Genocide in Sudan? Islamic group targets Black Christians

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Sudan has ignored U.S. appeals to stop the Janjaweed militia from attacking black civilians in Darfour. The administration has determined that Khartoum has used Janjaweed to carry out ethnic cleansing against a primarily Christian population in the border province.

The Bush administration has been examining the prospect of imposing additional U.S. sanctions on Sudan or its leadership. On June 29, Secretary of State Colin Powell plans to fly to Sudan to discuss humanitarian conditions in Darfour.

Janjaweed has been described as an Arab Islamic group that has targeted mostly black Christians. Officials said Sudanese President Omar Bashir has not implemented his pledge to disarm Janjaweed and other militias, Middle East Newsline reported.

The State Dept. has been reviewing the violence in Darfur to determine whether it is genocide, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported. The UN recently reported the number of people in acute need of food and medical help has increased from 1.2 million to two million.

At least 10,000 people were killed since black Sudanese revolted in Darfour in February 2003, officials said. In addition, about 1 million Darfour residents either fled or were expelled from their homes by Janjaweed.

Administration officials said the sanctions were being considered amid a determination by the United States that the Khartoum regime had failed to restrain a government-supported militia from committing atrocities in the western province of Darfour. They said the new sanctions could reverse Washington's effort to improve relations with Khartoum.

Last week, the State Department identified seven Sudanese officials associated with Janjaweed. Officials said the administration was considering imposing sanctions on these individuals while examining penalties against the Khartoum regime.

"As you know, we already have significant sanctions on Sudan," a State Department official said. "In addition, we are considering targeted sanctions, such as visa restrictions and financial sanctions against individuals."

Sudan has been on the State Department list of terrorist sponsors for more than a decade. Sanctions that stem from such a designation include a ban on weapons sales and certain dual-use technologies.

In May, the United States was said to have been working to remove Khartoum from the State Department's terrorist list, officials said. At the time, the department cited Sudan's cooperation with Washington in its war against Al Qaida.

A White House official said the administration was also discussing with Libya the opening of an extra route to facilitate the entry of United Nations relief workers and supplies to Darfour.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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