SOUTH DARFUR: GOVERNOR, SLA/M, JEM
Pledge Support for Committee of Inquiry.
The leader of the Sub-Committee of the main AU Committee of Inquiry to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against members of the AU forces in Darfur, Brigadier-General Henry Onyango accompanied by Dr. Nii Wallace Bruce, AMIS Legal Advisor and Secretary to the Committee, and two senior officers from the Forward Headquarters in El Fasher, today 22 April, 2006 met and held discussions in Nyala City with the Wali (Governor) of South Darfur, Dr. Farah Mustapha, regarding the work plan of the Committee expected here early next month. It is to be recalled that the said allegations were broadcast recently by the British Channel 4 Television.
The Brigadier-General briefed the Wali on behalf of the Chairperson of the main Committee, Madam Winnie Byanyima that the purpose of the visit was to lay the groundwork and solicit support for the main Committee inaugurated by the Head of Mission and Special representative in Sudan of the Chairperson of the Commission of the AU Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe.
“We are here as a Sub-Committee to alert you of the establishment of the Committee and its plan to visit South Darfur soon to carry out thorough investigations into these allegations. The Committee will need your support in order to succeed in its work”,
the head of the delegation told the Wali.
Noting that time was of the essence, Brig. Gen. Onyango explained that the AU has taken this matter very seriously and that the Committee that has been instituted is international in character with members drawn from the UN, the EU and UNFEM, among others, adding that the AU is determined to find out the truth of this matter and take appropriate action. He pointed out that there will be smaller Committees that will focus on specific aspects of the investigations to assist the main Committee.
On his part, the Wali assured his eminent guests that he would do everything in his power to support the efforts being exerted by the AU in a bid to expeditiously bring to book those responsible for the heinous acts in the Graida locality, adding that he has always commended the positive role that the AU through its Mission
has continued to play in favor of Internally Displaced Persons in South Darfur. In particular, he recalled that recently AMIS assisted school children by providing them escort to their examinations and back home.
The Darfurian leader informed the Sub-Committee members that his government was committed to supporting the Committee and would facilitate access for it to talk freely to any witnesses in the course of its investigations.
In a related development, the Brigadier-General and his team flew to the town of Graida, some 110 kilometres south of Nyala, where AMIS has a Military Observer Group Site. It is to be recalled that
all the allegations of sexual misconduct against the AU Forces were made.
At Graida, the Sub-Committee had consultations with all the stakeholders in the matter, including Representatives of the Sudan Liberation Army/Movement, the Justice and Equality Movement and AMIS personnel. The Sub-Committee also inspected facilities at the Site with a view to identifying a suitable venue to use for the sittings of the main Committee when it arrives in early May.
22 April, 2006, Nyala, Darfur
Justin Thundu, Senior Public Affairs and Information Officer
Tel: + 2499 1122 2020
Email: [email protected]