Monday, October 01, 2007

Sudan- Peacekeepers Look for Missing in Darfur

There are numerous articles chronicling a rebel attack on an African Union base in Haskanita, northern Darfur yesterday. Apparently 1,000 rebel gunmen overwhelmed the base and its 150 troops before dawn. At least 10 peackeepers have been killed, and between 20 and 50 are still missing.


The rebels looted vehicles and ammunition, and it took Sudanese government troops to chase them away. Photos show government troops looting the leftovers, and burnt armoured vehicles. A quote from an anonymous officer underlines the stakes for the AU Force:

'"It may not be the right political thing to say, but the government forces saved us," said an AU officer, who also asked not to be named because of military regulations.'

The IHT published the first obvious article on the future of Darfur and peacekeeping, namely, whether this tragic incident won't un-nerve other nations considering contributing to the more robust hybrid AU-UN force for Darfur. A spokeman for OXFAM framed the attack in light of the kinds of threats that humanitarian agencies are facing:

'"It's indicative of the complete insecurity," said Alun McDonald, a spokesman for the Oxfam aid organization in Sudan. "These groups are attacking anybody and everybody with total impunity."

McDonald added that armed groups were "increasingly targeting aid workers to steal their vehicles, radios and logistical stuff."

He said the attack on the peacekeepers "sounds quite similar to that, just on a much larger scale."'