Bombs, UN Stonewalls, US Dodges
December 7 -- On Sudan, the UN turns away from killing and
abuse while the US downplays it. On December 7, Inner City Press
asked the UN spokesman, the US' PJ Crowley and the US Mission to the
UN about bombings by Khartoum, with a range of evasive answers and
Tuesday noon briefing, Inner City Press asked
Press: There have been — the SPLM [Sudan People’s Liberation
Movement] has come out and said that, now Monday and Tuesday of this
week, that Khartoum has bombed West Bahr El-Ghazal State and they’re
calling for a UN investigation and saying this could throw the
referendum off track. What has UNMIS [United Nations Mission in
Sudan] done to investigate it and what does UN say to this call for
Well, as far as I know from UNMIS, they have been informed
by the SPLA [Sudan People’s Liberation Army] that an aerial bombing
took place yesterday, 15 miles north-east of Timsaha. And a
monitoring and verification team led by UNMIS is on the ground trying
to verify the incident. So that’s as much as I have at the moment.
Press: What about this thing that I asked you yesterday about
the transitional Darfur regional authority being raided by the
Sudanese authorities in Darfur? Does Mr. [Ibrahim] Gambari or UNAMID
[African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur], have they
been able in the many hours since that happened to confirm it?
I don’t have anything specific for you on that at the
moment, no. Okay?
later added that, at this stage, the Mission is looking
into the possible implications of recent statements and actions by
the Government of Sudan and the Sudan Armed Forces and will discuss
it with the Government.]
okay -- the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General
delivered this belated (non) response not at the briefing or by email
afterward, but by an in-house squawk system not audible at the
Security Council where Inner City Press and other reporters were.
Ambassador Susan Rice emerged from the Council and delivered a short
statement about Ivory Coast, Inner City Press asked one question on
that topic, then asked repeated, “A question on Sudan?”
Ambassador Rice smiled but walked away from the microphone.
conveyed the question -- what will the US do about the SPLM's call
for a Security Council investigation of the bombings, during this
month when the US is the Council President -- but four hours after
delivery, there was still no answer. We will report it when one
UN's Ban and Gambari, reports on Khartoum
abuses in Darfur and USUN actions not shown
Department Spokesman PJ Crowley came to New York on Tuesday to
address reporters, largely about Wikileaks. Inner City Press asked
about Crowley's December 15 negative response to a question if there
were “any” US military operations in Yemen, in light of the
December 17 drone attacks in Yemen (Crowley said his response was
only about the Houthi), and about Sudan and the bombings.
addressed the bombings, but said that the South Sudan referendum
would be one of the biggest events of the first half of 2011, and
could help or hurt the situation in Darfur. But what about the
situation now, and the UN's and envoy Ibrahim Gambari's inaction?
asked Human Rights Watch's Richard Dicker about Gambari's recent
actions, attending Bashir's inauguration and negotiating to hand over
to Bashir five supporters of Fur rebel Abdel Wahid Nur. Video here,
Minute 41:30. Dicker said that it seems “Gambari is violating
policy.” Seems? Watch this site.
* * *
Won't Confirm Darfur Attacks, US Still Nothing on 12
Murders in Unity
6 -- As the Darfur Peace Agreement unravels and the pace of
death escalates in South Sudan the UN, and surprising to some
the US are slow and reticent to investigate and comment.
Inner City Press asked
spokesman Martin Nesirky about Omar al
Bashir's targeting of his one ally in Darfur, Minni Minawi:
in Sudan over the weekend, the President [Omar al-]Bashir
Government has raided the offices of the transitional Darfur regional
authority and has said
Minawi’s faction is now a target, a
military target for the Government, if previously they were an ally
of the Darfur Peace Agreement, and that they’re going to the South
and will now be fighting. What is the comment of the UN on the
unravelment of the Darfur Peace Agreement?
have seen the reports. I don’t have any specific
comment at the moment. But I know that my colleagues are checking
with the Mission on that. But we’ve certainly seen the reports.
Okay. And they’re going to try to verify this raid on
the transitional Darfur regional authority?
heard what you’ve said, and certainly we’ll try to check
was no confirmation. On December
the UN belatedly confirmed to
Inner City Press the death of 10 SPLM soldiers and two civilians in
Sudan authorities riding high, UN confirmation and
US comment not shown
there is a report that the SPLA [Sudan People’s
Liberation Army] is saying that 12 of their soldiers have been killed
in an ambush by government-supported militias in Unity state. So, it
seems like it’s a pretty high number in a big clash. I wonder if
it’s something the UN has heard of and can confirm or deny or is
going to go verify it.
what I have been told is that we are aware that an
SPLA truck with approximately 35 soldiers and their families was
reportedly ambushed by an unknown group around 8 o’clock. This was
on 1 December between Tamoa and Tubarit in Unity State, as you said,
while traveling from Mayom to Bentiu — excuse my pronunciation of
these places — a joint monitoring team that comprised SAF [Sudan
Alliance Forces] and SPLA and led by the UN Mission in Sudan that
went to Bentiu hospital where most of the casualties were brought by
an SPLA truck. And the first report by that monitoring team confirms
that 11 people were killed on the spot. And then one died in the
hospital I just referred to. Ten people were wounded. However, the
identity of the attackers is still not known. The team, I mean, the
monitoring team, will be conducting patrols to the incident site and
will meet with SPLA commanders and local authorities to try to
further investigate this. That’s what I have for you.
But does, I mean, I guess without knowing, the SPLA has
said that they believe it’s a government-backed militia, and I just
wonder, does the UNMIS [United Nations Mission in the Sudan] see any
connection between this and the upcoming referendum? Is this viewed
I’ve said, they’re investigating it.
least partial confirmation, Inner City Press on December 3 e-mailed
the US Mission to the UN, this month's Security Council presidency,
to ask both for US comment on the killings, and if the Council would
take them up. As of the close of the Council's business on December 6
there was no answer. Watch this site.