Thursday, September 4, 2008



February 11, 2008
Sudan Tribune

Sudan’s senior presidential assistant today issued a strong condemnation of last week’s attack carried out by the army in Darfur and said that those responsible must be brought to justice.

“This is a terrible massacre” Minni Arcua Minnawi told reporters at a press conference in Khartoum as quoted by the daily Al-Hayat newspaper.

In a clear departure from the official Sudanese position Minnawi called for an international inquiry into the attack that claimed a large number of civilian lives.
The Sudanese government, in its largest offensive in months, on Friday attacked Abu Surouj, Sirba and Suleia towns, forcing an estimated 200,000 from their homes 12,000 of whom have fled into neighboring eastern Chad.

The U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) said about 12,000 Darfuri refugees had crossed into eastern Chad after Friday’s air and ground attacks.

A refugee from Sileah told UNHCR that ground attacks by the Janjaweed militia, allegedly supported by Sudanese Antonov aircraft, nearly destroyed Abu Surouj and reportedly caused heavy damage to four camps for internally displaced people.
The attacks have been condemned by U.N. officials, which Khartoum called "double standards" in a statement by its foreign ministry.

The former rebel leader and the head of a faction of Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) dismissed the government’s claim that there was rebel presence in the three towns and said that these were “safe areas”.

“I call on the international community to launch an investigation through the UN and African Union (AU) in cooperation with the Darfur transitional authority to find out the truth and hold those responsible accountable” he added.

Minnawi said he spoke to the governor of West Darfur Abu Al-Gasim Imam and told him that the “events were grave and must be examined on the field”.

In May 2006, the SLM signed the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) with the Sudanese government and its head Minni Arcua Minnawi was appointed as the Senior Assistant TO the Sudanese President in August. However Minnawi’s faction has grown increasingly frustrated with Khartoum’s negligence of the DPA.

The Senior Presidential Assistant has distanced himself from the government’s position on issues like the handing over of war crime suspects to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Sudan has so far refused to extradite any of its citizens to the ICC.