New photo evidence shows that the Sudanese government is continuing to deploy offensive military equipment in Darfur, despite the UN arms embargo and peace agreements.
Amnesty International (AI) today released new photographs that show Sudan's breathtaking defiance of the arms embargo and the Darfur peace deals.
"Once again Amnesty International calls on the UN Security Council to act decisively to ensure the embargo is effectively enforced, including by the placement of UN observers at all ports of entry in Sudan and Darfur," said Brian Wood, Amnesty International’s Arms Control Research Manager.
The photographs, sent to AI and the International Peace Information Service by eyewitnesses in Darfur, reinforce evidence provided in AI's May 2007 report: “Sudan: Arms continuing to fuel serious human rights violations in Darfur”. The photos were taken in July at El Geneina airport in Darfur.
AI has received reports of helicopters delivering arms to militias allied to the government, and of the continued deployment of attack helicopters. Russia signed a deal to supply at least 15 general military helicopters (Mi-17s) during 2005 and 2006 and also supplied 12 attack helicopters (Mi-24s) in 2005.
The Sudanese government continues to launch aerial attacks on civilians in Darfur. China supplied Fantan jets, carrying air-to-ground missiles, to Sudan until 2006.
In South Darfur, a Sudanese government Antonov aircraft carried out bombing raids in August after an attack by one armed opposition movement on the town of Adila. They targeted villages and water points. There have been a number of Antonov raids on Ta’alba, while the villages of Habib Suleiman and Fataha were also bombed. An Antonov capable of such raids was reportedly transferred from Russia to Sudan in September 2006.
Thousands of displaced villagers have fled the Jebel Moon/Sirba area in West Darfur after attacks byJanjawid-supported government forces on areas under control of armed opposition groups. Local people said the forces were supplied by helicopters.
There is further concern at reports that armed Sudanese border intelligence guards at El Geneina are using militarized vehicles in civilian settlements. Many in the border intelligence have come from the Janjawid militia, with little done to exclude those responsible for serious human rights violations.
The proliferation of small arms and militarized vehicles in Darfur has led to an increase in armed attacks on aid convoys and other devastating attacks against civilians. The government has consistently failed to stop such attacks by ethnic groups using government arms and vehicles.
On 31 July, the northern Rizeigat group -- armed with rocket propelled grenades and machine guns and using scores of militarized vehicles -- mounted an attack on the Tarjem group which left at least 68 people dead. Both groups identify themselves as Arabs and have been members of the Janjawid and various Sudanese government-backed paramilitary forces such as the Popular Defence Force (PDF).
On the same day, the UN Security Council agreed to send a newly strengthened African Union-United Nations hybrid force to Darfur, but further action is needed.
"If weapons continue to flow into Darfur and peacekeepers are not given the power to disarm and demobilize all armed opposition groups and Janjawid militia, the ability of the new peacekeeping force to protect civilians will be severely impeded," said Erwin van der Borght, Director of Amnesty International's Africa Program
"The UN Security Council must ensure that the arms embargo on Darfur is fully and effectively enforced and that peacekeepers are mandated to disarm or demobilize such groups."