Tribal fighting between the rival tribes Fallata and Habaniya in Darfur ended up killing 75 people to estimates of 150 people, including several policemen, and displacing hundreds. In a separate incident in West Darfur, a leader of a camp of displaced Darfuris was shot dead by unidentified gunmen.
Violence also broke out again in the oil-rich town of Abyei, which lies on the border between North and South Sudan and was the site of similar violent confrontations last May. The northern Government of Sudan built up its troops around the border town after it claims it heard rumors of the Darfur rebel group JEM‘s intention to attack the town. The Government of South Sudan called for an end to the build-up of forces, but the inevitable clashes killed at least one and forced thousands to flee before the North withdrew its troops today, allowing some of the displaced to return.
On Human Rights Day, President Bush met with Dr. Halima Bashir , a survivor of the Darfur genocide and an author of a book on the subject. He expressed his frustration with UN efforts in Darfur and his hope that President-Elect Obama will continue to make Darfur a priority for the United States
There has been much discussion around Obama and Darfur recently after the Genocide Prevention Task Force, composed of many prominent individuals such as Madeleine Albright, released an 170+ page report with recommendations on the prevention of genocide and mass atrocity. Obama’s team reportedly welcomed the report. The New York Times released a great piece about the state of Darfur today.
Campaigners have called on UN leader Ban Ki-Moon to reverse his decision not to visit Burma, saying that a top level visit is essential if the country’s military regime is to consider the release of political prisoners and halt the crackdown on dissidents.
Peace talks between the CNDP and the Congolese government began in Nairobi. After initial reports that the talks were making progress despite the non-involvement of Joseph Kabila and Laurant Nkunda, after three days of stalling, it appears as if the talks have collapsed over lack of progress that the chief mediator attributed largely to the rebels.
European Union officials remain divided on whether or not to send in an EU peacekeeping force to support the struggling UN peacekeeping force. Nicholas Sarkozy declined to send French forces to the country due to the conflict’s close proximity to Rwanda. France’s foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner explained that tense relations with Rwanda remain problematic and could pose a threat to its troops.