Monday, October 31, 2005

With the Darfur peace talks in recess, the SLA rebels are currently holding an internal leadership conference. Everyone is kind of hoping that the rebel leaders can finally reconcile their oversized egos in this kind of forum - but in the meantime, Darfur remains an angry, explosive mess.

The rumour mill in Nyala this morning is heavy with new arrests in Kalma camp, and everyone is bracing themselves for more unrest after last weekend's riots and hostage taking incidents.

Attacks on buses, trucks and aid convoys (particularly those trying to deliver food to the camps) are not getting any less violent - every day, there are new reports of drivers getting shot and public transport being looted. Brutal new attacks of villages like Tama (South Darfur) are confirming that the militia are still just as active as the looters and the splintered rebel factions behind the (euphemistically termed) 'banditry' incidents.

Reuters reports today that mediators have now arrived to help the SLA leaders iron out their differences. I suppose it's a start. People here are excited about the conference, and hopeful about the results it might produce. I try to share their optimism, but still, I worry that the longer the focus remains on the power struggle between a handful of falsely proud men, the longer it's going to take them to start thinking about the needs of those they claim to represent.


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