U.S. finds Sudan-militia links in 'cleansing' of black non-Muslims

Saturday, July 10, 2004

The United States has determined that Sudan provided major military support to the Janjaweed militia, accused of expelling 1.2 million black Africans from their homes in the western Darfour province.

Two U.S. delegations sent to Sudan in late June examined the link between Janjaweed and the Khartoum regime. They were said to have concluded that the Sudanese military provided training and equipment to Janjaweed as part of Khartoum's policy to remove black Christians and other non-Muslims from Darfour, which neighbors Chad.

A congressional delegation that returned from Sudan this week said the Janjaweed was directly supported by the military. Delegates said Janjaweed fighters participated in Sudanese Air Force attacks on black African villages in Darfour as well as led ground attacks that resulted in the death of at least 30,000 people and the displacement of 1.2 million people.

Rep. Frank Wolf, a Republican from Virginia, recounted testimony he heard regarding the coordination between the Sudanese air force attacks and Janjaweed raids of black villages. Wolf told a July 6 news conference that a Janjaweed base in Darfour was adjacent to the Sudanese air base at Geneina in Darfour that contained two Soviet-origin attack helicopters and an Antonov air transport.

"The militiamen we saw did not look like skilled pilots who could fly planes or helicopters," Wolf said.

Delegates said the Antonovs and helicopter gunships usually strafed and bombed villages to prepare for the Janjaweed assault. They said Janjaweed fighters arrived on horseback and camels to kill, loot, rape and burn.

The Janjaweed have been heavily armed and well-supplied, U.S. officials and congressional members said. They were provided with satellite phones to maintain constant communications with Sudanese military commanders.

Sen. Sam Brownback, chairman of the Senate Near Eastern and Southasian subcommittee, said the Janjaweed effort has eliminated an entire generation of black Africans from Darfour, the size of Texas. Brownback dismissed a decision by the African Union to send 279 military observers to Darfour.

"We did not see any men in any of these camps from the ages of 18 to 45," Brownback, a Kansas Republican, said. "There's a whole generation that's missing, and it is ethnic cleansing, and I believe that clearly the seeds of genocide have been sown in Darfour."

The congressional delegation toured Darfour as Secretary of State Colin Powell moved through the area and discussed the crisis with the government in Khartoum. State Department officials familiar with Darfour confirmed most the findings of the congressional delegation, particularly the collusion between the regime and Janjaweed.

The U.S. Agency for International Development has warned that the death toll in Darfour could reach 1 million by 2005 unless the international community sends massive aid to the province. Washington has accused Khartoum of hampering relief efforts in Darfour and warned that it would support United Nations sanctions on Sudan.

"The attention of the world is now on Sudan and the government of Sudan and what its actual performance is going to be," U.S. envoy to the United Nations John Danforth said. "Is it going to rein in the Janjaweed or is it not? We're watching."

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

Print this Article Print this Article Email this article Email this article Subscribe to this Feature Free Headline Alerts

Search Worldwide Web Search Search WorldTrib Archives