UN: Peacekeepers Will Stay

Today, the chief of UN peacekeeping operations announced that UNAMID peacekeepers will remain in Darfur even if the ICC issues an arrest warrant for Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir on March 4th, as expected.

The Government would assume its full duty of protecting UN missions in Sudan against any negative impact that may result from the ICC’s possible decision against Sudanese political leadership.

The chief also stated that the UN will have “contingency planning to try to react to any situation”.

In other news, the leader of rebel group Justice and Equality Movement warned the Sudanese government today against harming Darfur civilians in response to the ICC’s decision.

If they harm civilians, JEM will react.

UNAMID Helicopter Attacked

This morning, a UNAMID helicopter delivering food supplies to the people of Darfur was fired upon.

Details regarding the event are hard to come by currently.

No casualties were reported. The attackers have yet to be identified.

Darfur Town Captured

As expected, the Darfur town of Muhajiriya is now in the hands of the Sudanese army.

Rebel group Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) left Muhajiriya in an effort to prevent further fighting from impacting the town’s 30,000 residents.

UNAMID peacekeepers remained in the town – also for the sake of protecting residents.

In other news, Libyan leader and new African Union chairman Moammar Gadhafi said today that finding a resolution to the Darfur crisis is now his “personal responsibility“.

Rebels Willing to Withdraw, Sudan Unwilling to Accept

For the sake of civilian safety, rebel group Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) has announced that it would withdraw from Muhajiriya, a Darfur town currently targeted by the Sudanese army.

However, JEM said it would only pull out if Muhajiriya is designated as a demilitarized zone controlled by UNAMID peacekeepers – not by the Sudanese government or any other rebel group.

Immediate rejection of the conditional withdrawal came from the Sudanese government, who believes that there is “no room for conditions from JEM” and that Muhajiriya will be taken “in the right time”.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice condemned the Sudanese government’s recent bombings of the area surrounding Muhajiriya –

It’s been unacceptable for I don’t know how long now – six years, five years – I don’t know what it’s going to take but that’s completely unacceptable.

And that’s not all – the International Criminal Court’s decision regarding issuance of an arrest warrant for Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir looms closer and closer with each passing day.

One thing is certain – right now is a crucial time for the people of Darfur.

Stay tuned.

Sudan Issues Serious Warning

The Sudanese government has urged UNAMID peacekeepers to leave the Darfur town of Muhajiriya, warning that an attack against rebels is imminent.

We are not ordering them around, we are asking them…It’s sort of like informing them, “Something will be happening here”.

Despite the threats, UNAMID has refused to flee.

We are not going to leave when there are thousands of displaced people around our camp.

Today, the UN and the US “encouraged”the Justice and Equality Movement, the rebel group currently in control of Muhajiriya, to surrender the town.

Reports indicate that the Sudanese army is advancing upon Muhajiriya from three directions. Its intent to storm the town is moving forward with full force.

Darfur in the Media (But Not For Long)

Photograph by Stop Genocide Now

Photograph by Stop Genocide Now

With issues like the struggling economy and a new president dominating US news, media coverage of the Darfur crisis has been pretty slim.

However, Darfur was featured on a recent edition of ABC’s World News Tonight, aired on Sunday nights.

Reporter Bob Woodruff took a closer look at the conflict.

Click here to watch a video of the spotlight story – a mere two minutes, fifty-six seconds long.

Another Busy Day for Darfur

Today was an action-packed day in Darfur –

The Sudanese government admitted to bombing the South Darfur position of rebel group Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). The bombing was carried out to “secure civilian lives” from rebels who refuse to adhere to the ceasefire ordered by Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir in November.

The aforementioned Omar Al-Bashir accused International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo of having “no morals or manners“.  Regarding the ICC’s inevitable decision to issue an arrest warrant for Al-Bashir, the president stated that “they can dip it in water and drink it”.

Six women belonging to an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in West Darfur were rescued by UNAMID after being abducted while gathering firewood.