We at Newry Journal were long wondering where in the world Newry man John Cully was now labouring on behalf of the world’s poor, homeless and afflicted.
The following distressing letter from Darfur explains all.
Please read the article below. These type of incidents are happening on a daily basis here in West Darfur – Sudan and in Eastern Chad.
For a copy of this news brief with links to cited articles, visit the GI-Net website: http://www.GenocideIntervention.net/educate/darfurnews/
DARFUR NEWS BRIEF: Dec. 2-18, 2006
Janjaweed militia, rebel forces, and Sudanese government troops clashed in the town of El Fasher, killing at least six civilians. In western Darfur, Janjaweed militia attacked a convoy of refugees with rocket-propelled grenades, executing or burning alive the survivors. Increasing violence has forced many aid agencies to scale back services or evacuate workers. The United Nations Human Rights Council agreed to send investigators to Darfur to look into gross human rights violations.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair pledged his support of no-fly zones over Darfur and the United States’ special envoy to Sudan Andrew Natsios met with Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir to discuss peacekeeping options.
Violence continues to cross the borders between Chad and Central African Republic and Sudan.
GENOCIDE HITS HOME
Congress is finished with Darfur work until the beginning of January. Your senators and representative are home in their districts. Now is the perfect time to meet with your elected officials, and tell them that ending the genocide in Darfur is important to you. DarfurScores.org has all of the information you need to plan an effective meeting with your legislators.
SITUATION ON THE GROUND
Jan Egeland, who stepped down from his post as the UN humanitarian chief, said the situation in and around Darfur was worse than ever before. "I think some of the Arab countries and Asian countries have not really understood we’re in a free fall," he said. "It’s not a steady deterioration. It’s a free fall and it includes Darfur, eastern Chad, northern Central African Republic."
Fighting flared around the Darfurian town of El Fasher, the region’s main aid hub, where Janjaweed and Sudan Liberation Movement militias clashed and the government of Sudan deployed its own troops to the town. The African Union feared an attack on its peacekeepers in El Fasher from a coalition of rebel forces, including both the Sudan Liberation Movement, which signed the Darfur Peace Agreement, and two other rebel groups that did not. Janjaweed forces attacked students at a university in El Fasher, killing three. Humanitarian aid operations are being scaled back due to the insecurity and the UN pulled 134 non-essential staff out of El Fasher.
Minni Minnawi, the head of the SLM, gave Khartoum a deadline this week for implementing the provisions of the peace agreement, including disarming militias. Nee Acquaytee, the executive director of Africa Action, told Vatican Radio only a UN force would be able to perform the task.
Along Chad‘s border with Sudan, the UN reduced staff at six camps to the bare minimum and cut back on services to more than 110,000 Darfurian refugees. Chadian President Idriss Deby has said he will allow peacekeepers in to Chad.
The atrocities have now fully extended into Chad, the head of Amnesty International Canada said, with Janjaweed soliders "burning victims alive, mutilating and raping at will."
Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir blamed the recent violence in Darfur on the rebel National Redemption Front and accused the international community of funding and arming the rebels.
Rapes and other forms of sexual violence have risen in Darfur in recent months and are being used as weapon of war. Aid agencies are ill-equipped to deal with the looming women’s mental-health crisis.
Janjaweed militia attacked a convoy of refugees travelling in western Darfur. About thirty civilians were killed. Some were shot while others were burned to death. Later, relatives of the dead protested at the African Union base in El Geneina. Three were killed when African Union peacekeepers fired on the crowd. The African Union expressed regret for the killings but said the peacekeepers acted in self-defence.
Increasing violence and pressure from the government has kept food and other basic relief from reaching thousands of people in Darfur. Over 250 aid workers have been pulled out of Darfur since Dec. 1. According to Eric Reeves, the situation can still worsen.
A spokesman for a faction of the rebel Sudan Liberation Army said that a government warplane fired a rocket at a home in western Darfur, killing eight.
Violence from Sudan continues to leak into Chad and Central African Republic. Rebels captured another town in Chad and continued instability in that country could put the health of 300,000 refugees at risk. The African Union warned of a "tragedy unfolding" in Chad and Central African Republic. The Chadian army pursued Chadian rebels into Sudan causing aid workers to pull out of the border regions for fear of escalating violence.
PROPOSED UN TRANSFER