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10 AU Peacekeepers Killed In Darfur ‘Quagmire’

From a strangely sanguine Washington Post:

A charred African Union armored personnel carrier is seen in the African Union camp, Haskanita, northern Darfur, Sudan, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2007.

Sudan Rebels Kill 10 Darfur Peacekeepers

African Union Base Is Invaded By Force of 1,000

By Alfred de Montesquiou
Monday, October 1, 2007; A15

HASKANITA, Sudan, Sept. 30 — Rebel forces stormed a small African Union base in northern Darfur and killed at least 10 peacekeepers, leaving behind charred armored vehicles and bombed-out barracks in an unprecedented attack on the beleaguered mission.

More than 30 peacekeepers were still missing by late Sunday, indicating the death toll from the attack could rise significantly.

About 1,000 rebels from the Sudan Liberation Army attacked the base outside the town of Haskanita Saturday after sunset, when Muslims break their daytime fast for the holy month of Ramadan, A.U. officers said. The rebels eventually stormed the base early Sunday, they said.

“We battled for hours, but when we ran out of ammunition, we took refuge in this ditch,” said a Nigerian peacekeeper who would give only his first name, Aboubakar, because he was not authorized to speak to the news media.

Some of the peacekeepers appeared shellshocked and said it was difficult to describe the intensity of the onslaught. The rebels used armored vehicles and rocket-propelled grenades, an indication that they are more heavily armed than previously thought, peacekeepers said.

The remaining A.U. peacekeepers were evacuated from the base under the protection of the Sudanese army, which routed the rebels from the area. Government troops could be seen plundering goods from the burned-out camp.

“This is the heaviest loss of life and the biggest attack on the African Union mission,” A.U. spokesman Noureddine Mezni said. “Our troops fought a defensive battle to protect the camp, but 30 vehicles eventually stormed it. . . . The camp is completely destroyed.”

The Darfur crisis began in 2003 when two rebel groups took up arms against the government. The government responded by arming Arab militias, known as the Janjaweed, and providing them with air support as they attacked villages. Violence and disease have left as many as 450,000 dead and displaced 2.5 million

Darfur rebels also have grown increasingly hostile to the A.U. peacekeepers, saying the force favors the government side.

Saturday’s raid was the first time since the 7,000-member A.U. mission was deployed in June 2004 that one of its bases had been overrun, though soldiers have been attacked regularly. Several ambushes of A.U. forces in the past year have been attributed to the rebels.

“There is a war going on between the rebels and the government, and the A.U. is crunched in the middle,” an A.U. officer said.

The underfunded A.U. force has been unable to stem the fighting in the war-torn western region and is soon to be merged into a joint A.U.-U.N. force. The first units of the 26,000-member force are to be deployed in October.

Sudanese soldiers plunder for leftover goods at an African Union camp, Haskanita, northern Darfur, Sudan, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2007.

The conflict in Darfur has been going on for just as long as the war in Iraq. The 450,000 dead there dwarfs the toll in Iraq by a huge margin.

About 1,000 rebels from the Sudan Liberation Army attacked the base outside the town of Haskanita Saturday after sunset, when Muslims break their daytime fast for the holy month of Ramadan…

It’s even a matter of pious Muslims killing other pious Muslims. (Since they killed all the Christians a few years ago.)

Meanwhile, there are no sign of any improvement in Darfur whatsoever. In fact, things are only getting worse.

And yet there are plans to escalate the conflict by sending in 26,000 UN “troops.” A “surge” if you will.

So where is the outrage? Where are Cindy Sheehan and Code Pink and the rest of the “anti-war” left? (Indeed, this article was buried on page 15 of the Washington Post.)

Of course I am kidding. The “anti-war” movement is all for sending troops and vast amounts of money to Darfu.

Just as long as it has nothing to do with protecting American interests.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, October 1st, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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