By Elizabeth Costner
Impunity Watch Senior Desk Officer, Africa
KHARTOUM, Sudan – Sudan has accused Chad of bombing its territory and sending troops across their shared border, and warned that Khartoum may have to retaliate. Sudan’s Foreign Ministry stated on Saturday that the Friday bombing followed similar attacks in West Darfur earlier this month and in April. Chad’s Foreign Minister Ahmat Allam-mi defended the bombing as necessary to counter Darfur fighters he claimed were preparing to attack Chad’s forces. Chad denies sending any troops into Sudanese territory.
There has been tension between the two countries over the conflict in Darfur with each side accusing the other of aiding the rebel groups. Both countries have reiterated their right to undertake any measures they deem necessary for self-defensive purposes. Khartoum has stated they reserve “its full right to respond in self-defense in the place and at the time Sudan’s interest dictate.” Chad countered by reminding Sudan of “Chad’s right to take all means to assure its security, notably by preventive measures.”
Meanwhile, a 26,000 strong joint AU and UN peacekeeping force is scheduled to start deployment in Sudan on January 1. A 7,000 strong AU force has been in Darfur for the last three years, but has been largely unsuccessful. 50 African troops have died, including 12 in the deadliest attack on an AU base in September.
The increased force was approved by the UN Security Council in July but will not be fully operational until later in 2008. There have been numerous accusations that Khartoum has stalled the deployment and that contributing countries are not supplying enough hardware.
UNAMID head Radolphe Adada warned that “the situation in Darfur will not be transformed overnight” but that they “are optimistic that the deployment of UNAMID will help to begin to improve the security situation in Darfur and create a climate favourable to the achievement of a negotiated settlement of the conflict.”
For more information, please see:
International Herald Tribune – Sudan criticizes Chad for bombing territory, sending troops across border – 30 December 2007
AFP – New Darfur peacekeepers set to take over Jan 1 – 30 December 2007
Reuters – Sudan accuses Chad of bombing Darfur, Chad denies – 30 December 2007
Reuters – Little relief for Darfur seen from new peace force – 30 December 2007