Secretary-General alarmed by deadly air, ground attack on South Darfur town
12 September 2007 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today expressed deep concern at the Sudanese Government’s “brutal aerial and ground attack” on a South Darfur town that has left at least 25 civilians dead and took place just days after the United Nations chief visited the war-torn region.
Mr. Ban told the Security Council that the attack indicated that “we must all renew our strong appeals to the parties to show restraint in the lead-up to political negotiations in October” that are being held to try to resolve the conflict that has engulfed Darfur since 2003.
The African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) – which is operating in Darfur until the hybrid UN-AU peacekeeping force (UNAMID) takes over next year – reported that fierce fighting took place yesterday afternoon after an aerial and ground attack on Haskanita in South Darfur State.
In a closed-door briefing on his visit to Sudan, Chad and Libya, which ended at the weekend, Mr. Ban said the attack was an apparent retaliation for an attack by the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) on the Wad Banda military base on 29 August. JEM is one of the rebel groups that did not sign last year’s Darfur Peace Agreement with the Government.
More than 200,000 people have been killed and at least 2.2 million others have had to leave their homes because of the Darfur conflict between Government forces, allied Janjaweed militia and the rebel groups. An estimated 4 million Darfurians depend on humanitarian aid.
Mr. Ban said that although his trip to the region had brought “good progress,” particularly the announcement that political negotiations between the Government and rebels will take place in Libya on 27 October, “I will not say that we have had any successes yet.”
The Secretary-General said the UN is moving quickly to establish a trust fund to support the peace process and other assistance measures, and he told Council members that he will soon appeal to Member States to contribute to that fund.
“Now is the time to redouble our efforts, to move with even more speed to make good on commitments and the positive momentum we have generated so that we can finally, with the Sudanese people, see an end to the suffering and insecurity in Darfur.”
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|