Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Sudan / Darfur

Darfur Sees Bloodiest Month in Two Years -- UN
By Andrew Heavens
Reuters dispatch, June 7, 2010
"Nearly 600 people died in rebel and tribal fighting in Sudan's Darfur region in May, the bloodiest month that the territory has seen in more than two years, UN officials said on Monday. Violence in the seven-year-old conflict has spiked since one of the main rebel groups, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), announced in early May it was freezing its participation in peace talks. The death toll underlined the challenge facing mediators seeking to resolve a conflict that has continued in the face of pressure from Washington, war crimes prosecutions by the International Criminal Court and campaigning by activists. ... The data was released as Sudan's government was due to resume troubled peace talks with an umbrella group of small Darfur insurgent factions in Doha, capital of Qatar.
'The figure is very high. This was caused by tribal fighting and fighting with JEM,' said another UNAMID official. Both officials spoke on condition they not be identified. JEM announced last month it was freezing its participation in the Doha talks, protesting against the involvement of other insurgents in the negotiations and accusing Khartoum of breaking an earlier ceasefire. Sudanese army forces said they drove JEM out of its stronghold close to the border with Chad later in May, forcing it to move units into central and southern Darfur, as well as the neighbouring oil-producing state of Southern Kordofan. Senior JEM official al-Tahir al-Feki said on Monday it would continue to boycott the negotiations and was clashing continuously with Sudanese army forces. No one was immediately available for comment from Sudan's army. [...]"

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