Tuesday, March 14, 2006

That there’s some corner of a foreign field that will always be...


”I woke to the sounds of shots being fired, and I went out on the street to see and it was total chaos,” said a 50-year-old shopkeeper. ”I heard planes and helicopters flying overhead and saw men riding in on horseback and then in vehicles.” A 63-year-old farmer whose 17-year-old son had been killed in a previous attack outside of Terbeba, said: ”I heard shots and screaming. Everyone was running. Bullets were coming down like rain.” Said an 18-year-old woman whose husband was working in Libya at the time of the attack: ”I was awakened by shots and went outside to see. The Janjaweed were everywhere on foot and on horseback. They saw me and came towards my house, pushing me out of the way to find my husband. My child was right there and I just grabbed him and ran away.”

Accounts from survivors of the assault on Terbeba, Darfur collected and reported this month by Physicians for Human Rights.


Sudan is the largest country in Africa. The Darfur region is the size of France and was once home to six million people. Since colonial times Darfur has been at best neglected by the power centre Khartoum. More recently the powerful Muslim north has been at war the Christian and Animist south for most of the years since 1983. Throughout the 1990s the central government armed the minority Arab herders in Darfur, these became known as the Janjaweed. The dictator Brig. Omar Hassan Ahmed El Bashir has ruled Sudan since 1989. In early 2003 two non-Arab rebel groups attacked government outposts demanding greater political and economic representation for Darfur in the Arab-controlled Sudanese state. In response the Janjaweed and government forces launched a massive attack on thousands of non-Arab villages across the region. Between 2003 and October 2005 the two combined to kill hundreds of thousands and displace over 2.5 million people. Those 2.5 million people are the survivors of a journey from their attacked villages to refugee camps in Chad and the South of Darfur where they live today, a journey across land that is slowly loosing its battle with the expanding Sahara which many did not survive.


Blogger Browse Ireland said...

While the majority of attacks have been by janjaweed there have been some Arab towns attacked by Rebel forces. Also there are many camps in West Darfur as well as the South of Darfur.

The area is so vast there it seems like the Wild West out there with it not being very clear as to how much control the Government has over local janjaweed and even local Govt. troops. That is not to say that they are not responsible for their troops actions.

The AU peacekeepers seem to be out of their league there but I'm not sure whether the UN will get in.

I spent a little time doing some work there in Geneina in West Darfur.

By the way I have a site similar to our irishblogs.ie site called www.developmentblogs.com.


7:55 p.m.  
Blogger Colm said...

Thanks for your insight Roger and for the link to the development site - Ive signed up!

10:04 a.m.  

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