LONDON Ñ The regime-backed Janjaweed militia is again directing air attacks on black Africans in Sudan's Darfour province.
Western diplomats and relief officials said Janjaweed fighters have been
seen strafing black African villages in Darfour despite Khartoum's pledge to
stop the Arab militia.
They said Janjaweed personnel have been directing the
attacks from both Russian-origin Mi-24 helicopters and Antonov An-24 air
transports as well as from the ground.
Janjaweed fighters were said to have been trained to serve on crews of
the Mi-24 and An-24 aircraft in strafing and bombing missions throughout
Darfour. But amid heavy U.S. pressure, the air attacks were halted for
several weeks before resuming in early August, Middle East Newsline reported.
"Fresh violence today included helicopter gunship bombings by the
Sudanese government and Janjaweed attacks in South Darfour," the United
Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a
statement from Geneva on Aug. 10. "Janjaweed attacks on internally displaced
persons in and around IDP settlements continue to be reported in all three
The diplomats said many of the Janjaweed have resumed air attacks as
members of Sudan's military. Khartoum has rejected demands to prosecute
Janjaweed leaders, rather has incorporated the militia into the police,
military and security forces.
"As we've said before, there continue Ñ the security situation in
Darfur remains wholly inadequate," State Department deputy spokesman Adam
Ereli said. "There is not the level of disarming and the level of
prosecution and arrest and containment of the Janjaweed that has been
committed to both in the communique with the secretary-general, July 3rd,
and in the plan with the UN and the government of Sudan."
The United States has confirmed that Sudan has purchased and received 12
MiG-29 fighter-jets from Russia. A U.S. diplomat in Khartoum reported the
value of the deal at $300 million, 50 percent above the estimate given by
Russian defense industry sources.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch has accused Sudan of failing to
implement its pledge to stop Janjaweed and halt atrocities against black
Africans in Darfour. The group in a report entitled, "Empty Promises:
Continuing Abuses in Darfur, Sudan," said Janjaweed and Sudanese soldiers
continued raping, pillaging and killing during their attacks on civilian
"In response to the Security Council's demand that Janjaweed militia
members be disarmed, the Sudanese government has instead begun to
incorporate them into official state security units," Human Rights Watch
Egypt, Libya and Algeria were said to have agreed to send ceasefire
observers to Darfour. Sudan has rejected a proposal for an African Union