Loathing in Darfur, Of UN's Curfew & Low Morale, Gambari VIP Culture
October 8 -- Even as spruced up Thursday for the visit of the
UN Security Council, there was a feeling of fear and boredom and low
morale at the joint African Union - UN Mission in Darfur. After the
Council's delegation was met by
protests at the gate of the El Fasher
airport, its convoy rushed into UNAMID's compound, surrounded by
concertina wire and earthen barriers against suicide car or truck
and even before
the Council's first meeting, limiting the program and visits was the
topic, even though Internally Displaced People in a nearby IDP camp
had been quoted as waiting to be visited by the Council.
compound, when Inner City Press sought to leave the air conditioned
space into which the media were shepherded, a UNAMID minder said “You
are really not supposed to be wandering around. [Wherever you go]
I'll go with you.”
the path to
the restrooms, men lounged on the sidewalk, and offered greetings to
Inner City Press. Later, without the UNAMID minder, Inner City Press
was approached by and spoke with a range of people inside UNAMID's so
called Super Camp, which military contractor Lockheed Martin was
given a sole source contract to build, unsuccessfully.
described a curfew imposed on them: none of the required four wheel
drive vehicles can be used after 7 pm, and no two wheel drive
vehicles or walking outside the camp after 10 pm.
job would seem to require leaving the Super Camp told Inner City
Press they rarely if ever leave. Their highlight seems to be going on
these staff are given five days vacation and two travel days, seven
consecutive working days in total. Those interviewed said they
largely go to Europe, only to return against to what one called an
unhealthy house arrest.
there a gym
or work out facility? There is, was the response, but it is not a
good one and is poisoned by what is called UNAMID's “VIP culture.”
It was noted that UNAMID Joint Special Representative Ibrahim Gambari
flies about in a Lear Jet, unlike his counterpart in South Sudan.
UNAMID 4x4, curfew, low morale &
Gambari's Lear Jet not shown, (c) MRLee
to spread to the Security Council's dinner Thursday night. While
initially two tables for journalists had been set up in their room,
before it began the tables were moved outside. Even though two UNAMID
staff later asked the Press if offense had been taken, the VIP
Thursday, when the UN plane from Juba was found to have one too many
people aboard, a Sudanese
journalist who had been permitted for the
flight and to report from Darfur was ordered by UN Security to get
off the plane or be “forcibly” removed.
was thrown to the floor, the three other Sudanese journalists left
with him in solidarity. Still the Council has had nothing to say
about what's viewed as disparate treatment or even, to some,
accomplished by the Super Camp bound UNAMID? Inner City Press had
wanted to ask UNAMID chief Gambari about detailed reports it has
received about UNAMID peacekeepers refusing to leave their bases to
protect civilians, saying they must await “permission.”
and published an internal UNAMID document to this
effect, show inaction after the murder of at least 47 people in the
about 1800hrs on 02 Sep 2010, UNAMID Police Advisors received
unconfirmed information from locals in Tawilla IDP camp that
unidentified armed men attacked Tabarat Market near Maral village
about 28kms southwest of Tawilla, where about 30 people were killed
and more than 70 others were injured.
information was received by the PF Force Commander Major Aimable
Rukondo from relatives of victims in Tawilla IDP camp. At about
2030hrs, people from the Tawilla IDP camp gathered near the gate of
Tawilla UNAMID Base requesting for assistance to evacuate their
relatives who were in Tabarat market. The PF Commander together with
the Acting Team Site Commander advised the relatives that prior
approval from El Fasher Headquarters is needed before proceeding to
the place and with that they were advised to be back to Tawilla Base
tomorrow morning for possible medical evacuation movement to Tabarat
market once it has been approved by the higher Headquarters.”
has yet to
explain this document. But on Thursday night, Gambari approached
Inner City Press, not about this but another exclusive
leaked documents: Gambari's drafts to Sudanese foreign minister Ali
Karti, showing Gambari on the verge of turning over five supporters
of rebel Abdel Wahid Nur to the regime of Omar al Bashir, already
indicted for genocide and war crimes. These documents have led Abdel Wahid
Nur to say that if the turn over occurs, UNAMID will have become
complicit in genocide.
outburst -- first reported
here -- Inner City Press was told that
there had been a “security incident” regarding which no further
description would be provided to Inner City Press, since “you'll
probably get the scoop.” A UNAMID staff member was kidnapped. In a
guest house surrounded by barbed wire and patrolled -- virtual house
arrest -- Inner City Press sat down under an overhead Pak Fan and set
about transcribing Gambari's remarks. Watch this site.
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Gambari Attacks Publication of His Kalma Turnover Drafts,
Says Press Risks
7 -- Hours after the UN Security Council and accompanying
media including Inner City Press arrived Thursday at the joint
African Union - UN Mission in Darfur, the Joint Special
Representative Ibrahim Gambari came to visit the Press.
Press asked Gambari about the turnover of five supporters of Abdel
Wahid Nur documents obtained and published by Inner City Press show
he is considering.
angrily that the leaking and then publication of the documents puts
people at risk. Inner City Press responded that others believe that
the turnover would put people at risk, not only the five individual's
turned over, who even as to execution would be relying on a promise
by Omar al Bashir, already indicted for genocide - but also for
UNAMID's own peacekeepers.
quoted by Radio
Dabanga, Abdel Wahid Nur has said that if the turnover occurs, he and
his movement will view UNAMID as complicit with the genocide Bashir
has been indicted for.
asked Gambari about what Abdel Wahid Nur told Radio Dabanga. Gambari
responded that he does not believe quotes he reads -- Dabanga is, of
course, a radio -- and gave as his example a recent talk with Khalil
Ibrahim of JEM in which, Gambari said, Ibrahim said JEM had never
called for Gambari to resign. Self-serving?
was criticizing the Press “as a friend.” But to attack a
publication for publishing a leak about the possible turnover of five
people to one accused of genocide and war crimes seems strange.
Inner City Press said as Gambari left, several Security Council
members had no idea Gambari was engaged in such negotiations. One
Permanent Representative of a Permanent Five Council member told
Inner City Press that, after checking with “the capital,” the
issue would be raised on this trip. Susan Rice of the US said it
would be looked into during the visit.
“I have two
masters,” he said, the African Union as well as the UN and its
Security Council. So does Gambari confer with neither? Or with the
African Union more than the UN?
the room in
which Gambari meet with the Council Ambassadors, two hagiographic
photographs are hung on the wall: the UN's Ban Ki-moon, and the AU's
masters, does Gambari answer only to himself?
as some say,
to a resident of Khartoum, which Gambari reaches by Lear Jet?
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