• Thanks giving Service was held at Force Headquarters on 29 January, 2006 for the new Force Commander Major-General C.R.U. Ihekire and his Deputy Brigadier-General Frank M. Kamanzi.
• It was attended by, among others, the Chief of Staff Colonel Alexander Sharskin Bentil, the Vice-Chairman of the Ceasefire Commission (CFC) Brigadier-General Giraud Francis and members of the Commission, CivPol, as well as Civilian and Military personnel while the guest of honour was the Acting Deputy Head of Mission Ambassador Hassan Gibril.
• The Imam prayed for peace in Darfur, blessings and protection of all AMIS personnel in the Darfurian theatre, team work, cooperation and guidance, fitness and love for each other adding that human efforts per se without Divine Intervention could not be expected to achieve peace and stability for this western province of the Sudan. He implored Allah to watch over the new AMIS leadership.
• On his part, the Pastor prayed for the Force Commander and his Deputy and other Officers of the High Command, the President and people of the Sudan in general and the Darfurians in particular, safety of the Mission and that of families at home and committed Darfur to God.
• The US Ambassador to the Sudan H.E. Mr. Hume visited Force Headquarters on 4 February, 2006 and was received by the Acting Deputy Head of Mission Ambassador Hassan Gibril, the Force Commander Major-General C.R.U. Ihekire, the Deputy Force Commander Brigadier-General Frank Mushyo Kamanzi and the Chief of Staff Colonel Alexander Bentil. The US envoy held discussions on the current situation in Darfur with the FHQ officials.
• The Chairman of the Ceasefire Commission (CFC), who also doubles as the Acting Deputy Head of Mission, Ambassador Hassan Gibril on 31 January, 2006 accompanied by his Vice-Chairman Brigadier-General Giraud Francis, members and representatives of the Sudan Liberation Army/Movement (SLA/M), the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the GoS in the Commission, as well as officers of the Civilian Police component, paid a visit to the town of Shearia in South Darfur where he met with tribal leaders and elders to seek modalities for the way forward in the aftermath of recent inter-ethnic clashes in the area.
• Among other things, the Ambassador told his audience, clad variously in white robes and turbans, that his visit was aimed at finding ways and means to defuse the tense and explosive situation prevailing in their midst which could at this point in time militate against the on-going Inter-Sudanese Peace Talks in the Nigerian capital of Abuja.
• The Ceasefire Commission, he stressed, was not in Shearia as a Mediator but as a facilitator to help families that had fled their homes due to the said clashes return and resume a normal life. The Ambassador informed the tribal leaders that the CFC worked as a team and was fair and impartial despite the different parties in its composition.
• Great emphasis in these talks was placed on the convening in the foreseeable future of tribal reconciliation meetings, a notion that so far has received wide acceptance among the concerned ethnic leaders and their followers in this part of Darfur.
• On his part, Colonel Muktar Ali, a high profile Representative of the Sudan Liberation Army/Movement in the CFC assured the people of Shearia that his organization will do everything possible to avoid and nip in the bud any manifestations of clashes and conflicts that may rear their ugly heads henceforth. He pledged on behalf of the SLA that there will be no repeat of attacks on the town of Shaeria and that the SLA will instead robustly assist to boost peace efforts currently going on in Abuja.
• On 1 February, 2006 the CFC Chairman met with tribal leaders in the town of Graida where in recent weeks tensions have escalated between two ethnic groups, namely, the Falata and the Marsalit. Addressing the mainly Falata audience in their traditional white robes and turbans at Tulus, Ambassador Gibril noted that the importance of such meetings was that they afforded CFC members an opportunity to get documentary evidence over the numerous alleged incidences and in this connection appealed to the local leadership to grant AMIS personnel free access to their areas in order for them to know and see what is happening on the ground and establish who the perpetrators of criminal acts were to avoid making contradictory conclusions.
• It is in our mutual interest, the Ambassador stressed, that AMIS is allowed unhindered access and stick to the letter and spirit of the Humanitarian Ceasefire Agreement (HCFA), adding that failure to commit ourselves to HCFA is synonymous to causing another humanitarian crisis. He agreed with the notion of convening reconciliation meetings at a neutral venue embracing as many ethnic groups as possible in the troubled locality and pledged that AMIS would assist with logistic support if need be.
• He urged the tribal leaders to calm down the heightened tensions and requested that they give free access to AU Civilian Police on patrol in the villages to investigate breaches of the law and help to find timely solutions.
Justin Thundu, Senior Public Affairs and Information Officer
5 February, 2006, El Fasher, Darfur, the Sudan
Tel: 0024991122 2020