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Thursday, September 02, 2004

The New York Times > International > Africa > In Western Sudan, Fear Is the Ever-Growing Enemy

The New York Times > International > Africa > In Western Sudan, Fear Is the Ever-Growing Enemy: "September 2, 2004
In Western Sudan, Fear Is the Ever-Growing Enemy
By SOMINI SENGUPTA

SHIGEKARO, Sudan - The United Nations has issued the Arab-led government of Sudan a stark ultimatum: show evidence of improved security for the black African tribes of the vast western region called Darfur, or face the consequences - among them, possibly economic sanctions.
Yet that warning, issued July 30, has provided scant comfort to those who still live in this unforgiving landscape of endless yellow sand cut by jagged stone hills. The desert is littered with camel corpses and the skulls of dead donkeys. Here and there lie singed villages, or deep craters left by bombs. The people, if one can find them, continue to tell harrowing tales of government planes swooping overhead before the rampage of the pro-government Arab militias, the Janjaweed.
Sudan's government has been reluctant to permit free access to journalists, and so it is impossible to assess the scope of the attacks or the exact extent of the government's involvement. As the Security Council prepared to take up the matter on Sept. 2, it was also not clear from local accounts whether the latest violence occurred in the month it gave Sudan to comply.
What is certain is that the threat of violence remains so intense, and the government's promises to secure the region so mistrusted, that no one here feels safe enough to return home. Darfurians are still on the run.
So terrified do they remain that some are hiding in caves, or pitching tents of twig and cloth under the thickets that sprout from the sand. They subsist on what little the desert yie"

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