Genocide is currently occurring in Sudan. Despite former US Secretary of State Colin Powell stating last September that genocide was in fact taking place, the atrocities continue. Australia announced this week that it will be sending a small deployment (a paltry 15 people) to assist the UN mission in the country.

Brian Steidle is a former US representative to the African Union who spent six months in Sudan monitoring the so-called ceasefire between rebels and the government and militia. He has now spoken out and detailed the horrors he witnessed.

“…probably say 95 per cent of the attacks, maybe even more – 99 per cent – were from the government of Sudan. It was the government of Sudan working in conjunction with the Arab militias using their helicopter gun ships and their Antonovs to bomb and terrorise the people.”

Steidle’s descriptions were chilling. He witnessed weapons that caused a man to have “his back…shredded by a cheese grater.” Entire villages were burnt to the ground and women were mass raped.

“..outside the village of Adwah there was a bone field. It was probably about 50m by 50m and you couldn’t walk around without stepping on human bones. We don’t really know how many people were killed there, but they apparently had been taken from one of the village by the Janjaweed [militia] and executed and left there to rot.”

And why doesn’t the world act? Steidle said it was simple. “Innocent people are being killed by a government that is aimed at wiping them out, pushing them out of Darfur, killing them, simply because they are black Africans.”

Rwanda recently marked the tenth anniversary of the 1994 genocide that killed close to 1 million people. The world has clearly learnt nothing after the worse atrocities since Cambodia under Pol Pot were committed.

The EU announced in August last year that its fact-finding mission had discovered widespread violence in Sudan but no signs of genocide, a crucial distinction allowing the Europeans not to intervene.

Sudan.net has the latest news from the country. Watching ABC TV last night and witnessing gruesome pictures of decomposing bodies and burning villages, one couldn’t help but feel helpless. Human Rights Watch is but one NGO trying to stop the ethnic cleansing.

We must act. It’s already too late.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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