US tells Sudan: disarm Darfur militias
AFP via Yahoo! News Fri, 03 Jun 2005 12:42 PM PDT
US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick issued a stern warning to Sudan to disarm the Arab militias accused of human rights abuses in Darfur, as he visited the shattered Sudanese region.
"We are certainly sending a very strong message to the government of Sudan that we want them to stop the militias. They have a responsibility ... and we also want them to move to disarm the militias," he told reporters in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state.
"The key is to get the police forces operating within the camps and so that is being expanded and we talked about 30 additional posts in the camps," he said.
Zoellick visited Kutum town in north Darfur state and walked through Kassab refugee camp, which houses about 20,000 people who fled their homes. Hundreds of children chanting "Welcome, welcome" crowded around him.
He met tribal leaders who told him they wanted more police and AU forces to protect their people.
"We will only go home when we are accompanied by international or American troops," tribal leader Adam Ahmed Ajain said.
Zoellick assured them that more AU forces would be coming.
Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross said it decided to boost efforts to bring much-needed food to residents in remote areas in Darfur where "food supplies continue to run critically low."