Darfur: A New Deadly Chapter… Or Maybe Not

October 17, 2009

The Independent’s splash makes for powerful reading…

The Lord’s Resistance Army, one of the most feared guerrilla groups in Africa, has moved into Darfur, one of the continent’s most troubled regions, intelligence sources in Sudan say.

The unexpected move by the LRA comes just as the war-weary west of Sudan recedes from world headlines and after the UN mission there had tentatively declared the fighting to be over. The possible arrival of a messianic cult notorious for rape, civilian massacres and the enslavement of child soldiers threatens that fragile peace.

So far so bad. The LRA is responsible for miserable crimes against humanity. It has slaughtered thousands of people across a swath of central Africa. If they are opening a fresh front in the war then this is seriously bad news for the embattled people of Darfur. But hang on a minute. Where is the evidence that they have crossed into Darfur? Reading on…

The LRA has been terrorising the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo for 18 months but the bulk of its forces have now crossed into southern Darfur, a senior official in the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) told The Independent.

Well, at least time there is no Abu Sharati-style confusion about which side Major-General Kuol Deim Kuol (quoted in the next line) is on.

So the evidence comes from rebels who spent 20 years fighting against Khartoum, who are allied with the Darfuri rebels, and who themselves are no strangers to using child soldiers, stealing food aid and targeting civilians in their struggle. Lower down they resurrect their claims that Khartoum is resupplying the LRA.

All of their claims may be true. And if it is then Sudan’s messy wars just got a bit more messier, a bit more bloody and a bit more less likely to be solved. Or it may just be another round of unsubstantiated propaganda.