In Darfur: A Travel Diary (Day 10)

In Darfur: A Travel Diary (Day 10)

Editor's Note: In March, Kurt Pelda, Africa Bureau Chief of the Swiss daily the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), traveled to eastern Chad on the border with the Sudanese crisis region of Darfur: a trip that was documented in a diary published in English on World Politics Review and that would see him eventually turning back from the border due to inadequate security conditions. In late October, Pelda returned to the region and crossed the border into Darfur, where he accompanied a Darfur rebel group. The diary of his trip was published on the NZZ Online in German, and World Politics Review here presents it in English.

Of Four-by-Fours, Peacekeeping Forces and War Crimes
Comrade Mahmat Mahmud's Story

In the middle of the night, we are awakened by a couple of bursts of machine gun fire. These are followed by some yelling and then everything is quiet again. It does not sound like a battle, so we turn over and go back to sleep. In the morning, we find out that a vehicle did not stop soon enough when approaching a roadblock and one of the rebels fired off some warning shots.

In the meantime, two high-ranking commanders of the rebel movement have arrived in the ghost town in two vehicles worthy of the name. Mounts for machine guns have been welded on the back of the two trucks; so, it has not been necessary to break out the windshields to have a clear range of fire. These are real, solid pickups with proper windshields and spare wheels.

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