The African Union under the leadership of Nigerian President Obasanjo continues to conduct peace talks between the government of Sudan and rebels. On Sunday the rebels staged a 24 hour boycott of the talks, saying that the government of Sudan had led raids on villages in Darfur during the previous few days. The Sudanese government denied that the attacks had taken place.
In an intervention of note, President Obasanjo asked AU monitors in Darfur to check the story--and to determine whether the rebels or the government had facts on their side.
From a process standpoint, Obasanjo's move was very helpful, as it put both the Sudanese government and the rebels on notice that their claims will be checked.strong>
ABUJA, Aug. 30 (Xinhuanet) -- Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo,also chairman of the African Union (AU), said Monday he was disappointed after receiving confirmation that Sudanese government forces resumed attacks on civilians in the country's troubled region of Darfur last week.
"Reported attacks by the government forces were confirmed to meby the chairman of AU ceasefire monitoring commission," Obasanjo said in a press briefing in Nigerian capital Abuja, where the AU-sponsored peace talks are now in a standstill between the Khartoum government and two Darfur rebel groups.
The rebels were correct. The evidence indicates that government did carry out attacks, including the destruction of a village in which 64 people were murdered.
Mr Obasanjo's office said he had written to President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan to "express his disappointment at the reported attacks which he said had been confirmed by the chairman of the ceasefire monitoring commission".
Mr Obasanjo asked Sudan "to ensure that all attacks by government forces and the Janjaweed cease forthwith.
President Obasanjo's actions are in strong contrast to the weak moves by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and his representative in Sudan, Jan Pronk. The UN leaders continue to take the Sudanese government at its word--despite continued evidence that the government cannot be trusted.