- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 4, 2004

KHARTOUM, Sudan (AP) — More than 100,000 people staged a state-organized protest yesterday against a U.N. Security Council resolution giving Sudan 30 days to stop Arab militia violence in the western region of Darfur or face economic and diplomatic penalties.

Protesters also warned that Sudan could become a battlefield like Afghanistan or Iraq if foreign military forces enter this African country to try to end the 17-month-old Darfur conflict, which has killed 30,000 people, displaced a million and left an estimated 2.2 million in urgent need of food, medicine and other basic supplies.

“Targeting Sudan means you will fall into a third swamp, after Afghanistan and Iraq,” said a senior member of the ruling party, Mohammed Ali Abdullah, in comments directed at President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

“There are lions here in Sudan who would like to confront the Americans.”

Although no Western government has threatened to invade Sudan, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan has mentioned the possibility of such intervention since it became clear that the Khartoum government was failing to curb the violence in Darfur. France has deployed a small force along Chad’s border with Darfur to stop Arab militiamen from crossing over.

In Ethiopia yesterday, the African Union said it would send a peacekeeping mission of 1,600 to 1,800 troops to Darfur to speed up humanitarian aid and counter the repeated violations of an April 8 cease-fire deal between the Sudanese government and two rebel groups.

In New York, Mr. Annan said he was sending a team led by the U.N. military adviser to Ethiopia yesterday to work with the African Union on restructuring the force and its needs.

On Friday, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution giving Sudan 30 days to disarm the pro-government Arab militia blamed for the violence in Darfur or face penalties.

Mr. Annan has said he expects Sudan to cooperate with the resolution, but warned of consequences if Khartoum does not.

On July 29, Mr. Annan accused Sudanese “government security personnel” of threatening displaced people and expressed grave concern about “reports of continuing intimidation, threats and attacks against refugees.”

The protesters yesterday, many chanting “No to America and its followers,” delivered a memorandum to the U.N. envoy’s office in Khartoum demanding that Mr. Annan retract his “misleading” remarks about the Darfur situation or resign.

The United Nations and international aid organizations accuse the pro-government Arab militia, known as the Janjaweed, of waging a brutal campaign to drive black Africans out of Darfur.

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