Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What is the latest from Darfur?

The AU panel seems to have come and gone with no breakthrough or even process for going forward. Scott Gration got the NCP and SPLA to Washington, but again without anything public about what is happening going forward. The presidential elections were again postponed to April 2010 (or maybe not!). It's been a bad week for "untied" Sudan watchers (the kind like me who aren't tied into the network of people who know). So in lieu of making fun of the pronouncements of the people who know, which these days seem to mostly consist of bland exhortations to stay on track, I thought I would take a little time examining some online sources to find out what the latest is from Darfur.

First stop, Radio Dabanga, a Dutch sponsored station run by Darfuri refugees, but they seem to be having a slow news day. There's a few cases of cholera, some IDP's saying they are afraid to go back to their homes despite NCP saying it is safe, some IDPs beaten with whips by unknown assailants in military uniforms, some IDPs suffering from torrential rains and no aid organizations to assis 9since they were kicked out)... and about 50 university students from Darfur still languishing in jails for their political activism.

Next stop, Radio Miraya FM, the UN supported radio station. but they too have nothing new. Over at the fountain, the course, the voice, the throat... I mean of course UNMIS itself... nothing... just some slow news day stories.

So then I got to the wonderful UNMIS daily media summary. For July 7 nothing terribly interesting. Salva Kiir apparently says the independence referendum should be held in January 2011. i had always been figuring that it would be July 2011. There is a nice extract of a speech by al-Bashir on the occasion of the opening of the two-seater propeller plane factory...
"Sudan has its own military industry. It makes tanks, missiles and many types of guns, all made by Sudanese hands," Bashir told hundreds of supporters outside the plant in Wadi Sayidina military area, north of the capital. "Today, Sudan has entered a new industry -- aviation," he added. Bashir did not mention the global court directly, or the Western governments he says are supporting the legal case. But he told the crowd in local dialect "What we are doing will enrage our enemies," adding "sanctions cannot stop development." He added: "They conspired; they supported rebellions, and created rebellions. They pushed neighbouring countries, they imposed economic, diplomatic and political sanctions and what was the result? Everyday, thanks to God, his strength and power, we are moving forward."
I'd love to see whether al-Bashir ever gets up in one of those planes. Curious that two of al-Bashir's vice presidents of Sudan have died in air crashes. John Garang and al-Zubeir Mohammed Saleh.

I liked this small gem, but the lack of details! "Al-Sahafa reports local authorities in the town of Sudari, northern Kordofan, yesterday detainedthree SPLM leading figures accused of distributing statement on the food gap in the state.SPLM issued statement confirming detention of its members." What on earth could that be about?

An earlier short story is more troubling, "Al-Sudani reports that South Darfur Governor Ali Mohamoud has revealed that the committee charged by the Interior Ministry to investigate inter-tribal clashes between the Misseriya and Rizeigat has finished investigations and would submit its final report to the minister. He said the police are deployed along the 150km common border strip between Southern Kordofan and South Darfur. Meanwhile, authorities in South Darfur have released 19 people representing the native administration of the Fallata and Habbaniya tribes after the two sides pledged not to provoke sedition in the area."

So, all in all, very slow news over the past couple weeks. That's good!

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