Leading article: An accelerating descent into lawlessness


There is a weary inevitability about reports that the Sudanese government's Janjaweed militia has crossed the border into eastern Chad to attack refugees who had fled there from the fighting in Darfur. The detail is grimly familiar too: homes burned, an imam killed, a woman set alight, a man disembowelled. Armed groups from both Chad and Darfur regularly cross the border at will. Large numbers of people are on the move.

Darfur, where already 200,000 people have died and 2 million have been made homeless, is now seeing an influx of displaced people. Some 1,000 refugees have just arrived in Um Dukhun in West Darfur, fleeing increasing violence in Chad and in the Central African Republic. It is a strategy of desperation, for in Darfur the rebel groups have splintered and are fighting one another as well as the Sudanese army. There is no front line, only a cauldron of escalating violence and banditry with all parties persistently violating ceasefire provisions. More guns than ever are to be found in the refugee camps.

The region where the borders of Sudan, Chad and the Central African Republic meet is dissolving into sporadic and bloody anarchy. Governments trade accusations that each is supporting the other's rebels. In the face of all that, more than 100 aid workers have left Darfur in the latest evacuation of relief workers from the lawless region.

What is to be done? The French have tried to intervene with attacks by Mirage F1 jets on anti-government rebels in the north-east of the Central African Republic. The aim, Paris says, is to stabilise a region which is in danger of "Somalisation". But reports from the ground say the operation has had a devastating impact on civilians.

Khartoum is callously disregarding the situation. Sudan persists in its opposition to the United Nations' plan to send 20,000 peacekeepers to Darfur. It insists that the most it will tolerate is a slight strengthening of the weak African Union force whose 7,000 ill-equipped soldiers have proved ineffectual in the province.

The international community must do two things. First it must continue to pour humanitarian aid into Darfur where the need is dire. The EU this week announced a further €17m in aid. That is good, though it will not stop the Sudanese authorities and rebel movements deliberately targeting relief operations. More is needed. The time has come for the 20,000 UN peacekeepers to be deployed - in eastern Chad. Their presence there will bring some stability to the area. And it will send a warning that the world is ready, on Sudan's doorstep, to cross the border if Khartoum allows the situation to deteriorate further.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Renewals Sales Executive

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A PHP Developer with knowledge ...

SThree: Associate Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree are seeking Associate Recruitm...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Software Engineer - PHP

£33000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Polish minister Rafal Trazaskowski (second from right)  

Poland is open to dialogue but EU benefits restrictions are illegal and unfair

Rafal Trzaskowski
The report will embarrass the Home Secretary, Theresa May  

Surprise, surprise: tens of thousands of illegal immigrants have 'dropped off' the Home Office’s radar

Nigel Farage
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas