Rains are making it a bit hard to communicate at the moment. The Thuraya satellite phones only work when they are actually pointing up at the satellite, which means you have to be outside. And being outside and pointing the things up at the sky when it's pouring down on you is simply not very pleasant for either me or my phone.
While posting these little rants to my blog may not exactly be a communications priority, reporting security incidents certainly is. And there have been a lot this month in North Darfur where I am working at the moment: it's rare that a day or a situation report passes by without at least one mention of attacks and robberies, be they on locals or aid workers.
After musing yesterday about how even the government must eventually realise that improved security might actually make some sense, I realise that some of the most unlikely sources are suddenly beginning to agree with me on this.
Today an African Union soldier who patrols around a checkpoint near Kebkabiya tells me that he had an interesting experience a few weeks ago - a group of Arab militia were passing through and suddenly stopped to complain to the AU about increased robberies and banditry in that area (no mention of the politically and ethnically motivated attacks, rapes and murders, but hey, what can you expect from militia?)
Yep, that's militia, complaining about too much violence. And the fact that someone should really do something about it.
It gets even better: only a few hours later, who should pass by the same checkpoint but a group of rebels (SLA). Making exactly the same comment about how the AU should really sort out all this banditry - it's simply getting unacceptable, all this violence.
I couldn't agree more. Shame that my definition of violence still seems to be a bit wider than theirs.
Tags: Sudan, Darfur, aid worker, rain, Thuraya, satellite, security, African Union, Kebkabiya, militia, SLA