Are They Rebels or Bandits?
According to press news, some armed men ambushed some UNAMID personnel in
West Darfur, stealing rifles, ammunition and cash. This act cannot be seen in isolation from banditry crimes committed by outlaws who used to capitalize on security violations by rebel movements.
As recalled the AMIS peace-keeping forces were exposed to such attacks that led to the killing of some personnel while carrying out their duties.
Now that UNAMID personnel has begun its deployment on the ground, the recent attack stands as an evidence of the escalation of banditry activities that threaten efforts to bring peace to Darfur.
There is no question about banditry groups operating under the guise of rebels. As evidenced by the ambushing of UNAMID personnel, the bandits were armed with gun-machines and rocket grenades.
Under the circumstances, rebel movements are to be held responsible for such attacks because of their intransigence to negotiate peace. For only when peace is achieved can all parties cooperate to check banditry activities.
At the same time such activities will hamper humanitarian access to the innocent Darfurians who have continued to suffer from the conflict.
As earlier reported, humanitarian agencies have decided to cut down their assistance due to attacks on humanitarian convoys. The recent attack on peace-keeping forces will add to the fears of these agencies, and so this will culminate in further cuts of that assistance.
In view of these banditry threats, UNAMID and the Sudanese government authorities should coordinate efforts to end such acts. Rebel movements willing to reach peace in Darfur should join them to prove that they have a cause.
Other rebel movements behind such activities will sooner or later be labeled as mere bandits and therefore they will find themselves shunned by the Darfurians themselves.