Thursday, February 02, 2012

U.N. Chief for Darfur Attends Celebration Hosted by Top Janjaweed Leader” (Enough Project, February 1, 2012)

by Eric Reeves In March 2004 the U.N.’s IRIN news service reported on the events of the previous month near Tawila in North Darfur. It was a brutal episode, but there would be many hundreds more such: “In an attack on 27 February 2004 in the Tawilah area of northern Darfur, 30 villages were burned to the ground, over 200 people killed and over 200 girls and women raped—some by up to 14 assailants and in front of their fathers who were later killed. A further 150 women and 200 children were abducted.” Eight years later, events of a rather different sort were transpiring. The man who had been presiding over the slaughter of civilians in the Tawila area, Janjaweed leader Musa Hilal, was now presiding over the wedding of his daughter to the Chadian President Idriss Déby (January 20, 2012). There were a number of ironies in this wedding, including the fact that Déby is a member of the non-Arab Zaghawa tribe, the same ethnic group that has been slaughtered in horrific fashion in places such as Tawila and elsewhere in Darfur. But more than ironic, indeed deeply perverse, was the presence at this wedding party of the U.N./African Union Special Representative to the peacekeeping force in Darfur known as UNAMID: Nigeria’s Ibrahim Gambari. Newswire photographs have appeared that show Gambari in attendance, indeed chatting it up with the leader of the Khartoum regime, President Omar al-Bashir. Al-Bashir’s presence was both predictable and in its grim way appropriate: It was his regime that had released Hilal from prison (he was serving time for serious felony convictions) and put him to work[LH1] creating militias from his Um Jalal and other Arab tribal groups in North Darfur. The Khartoum regime provided him with weapons, logistics, intelligence, and most important, protection. His instructions were clear: destroy the non-Arab people of Darfur. The Janjaweed, now often recycled into other paramilitary or “police” forces, have continued their brutal predations, if now on a lesser scale; they also continue to enjoy complete impunity, total protection from international justice efforts. So we know why Bashir was at the wedding. But why was Gambari there, photographed in animated conversation with Bashir? Why would he attend the wedding festivities for the daughter of a man linked in all credible human rights reporting on North Darfur with the very worst atrocity crimes—in fact, responsible for directing these crimes? Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

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