Saturday, March 19, 2005

Sudanese regime outed by Janjaweed leader

As regular readers will know, genocide (or massive crimes against humanity, if you prefer) has been taking place in the eastern Sudanese region of Darfur. Government sponsored Janjaweed militia have massacred tens of thousands of people... at the very least. The resulting humanitarian situation is clearly one of the worst in the world. Some fear the scale of the humanitarian crisis is being underestimated. This is being aggravated by the threats against international aid agencies by the Janjaweed genociders, threats which have provoked the withdrawal of foreign UN workers from the region.

One constant has been the vigorous denials by the Sudanese regime of Gen. Omar el-Bashir that they are in any way linked to the militias. The militias are just a ragtag bunch of bandits, according to the regime. This is contrary to what nearly everyone else says. And now, it's contrary to what the the alleged Janjaweed leader himself said.

A top militia leader says the Sudan government backed and directed Janjaweed activities in northern Darfur, reported Human Rights Watch, in a video released earlier this month.

Janjaweed leader Musa Hilal states that the government of Sudan directed all military activities of the militia forces he had recruited. "All of the people in the field are led by top army commanders," adding quite explicitly that "These people get their orders from the Western command center, and from Khartoum."

The organization added that Darfur government documents in the possession of Human Rights Watch refer to official Sudanese government support for Musa Hilal. In a memo dated February 13, 2004 from the office of a sub-locality in North Darfur, the authorities urge all "security units in the locality" to "allow the activities of the mujahedeen and the volunteers under the command of Sheikh Musa Hilal to proceed in the areas of [North Darfur] and to secure their vital needs."

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