And Darfur descends further into lawlessness...my inbox is full of emails today about the latest instalment of the grim West Darfur soap opera that has been playing out over the past few weeks.
Official reports (including a recent USAID fact sheet) now confirm that a group of men responsible for many of banditry incidents against NGOs over the past weeks are beginning to force the local police into submission: following a shoot-out between the authorities and the bandits on September 19th (in which a few of the bandits were killed), it appears the buddies of the surviving ones - about 100 men - decided to march up to the police station in Geneina town and demand the release of some of their associates who were arrested as suspects.
After terrorising some of the traders in the market (a friend tells me they were forcing everyone to close their stalls and 'respect two days of mourning' for the dead criminals!), the men apparently frightened the local police chief into giving up the suspects.
So off they go to rob and shoot some more people, while the police are refusing to show their face in town and the new governor of West Darfur is off in Khartoum enjoying himself and celebrating his recent appointment to the post.
It's no wonder that even the UN's unfailingly optimistic Jan Pronk is beginning to notice that things in Darfur are, well, still falling apart.