displaced people near Derabaya, 15 kilometres east of Nyala as they were returning to camp Dreige after collecting firewood. (Nyala, June 24, 2013)
APPENDIX 3: Khartoum’s use of disguised white military aircraft
From reports of the UN Panels of Experts on Darfur:
[A] To the United Nations Security Council, 30 January 2006:
Military vehicles — white vehicles
119. The Panel received information from several sources describing the recent use of white vehicles and white aircraft by the Sudanese armed forces in Darfur. The Panel has been provided with photographic evidence of the use of white vehicles by Government of the Sudan forces (see figure 6 below) and indeed one member of the Panel witnessed a convoy of three white Land Cruiser vehicles, with mounted machine guns, operating in El-Fasher on the morning of 26 November 2005 and another Panel member witnessed a white Land Cruiser with machine-gun mount in Nyala on the evening of 13 November 2005. The African Union has voiced its concern regarding the use of white vehicles to the Government of the Sudan on a number of occasions on the basis that the use of such vehicles could lead to misidentification of AMIS vehicles by parties to the conflict in Darfur. This practice also presents a grave threat to humanitarian agencies, including those of the United Nations system, operating in Darfur.
[B] To the United Nations Security Council, 19 April 2006:
44. [T]he Government of the Sudan continues to use white aircraft similar to those used by AMIS, the United Nations and some international non-governmental organizations (see fig. 2). While the use of white and unmarked aircraft is not prohibited, the transfer of such aircraft into Darfur for military use constitutes a violation of the arms embargo. It is also an impediment to the peace process, as the practice of using white vehicles and unmarked aircraft presents a real danger for the peacekeeping forces and humanitarian organizations operating in Darfur.
45. The Panel has evidence that the Government of the Sudan leased at least one Mi-8 helicopter from a local leasing company of foreign origin. This “white” helicopter has been at the centre of controversy, as it was reported to be previously leased by AMIS and was later leased to the Government of the Sudan with the AMIS sign still affixed (as shown in fig. 2). The continued use of unmarked and/or white helicopters for military use indicates reluctance on the part of the Government to seriously consider the threat this action poses for the United Nations and AMIS.
46. On several occasions SLA and NMRD operatives have threatened to shoot down any white helicopters, including United Nations and AMIS helicopters, that fly over certain areas in Darfur. They claim this is in response to the Government’s practice of using white helicopters similar to those used by the United Nations and AMIS. This situation has led to at least one incident where United Nations pilots had to take evasive action to avoid bullets fired from the ground, reportedly by members of SLA.
[C] To the UN Security Council, 3 October 2006:
101. The Panel visited the port and witnessed a large consignment of imported Land Rovers, painted off-white (see fig. 6). Similar vehicles were been seen by the Panel in Darfur, being used by NGOs and aid agencies. There are also unconfirmed reports of the use of such white-painted vehicles in Darfur by the Government of the Sudan and other Janjaweed/militias supported by it to camouflage them as NGO vehicles.
201. On 30 June 2006, Panel members travelling by UNMIS helicopter visited Umm Sidr, a position in Northern Darfur held by the G19. During discussions with some of the rebel leaders, soldiers and villagers, at about 1200 hours they observed an unmarked white Antonov aircraft circling the area for approximately 45 minutes. The villagers and rebel leaders told the Panel that it was a Government of the Sudan military aircraft, painted white to camouflage as a United Nations or AMIS aircraft, that such intimidating overflights were a regular occurrence in their area, and that they felt threatened as the aircraft often came close to the ground. The Panel members noted the location of the place on the GPS monitor at 25° 09′ 15″ East and 14° 25′ 23″ North.
In its 2007 report the UN Panel of Experts reported that the extensive use of white aircraft by the Government of the Sudan, including the use of white Antonov aircraft in some of the 66 aerial attacks catalogued by the Panel between September 2006 and July 2007, constitutes a serious obstruction to the work of AMIS and the United Nations. “In one instance the Panel found that the Government of the Sudan had used a white Antonov aircraft with ‘UN’ markings in offensive military overflights.”
[end of excerpts from UN Panel of Experts on Darfur]
• News reports on this egregious violation of international law by Khartoum’s Sudan Armed Forces:
The Guardian (UK), March 27, 2007:
Investigators also spotted an Antonov-26 plane painted white and parked at a military airport. “The panel noted with concern that the plane had a UN logo painted on the top of its left wing,” a UN internal document said. “It was parked on the military apron next to rows of bombs.” The panel spotted another white Antonov at a military airport on March 1. No 10 is stressing that the prime minister would prefer to act in concert with other security council members, but Sudan’s defenders at the UN, led by China, are likely to resist any resolution backed by force. Asked whether the UK and the US would attempt to rally a “coalition of the willing” against Sudan in the event of a security council impasse, a Downing Street source said: “We’d have to judge that if we failed.”
The New York Times, April 17, 2007:
A confidential United Nations report says the government of Sudan is flying arms and heavy military equipment into Darfur in violation of Security Council resolutions and painting Sudanese military planes white to disguise them as United Nations or African Union aircraft.
In one case, illustrated with close-up pictures, the report says “U.N.” has been stenciled onto the wing of a whitewashed Sudanese armed forces plane parked on a military apron at a Darfur airport. Bombs guarded by uniformed soldiers are laid out in rows by its side.
The report says that, contrary to the Sudanese government’s earlier denials to United Nations investigators, the freshly painted planes are being operated out of all three of Darfur’s principal airports and used for aerial surveillance and bombardments of villages, in addition to the transportation of cargo….
A press release from Amnesty International (July 14, 2008) offered findings that closely comported with the preceding—and again made clear the UN Security Council Permanent members Russia and China are knowingly contributing to the funneling of weapons and ammunition to Darfur:
Amnesty International revealed in 2007 that arms were still being transferred to Darfur in spite of UN embargo The revelation in tonight’s BBC’s current affairs programme Panorama that China is currently aiding the Sudanese government in its military operations in Darfur has reinforced Amnesty International’s long-held concerns that countries including China and Russia may be in breach of the UN arms embargo to Darfur…. Panorama’s findings correlate with Amnesty International’s findings in 2007, which revealed that arms, ammunition and related equipment were still being transferred to Darfur. Amnesty International traced attack helicopters from Russia, ground attack fighter jets from China and Antonov planes that had been painted white to disguise their military nature.
Agence France-Presse (Brussels), September 23, 2008:
The European Union condemned on Tuesday the Sudanese military’s use of white aircraft in strife-torn Darfur, calling it a deliberate attempt to create confusion with UN planes. “The European Union … condemns the use of white aircraft in these operations, which is deliberately intended to create confusion with United Nations aircraft,” it said, calling on all parties to abide by international law.
The willingness to endanger humanitarians and humanitarian aircraft in service of its military interests is an entirely apt measure of the character of the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime in Khartoum.