Can UN stop the killing?
"THEY attacked without warning at dawn," Ismail Abdallah Cherif said in a matter-of-fact way.
"There were many of them. They came on horses and camels. Without asking any questions they just opened fire. Some people were in their beds, others were making tea. The Janjaweed made no distinction. Children, women, grandmothers - everyone was targeted. Only those who hid were saved," he said.
Despite international praise being heaped on the UN and the Sudanese government yesterday for hammering out a deal to bolster a limited 7,000-strong African Union (AU) peacekeeping force in Darfur with UN personnel and resources, the killing quite evidently still continues - now with the prospect of broadening out into a regional war.
Many believe UN intervention is the only way to halt the killing in Sudan's troubled western region, where over 200,000 people have died in three and a half years of conflict.
But the Sudanese government was still wrangling over what the deal actually meant last night, raising objections both to the size of a peacekeeping force and any UN sharing of command with African troops. A final document issued after the meeting, chaired by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, said Sudan had, for the first time, accepted the principle of a "hybrid" UN-African Union peacekeeping force.
Mr Annan's remarks on the command and control structure were challenged by the Sudanese foreign minister Lam Akol: "We have not agreed to this. We agreed to accept the UN support to the African Union troops."
A UN human rights report says 22 people were killed in Khabesh, one of many villages attacked on 29 October.
The government says the Janjaweed are bandits and denies any links to them.
Since 2003 two million people have fled their homes for aid camps where they have to rely on charity for food, water and medicine.
"They raped our daughters and stole our cattle. I lost ... my brother, two children and a nephew and niece," said Alima, 30.
Crying, she told her story.
"They were killed in machine gun fire. They shot us in our houses, in our fields. If you ran away they chased you and killed you there," she said.
"Many women had their babies taken from them - the Janjaweed would lift the clothing up to see if it was a boy or a girl. The boys would be killed, but the girls were left alone," said Mahamat Adam Bicharahe.
Abakar Barbika Abakar, 25, lost his mother in the attack. He says Sudanese soldiers joined in the assault.
"The Janjaweed arrived first, but afterwards the military came in and supported them," he said.
"Basically our village doesn't exist anymore," he added.
Colonel Garba Ahmed, sector commander of the AU force based in El Geneina, said the agreement would provide much-needed relief.
However, he said improved resources could only go so far when his troops were limited by a weak mandate and the warring parties refused to sign up to peace. "The best case is more troops, more equipment and an enhanced mandate to help us do our job," he said.
Exactly what Khartoum is seemingly trying to prevent.
DARFUR CONFLICT SPREADS TO NEARBY NATIONS
THE PROSPECT of the Darfur conflict spreading into a wider regional war loomed closer last night, as Chad said it would send troops to its southern neighbour the Central African Republic to help it fight off an invasion of Sudanese-backed rebels, the government said.
Prime Minister Pascal Yoadimnadji, in a speech to parliament, also called for the "mobilisation" of Chad's people against what he called "a generalised war imposed by the Sudanese government".
Mr Yoadimnadji said "mercenaries in the pay of Sudan" had occupied several towns in northeast Central African Republic and were advancing west and south.
He added that Chad's government proposed sending troops - whose number he did not specify - to help its southern neighbour under a regional defence pact.
Mr Yoadimnadji said Chad had also suffered repeated incursions by "Sudanese soldiers" over its eastern border.
Sudan's government has repeatedly denied that it is backing rebels in Chad and the Central African Republic.
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