Darfur attack wounds Sudan war crimes suspect

Updated 09 July 2013

Darfur attack wounds Sudan war crimes suspect

KHARTOUM: A suspect wanted for war crimes in Sudan’s Darfur has been left wounded after an attack which reportedly killed two of his men, sources in the region’s largest city Nyala said yesterday.
Ali Kushayb, a former commander of the feared Janjaweed militia, was attacked on Sunday during battles in the city, which state officials blamed on “differences” between members of the security forces.
“It’s Kushayb who was injured,” one source said, referring to the man who is wanted by the International Criminal Court.
“Not sure what the injuries are,” but Kushayb was to be transferred to Khartoum, the source added, asking for anonymity.
The urban warfare which first erupted in Nyala on Wednesday night has killed at least eight people and wounded more than 20, according to official media.
Among the dead are two Sudanese workers from the aid group World Vision. As a result of the fighting, food aid to an estimated 400,000 needy people in the area will be disrupted, the World Food Programme said.

Kushayb was hurt as residents ran for their lives during fresh fighting and looting in Nyala on Sunday.
The state-run Radio Omdurman reported late Sunday that Kushayb “was saved from assassination” but did not say he was wounded.
His driver and guard were killed, the report said.
Kushayb is wanted by The Hague-based ICC for crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed earlier in the decade-long Darfur conflict.
On Sunday afternoon, a witness saw an ambulance under police guard at the Nyala hospital, where onlookers said an “important person” was to be transferred to Khartoum.
A Nyala resident said the city was calm on Monday but “many shops have been looted and burned.”
The violence adds to what the United Nations says is a worsening security situation in Sudan’s vast western region.
Fighting in Nyala was sparked when security forces allegedly killed a notorious local bandit who was also an officer in the paramilitary Central Reserve Police.
Darfuri members of the Reserve formerly belonged to the Janjaweed, a government-backed militia which shocked the world with atrocities against ethnic minority civilians suspected of supporting rebels.
The ethnic minority rebels began their uprising against the Arab-dominated Khartoum regime in 2003.
Security problems have been compounded by inter-tribal fighting, kidnappings, carjackings and other crimes, many suspected to be the work of government-linked militia and paramilitary groups.
In February, a UN panel of experts reported “some incidents in which former members of government militias have forcibly expressed their discontent with the current government, especially against the backdrop of rising inflation and unemployment.”

Family backs Tlaib’s decision not to visit Israel

Updated 18 August 2019

Family backs Tlaib’s decision not to visit Israel

  • Israel said a humanitarian travel request by Tlaib would be considered as long as she promised not to promote a boycott against Israel

RAMALLAH: Relatives of a US congresswoman say they support her decision to decline Israel’s offer allowing her to visit them in the West Bank because the “right to travel should be provided to all without any conditions.”

Rashida Tlaib said she would not see her family, even after Israel lifted a ban on her entry, because the government had imposed restrictions on her trip.

“We totally understand her position and support her in her efforts. The right to travel should be provided to all without any conditions,” her uncle Bassam Tlaib told Arab News.

He was speaking from the family home in Beit Ur Al-Fuka, which is 3 km from the West Bank city of Ramallah, and was flanked by his elderly mother.

He said his niece had visited them many times in the past, but there had never been any conditions attached to her travel.

“She said we will meet when she can come without conditions,” Tlaib said. “One idea has been floated of flying the grandmother to the US or finding a way to have the two meetings in a third country. You know my mother is nearing 90 and it is not easy for her to travel but we are checking out all options.”

Tlaib, a Democrat, has criticized Israel’s policy toward Palestinians and had planned to make an official visit to the country.

Israel said a humanitarian travel request by Tlaib would be considered as long as she promised not to promote a boycott against Israel, local media reported.

But the congresswoman, who is Palestinian-American, lashed out on social media.

“I can’t allow the State of Israel to take away that light by humiliating me & use my love for my sity to bow down to their oppressive & racist policies,” she tweeted, using the word sity to refer to her grandmother. “Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me. It would kill a piece of me. I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in — fighting against racism, oppression & injustice.”

The NGO hosting and organizing the trip, Miftah, has been criticized by supporters of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.

Hanan Ashrawi, the NGO’s founder, said her staff had organized other congressional trips. “This was the third trip we have organized, and we try to do our work professionally and seriously,” Ashrawi told Arab News. “Our very mission is to promote global dialogue and democracy.”

Ashrawi said the attacks on Miftah were unwarranted.  “Miftah has been targeted with the expressed goal of trying to discredit us even though our record is clear. We believe that they are trying to keep organizing congressional delegations within the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) monopoly, while we are trying to provide visitors with an opportunity to learn about Palestinian life under occupation and to understand the Palestinian narrative by providing opportunities for delegations to see and engage with Palestinians of all walks of life.” 

Ashrawi said Miftah had been “vetted” by the US Congress’ ethics committee. “We might not be able to bring hundreds of congress people like AIPAC, but we can bring a few and have them see, hear and interact with Palestinians.”

US President Donald Trump had called on Israel not to allow Tlaib and fellow congresswoman Ilhan Omar into Israel as admitting the two “would show great weakness.”

He tweeted that the pair “hate Israel and all Jewish people, and there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace.”