Khartoum's Cardinal Criticizes Sudan Over Militias

ROME, NOV. 15, 2004 ( Khartoum’s archbishop criticized the indifference of the Sudanese government in the face of the «janjaweed» Arab militias that have wreaked havoc in the western region of Darfur.

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«I don’t think there is a will of the Sudanese government to intervene to stop the janjaweed militias; otherwise they would have allowed the United Nations and the African Union to act with greater speed in Darfur,» lamented Cardinal Gabriel Zubeir Wako.

The cardinal made his statements during a press conference held on the occasion of the meeting of the Council of Bishops’ Conference of Europe and the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar. The groups met here last week.

Observers have been describing as genocide the actions perpetrated by the pro-government janjaweed militias.

«There are two guerrilla movements in Darfur that have taken up arms to attract the central government’s attention for the region’s development,» Cardinal Zubeir Wako said.

«The janjaweed, armed by the government, do not fight the guerrillas, but attack the civilian population. If this is not genocide, it is, in any case, the indiscriminate killing of civilians,» he said.

Fighting since February 2003 has left an estimated 70,000 dead and 2 million displaced.

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