Sudan was said to have begun imposing restrictions on a
government-supported militia that has killed or expelled hundreds of
thousands of Africans from their homes.
U.S. officials said that in May the regime of President Omar Bashir
began to impose limitations on operations of the Jinjaweed militia. They
said the restrictions were decided amid heavy U.S. and international
pressure in wake of a ceasefire agreement in the western province of
"The government has reversed its position in the last couple of weeks in
terms of access, and they are beginning, it appears, to begin to put some
constraints in some areas on the Jinjaweed militia," Andrew Natsios, U.S.
Agency for International Development director, said. "The Jinjaweed militia
continues to commit atrocities, albeit on a reduced scale."
At a briefing on Tuesday, Natsios said the Arab-composed Jinjaweed
continues to operate in Darfour and attack civilians, Middle East Newsline reported. He said this has
hampered plans to transport relief supplies to refugees in Darfour and
The United Nations reported that about 1 million Darfour residents have
been forced out of their homes during the civil war over the last year.
About 200,000 Darfour residents fled into neighboring Chad as the Jinjaweed,
backed by Sudanese troops, torched villages and killed civilians.
[On Tuesday, fresh fighting was reported in Darfour near a key town.
Sudanese officials asserted that rebels had launched an attack.]
Officials said the April ceasefire in Darfour remains to be fully
implemented. But they said violations of the agreement appear to have been
reduced over the
last two weeks.
"I know sometimes decisions are made in Khartoum that are always not
completely communicated down to the grassroots level and it takes a while to
do that," Natsios said. "We hope that will happen quickly, but we're running
out of time."
Officials said the United States provides 55 percent of the relief aid
allocated for Darfour. They said the Khartoum government has not implemented
its pledge to allow relief workers access to refugees.
"We are seeing improvements in access, but that doesn't mean we have
anything close to 100 percent access," Roger Winter, assistant AID
administrator, said. "In south Darfour the rains have already begun. By
some point during this month, all of Darfour will be subject to rains. What
does that mean for this population that has not been being fed properly for,
in most cases, three, four, five months, maybe up to nine months, okay,
where their body is already weakened?"
Officials said most Darfour refugees have refused to return to their
homes out of fear of a resumption of attacks by the Jinjaweed. They said
many have either remained in Chad or resettled in cities.