By Bill Varner
Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Weapons from Muammar Qaddafi’s regime
in Libya have been smuggled into Sudan
by the leading rebel
group in the western Darfur region, increasing the risk of
renewed conflict there.
“We are very much concerned about it,” Daffa-Alla Elhag
Ali Osman, Sudan’s ambassador to the United Nations
, said today.
The rebel Justice and Equality Movement brought as many as 100
truckloads of weapons across the border within the past two
weeks, he said. The move followed the return to Sudan of JEM
leader Ibrahim Khalil, a Qaddafi ally, from Libya.
The U.K.’s ambassador, Mark Lyall Grant, said after a
meeting of the UN Security Council
that his government is
concerned about reports it received of Libyan weapons entering
Sudan. Herve Ladsous, head of UN peacekeeping, said Qaddafi
moved arms from military depots to factories and other sites
with “little or no security” as the conflict in Libya
The UN has reported progress toward ending the eight-year-
old conflict in Darfur. The number of armed attacks has declined
70 percent in the past three years, Ibrahim Gambari
, head of the
joint UN and African peacekeeping mission in Darfur, said on
Insurgents in Darfur took up arms in 2003, accusing
President Umar al-Bashir
’s government of neglecting the region.
The conflict has led to the deaths of as many as 300,000 people,
mainly due to illness and starvation, and forced about 2.7
million to flee their homes, according to UN estimates. The
Sudanese government has put the death toll at about 10,000.
JEM boycotted the signing of a Qatar-brokered peace
agreement between al-Bashir’s government and the Liberation and
Justice Movement, a smaller rebel faction. Sudanese government
forces clashed with members of JEM on Sept. 20 near the border
with Libya and Chad, state-run SUNA news agency reported.
The Security Council focused today on efforts to ease
tensions along the border of Sudan and the new Republic of South
Sudan, particularly in the disputed Abyei
The council is considering deployment of UN troops along
the Sudan-South Sudan border, adding that task to the
peacekeeping mission established in Abyei in June.
Concerns were also raised about the refusal of Sudan’s
government to honor the Sept. 8 agreement of both countries to
withdraw their troops from Abyei by Sept. 30. South Sudan’s
Ambassador David Choat said all of his government’s forces had
pulled out, while Sudan’s Osman said Khartoum wouldn’t withdraw
its troops until the UN peacekeeping mission was fully deployed.
Choat asked the Security Council to set a new deadline for
Ladsous said only 1,870 of the 4,200 Ethiopian troops that
will comprise the UN mission have arrived in Abyei. Lyall Grant
said the Sept. 8 agreement wasn’t contingent on their
Ladsous said it was important to stabilize the region
before the annual migration next month of Misseriya nomads.
Their cattle drive south was blocked last year.
“This year’s migration will be more sensitive and a test
of the relationship between the two countries,” Ladsous said.
“It could become a potential source of serious tensions in the
Aybei area if armed forces remain in place.”
Abyei is contested between the region’s Ngok Dinka people,
who are settled in the area and consider themselves southerners,
and the Misseriya nomads who are supported by the government in
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--Editors: Steven Komarow, Laurie Asseo
To contact the reporter on this story:
Bill Varner at the United Nations at +1-212-963-7617 or
To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Mark Silva in Washington at +1-202-654-4315 or