Govt-linked militia behind Darfur peacekeepers’ killing, say rebels

Updated 15 July 2013
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Govt-linked militia behind Darfur peacekeepers’ killing, say rebels

KHARTOUM: Rebels in Sudan’s Darfur region accused government-linked militia on Sunday of carrying out an ambush which killed seven peacekeepers and wounded 17.
“We don’t have any doubt that the act was done by government militia, because militia are deployed in Khor Abeche area,” said Abdullah Moursal, spokesman for the Sudan Liberation Army’s Minni Minnawi faction.
“This area is completely under government control.”
Gibril Adam Bilal, spokesman for another rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement, also blamed militia. “The government must take full responsibility for this incident,” which was carried out by government-equipped militia, he claimed.
Officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
The African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) said the ambush by “a large unidentified group” struck on Saturday about 25 kilometers (16 miles) west of a UNAMID base at Khor Abeche, north of the South Darfur state capital Nyala.
In addition to the seven dead Tanzanian peacekeeping troops, 17 other military and police personnel were wounded in the attack, the worst in the five-year history of UNAMID.
Rebels have been fighting the government for a decade in Darfur but UNAMID says that clashes between rival tribal and ethnic groups have been responsible for most of the worsening unrest in Darfur this year.
UN experts, human rights activists and tribal leaders have accused government security forces of involvement in this year’s tribal fighting.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed outrage at the “heinous attack” and called on Khartoum to take swift action to bring the perpetrators to justice.
The UN has made repeated similar calls after attacks on its peacekeepers in Sudan, but UN sources say they are unaware of anyone having been held accountable.
About 50 UNAMID members have now died in hostile action since the mission began. Before Saturday’s attack, six peacekeepers had been killed in Darfur since October.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, head of the African Union Commission, said the attack was unprovoked.
“There cannot be any reason why people from outside Sudan voluntarily contributing toward the restoration of peace in Darfur should lose their lives in the manner that has been occasioned by this senseless attack,” she said, adding that “UNAMID will not be deterred” in its mission. Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird called the latest attack “reprehensible” and said Ottawa “is deeply concerned by the deteriorating security conditions in Darfur and across Sudan.”




An estimated 300,000 people have been displaced by violence in Darfur this year — more than in the last two years combined.
In April, a Nigerian peacekeeper was killed and two others wounded in an assault on their base east of Nyala.
The authorities denied suggestions from local sources that the attack appeared to have been planned and carried out by government-linked forces.
A UN panel of experts earlier this year reported that former pro-government militiamen had sometimes expressed their discontent with the current government through “direct attacks on UNAMID staff and premises.”
The JEM and the Sudan Liberation Army both refused to sign an internationally-backed peace deal signed two years ago between Khartoum and an alliance of rebel splinter factions.
A humanitarian source expressed doubt that rebels would have carried out the attack on UNAMID.
“When people are killed, probably it’s more militia,” he said, asking for anonymity.
UNAMID released few details of the ambush but said the patrol came under “heavy fire,” leading to an extended firefight until peacekeeping reinforcements arrived to rescue the team.
Last October, unidentified attackers fired mortars, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank guns in an ambush which killed a South African peacekeeper and wounded three others in North Darfur.
UNAMID said at the time that that attack may have been a deliberate attempt to prevent the mission from assessing the situation in an area where violence had been reported.
UNAMID, with about 20,000 military and police peacekeepers, is one of the largest such missions in the world, and has a mandate to protect civilians.
str-it/kir


‘Send her back!’, US crowd roars as Trump steps up ‘racist’ attack on 4 congresswomen

Updated 6 min 1 sec ago
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‘Send her back!’, US crowd roars as Trump steps up ‘racist’ attack on 4 congresswomen

  • Trump’s targets are Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan
  • He described the targets his hate campaign as ‘hate-filled extremists who are constantly trying to tear our country down’

GREENVILLE, North Carolina: Going after four Democratic congresswomen one by one, a combative President Donald Trump turned his campaign rally Wednesday into an extended dissection of the liberal views of the women of color, deriding them for what he painted as extreme positions and suggesting they just get out.
“Tonight I have a suggestion for the hate-filled extremists who are constantly trying to tear our country down,” Trump told the crowd in North Carolina, a swing state he won in 2016 and wants to claim again in 2020. “They never have anything good to say. That’s why I say, ‘Hey if you don’t like it, let ‘em leave, let ‘em leave.’“
Eager to rile up his base with the some of the same kind of rhetoric he targeted at minorities and women in 2016, Trump declared, “I think in some cases they hate our country.”
Trump’s jabs were aimed at the self-described “squad” of four freshmen Democrats who have garnered attention since their arrival in January for their outspoken liberal views and distaste for Trump: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. All were born in the US except for Omar, who came to the US as a child after fleeing Somalia with her family.
Taking the legislators on one at a time, Trump ticked through a laundry list of what he deemed offensive comments by each woman, mangling and misconstruing many facts along the way.
Omar came under the harshest criticism as Trump played to voters’ grievances, drawing a chant from the crowd of “Send her back! Send her back!“
Trump set off a firestorm Sunday when he tweeted that the four should “go back” to their home countries — though three were born in the United States. Trump has accused them of “spewing some of the most vile, hateful and disgusting things ever said by a politician.”
Before he left Washington, Trump said he has no regrets about his ongoing spat with the four. Trump told reporters he thinks he’s “winning the political argument” and “winning it by a lot.”
“If people want to leave our country, they can. If they don’t want to love our country, if they don’t want to fight for our country, they can,” Trump said. “I’ll never change on that.”
Trump’s harsh denunciations were another sign of his willingness to exploit the nation’s racial divisions heading into the 2020 campaign.
His speech was filled with Trump’s trademark criticisms about the news media, which he says sides with liberals, and of special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. Mueller had been scheduled to testify Wednesday on Capitol Hill, but it was postponed. Trump brought him up anyway. “What happened to me with this witch hunt should never be allowed to happen to another president,” he said.
He also talked about illegal immigration, a main theme of his first presidential bid that is taking center stage in his re-election campaign. He brushed off the criticism he has gotten for saying that the congresswomen should go back home. “So controversial,” he said sarcastically.
The four freshmen have portrayed the president as a bully who wants to “vilify” not only immigrants, but all people of color. They say they are fighting for their priorities to lower health care costs and pass a Green New Deal addressing climate change, while his thundering attacks are a distraction and tear at the core of America values.
The Democratic-led US House voted Tuesday to condemn Trump for what it labeled “racist comments,” despite near-solid GOP opposition and the president’s own insistence that he doesn’t have a “racist bone” in his body.
Trump hasn’t shown signs of being rattled by the House rebuke, and called an impeachment resolution that failed in Congress earlier Wednesday “ridiculous.” The condemnation carries no legal repercussions and his latest harangues struck a chord with supporter in Greenville, whose chants of “Four more years!” and “Build that wall!” bounced off the rafters.
Vice President Mike Pence was first up after spending the day in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and visiting troops at Fort Bragg. “North Carolina and America needs four more years,” Pence said.
It was Trump’s sixth visit to the state as president and his first 2020 campaign event in North Carolina, where he defeated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Before Trump arrived, Wayne Goodwin, chairman of the North Carolina Democratic Party, spoke at a rally in Greenville and called Trump “just another corrupt snake oil salesman.”
“From sparking a harmful trade war that puts our farmers in the crosshairs, to giving corporations a billion-dollar giveaway at the expense of our middle class, to repeatedly pushing to end protections for pre-existing conditions and raise health care costs, his broken promises have hurt hard-working families across North Carolina,” Goodwin said.