With the expulsion from Darfur of UN envoy Jan Pronk, hopes that the Sudanese government will allow UN peacekeepers into the region have significantly lessened. Prank has been asked by the government to vacate Darfur by mid-day this Wednesday due to incendiary remarks found in his Web log. Prank is quoted as stating, “Reports speak about hundreds of casualties in each of the two battles, many wounded soldiers and many taken as prisoner,” and of accusing the government of deploying more Janjaweed militia. The Janjaweed are accused of numerous atrocities upon the people of Darfur, including, mass rape and murder. Pronk’s exit will undoubtedly slow peace-keeping efforts and add to the government’s resistance for intervention.

Although the UN passed Security Council resolution 1706 back in August, which, under UN terms must be accepted by the Sudan, it has not been. The resolution provides for 20,000 troops to be sent into the region to assist the beleaguered African Union troops. Deployment of additional troops is essential to stopping the violence in the region as the African Union is ill-equipped to handle the current situation. In the meantime, Darfur’s residents live in fear as approximately 5,000 murders continue to occur monthly.

Darfur is quickly turning into the next Rwanda, a nation who in 1994, suffered genocide numbers of around 937,000 in 100 days of terror. The BBC states that the US, “insists that because Security Council resolution 1706 is written under the enforcement chapter of the UN, the force could go in regardless of what the government of Sudan wants, but obviously that is not the preferred option.” A New York Times article from September 2006, quoted Darfur resident Sheik Abdullah Muhammad Ali, who fled from a surrounding village, as saying, “What happened in Rwanda, it will happen here,”; “If these soldiers (African Union) leave, we will all be slaughtered.” The Sudanese government prefers that the African Union leave Darfur rather than allowing in UN troops under the approved resolution. Sheik Ali went on to say, “We beg the international community, somebody, come and save us” . “We have no means to protect ourselves. The only thing we can do is run and hide in the mountains and caves. We will all die.”

The only certainty for Darfur seems to be that there is no soon end in sight to the violence. Pronk’s observations, while valid and accurate, would have been best kept to himself or, at least, off the Web. The UN and world communities can only hope that another UN envoy will be allowed back into Sudan. Mean while, residents will be forced to live in fear as they look for somewhere else, anywhere else, to go.

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