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
"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.