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Wednesday, January 26, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Referendum? Sudan launches new operations
in Darfour

CAIRO — Sudan, in the wake of a southern referendum that voted for secession, has renewed major operations in Darfour.


The United Nations has reported an increase in Sudanese Army operations in the western province of Darfour. UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon said the Army was fighting two rebel groups — the Justice and Equality Movement and a faction of the Sudanese Liberation Army.

"I am deeply concerned over the upsurge in fighting between government and [rebel] movement forces and its humanitarian consequences," the secretary-general said in a report.

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The UN quarterly report, released on Jan. 24, reviewed operations of UNAMID, a peacekeeping force of about 25,000 that contained both UN and African Union personnel. The UN has repeatedly accused the Khartoum regime of blocking peacekeeping operations in Darfour, including allowing foreign staff to enter Sudan.

"UNAMID has made strides in its deployment but has experienced difficulties in obtaining visas for its staff," the report said. "Those who are most essential to the mission's work must be granted visas as a matter of immediate priority."

Diplomats said the regime of President Omar Bashir could have decided to escalate military attacks in Darfour ahead of the release of final results from the referendum on southern secession. Initial results showed a huge majority for the secession of the Christian south from the Muslim north.

Khartoum was also refusing to share information on military operations in Darfour. UNAMID, in what it called a violation of its agreement with the Sudanese government, cited an operation in the Zam Zam displaced persons camp.

"The operation resulted in the arrest of 37 individuals, for reasons unknown, the impounding of 10 4x4 vehicles, the seizure of three assault rifle magazines, unspecified quantities of ammunitions, and suspected stolen goods and illegal substances," UNAMID said on Jan. 23.

The Sudanese Army has acknowledged major operations in Darfour. In mid-January, the Army reported the killing of 21 people in a battle with rebel groups in Darfour.

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