Police from Sweden sent to Sudan

The Swedish government is to send three police officers to Sudan to join the three Swedes who are already working for the African Union Mission (AMIS) there.

This decision came only a few days after the October 8th killing of three Nigerian peacekeepers and two of the civilian Amis workers.

Since 2004 Amis forces have been working in difficult conditions in a hostile environment, sometimes without protection or the Sudanese government’s cooperation.

On October 10th UN Secretary General condemned the killing of Amis personnel and reminded the parties that Amis was an impartial force deployed to assist the people of the region and the parties to the conflict. He also reminded the Government that it had the ultimate responsibility for the protection of peacekeepers and humanitarian workers.

Sweden is currently contributing a total of six of the fifty police officers that have been pledged in support of Amis.

“Sweden’s increased participation on the AU mission underscores our commitment to finding a sustainable solution to the conflict in Sudan,” says Carin Jämtin, Swedish minister for International Development Cooperation.

Since February 2003, government sponsored militias known as the Janjaweed have conducted a calculated campaign of slaughter, rape, starvation and displacement in Darfur in what has been declared the worst humanitarian crises in the world today.

The conflict began after a rebel group began attacking government targets, claiming that the region was being neglected by Khartoum. The rebels say the government is oppressing black Africans in favor of Arabs.

So far it is estimated that tens of thousands have died due to violence, starvation and disease. More than 2.5 million people have been displaced from their homes and over 200,000 have fled across the border to Chad.

Many now live in camps lacking adequate food, shelter, sanitation, and health care. Peace talks between the Darfur rebels and the government in Khartoum have made little progress while violations have shaken the cease fire in recent weeks.

David Stavrou