Darfuris flee on eve of Bashir case
More than 50,000 people have fled government and rebel attacks in Darfur in recent weeks. The International Criminal Court could issue an arrest warrant for President Bashir on Wednesday.
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They face a constant battle against the dust that swirls through the air and the uncertainty of life in the camps. Many of the alleys become no-go areas at night. Gunshots and robberies are a daily hazard.Skip to next paragraph
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Suleiman arrived on Friday, a reminder that all the world's efforts to resolve Darfur's multilayered conflict have made little difference to more than 2 million people forced into camps for their own protection.
Once again aid agencies are faced with a fresh emergency.
Toby Lanzer, the UN's deputy humanitarian coordinator in northern Sudan, says the UN is now desperately trying to reach all the people displaced from Muhajiriya and surrounding towns.
"It's a bad time to be on the move because the land is bone dry," Mr. Lanzer says. "It's very difficult to reach people in rural areas, and we know there are places where there are thousands of people in dire straits."
On Wednesday, judges at the International Criminal Court at The Hague will announce whether President Bashir will face charges for his government's actions in Darfur. The court's chief prosecutor has presented them with evidence of war crimes, murder, and – most contentious of all – genocide.
They are expected to issue a warrant for Bashir's arrest, their first for a sitting head of state.
All eyes are now on how Khartoum reacts. Officials and government-controlled newspapers have gradually stepped up their rhetoric in recent days, preparing the ground for pro-Bashir rallies planned for immediately after the ICC judges announce their decision.
Bashir himself spoke at a mass gathering during the weekend.
Most diplomats and observers in Khartoum say the Sudanese government will avoid a knee-jerk response and take its time responding. But no one knows for sure.
Aid workers in Sudan fear a backlash that could prevent them from reaching people in need.
"We are the ones on the ground, and while we will try to keep operating as normal, it is very difficult with all of this hanging over us, knowing that the government could easily expel some of us just to make a point that it is still in control," said an aid worker, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Abdallah Adam Khatir, an independent analyst in Khartoum, said the government was preparing to maintain the illusion of business as usual.
"We have heard propaganda from officials and the president himself," he says, "but they are all trying to play down the ICC and make it seem as if it is irrelevant."