Darfur mediators face protests
01 December 2010, 23:58
Zalengei - Hundreds of angry students threw stones at Darfur mediators, including the Qatari foreign minister, on Wednesday during a tour of the turbulent region that has been marred by violence and demonstrations.
Wednesday's violence was the second time in two days that the team, negotiating peace between Darfur's rebels and the government, had to flee angry Darfuris, frustrated by the absence of a peace deal after years of conflict.
The United Nations estimates 300 000 people have died in a humanitarian crisis in Darfur caused by a government counter-insurgency campaign that Washington has branded genocide. Khartoum puts the death toll at 10 000.
Round after round of peace talks have been dogged by military clashes and divisions among the rebels. The two main insurgent groups are not participating in the latest negotiations hosted by Qatar.
Zalengei, in west Darfur, is a stronghold of rebel leader Abdel Wahed Mohamed el-Nur.
More than two million Darfuris have fled their homes and are forced to live in makeshift camps.
The International Criminal Court has indicted President Omar al-Bashir for war crimes and genocide in Darfur.
Meanwhile Bashir missed Central African Republic's independence celebration on Wednesday after what a local official said was diplomatic pressure.
Bashir, whose indictment by the ICC has restricted his movements to friendly nations, also failed to show up for a European Union-Africa summit in Libya earlier this week.
The ICC had urged Central African Republic to comply with an international obligation to arrest Bashir if he turned up.
Bashir's absence from two regional events in the space of less than a week is an indication of the concerted diplomatic pressure on even nearby countries to shun him.