October 23, 2007
Washington, D.C. -- The House Foreign Affairs Committee today approved a resolution sponsored by Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) condemning the September 29th attacks on the African Union peacekeepers located in the Darfur region of Sudan. With 32 additional co-sponsors, the bipartisan resolution, H. Res. 740, was reported favorably out of committee.
“The attacks on the innocent peacekeepers in Haskanita demonstrate that the situation in Darfur is even more precarious than previously thought,” said Congressman Chabot, who in August traveled to Darfur to witness firsthand the crisis playing out in the region. “Passage of this resolution will send the message that the United States will not tolerate such violent attacks and brazen defiance of the international community; is prepared to support any and all efforts to hold those responsible for such attacks accountable, and that Congress is committed to working to find a solution to end this human tragedy.”
On September 29, 2007, an estimated 1,000 members of a heavily-armed Darfur rebel group overran a small peacekeeping base in Haskanita, Darfur, occupied by the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS). Ten peacekeepers were brutally killed, seven were wounded and another 50 are missing. The African Union commander described the assault as “deliberate and sustained,” noting the rebel group broke into the AMIS base in 30 vehicles with heavy artillery and mortars. The African Union peacekeepers battled for hours until they ran out of ammunition. In the aftermath of the attacks, Haskanita was burned to the ground by the rebel forces driving more than 15,000 civilians from the area.
The resolution introduced by Chabot and Jackson-Lee strongly condemns these attacks and extends condolences to the families and friends of those individuals who were killed, injured or went missing in the attacks. In addition, it expresses support for efforts to bring to justice those individuals responsible for the attacks and efforts to detect, pursue, disrupt, and dismantle the networks that plan and carry out such attacks.
H. Res. 740 also voices support for the people of Darfur in their continued struggle against terror and violence and support for their efforts to secure a permanent peace that will allow families to return to their restored villages and homes. Finally, the resolution encourages all parties involved in the Sudan conflict to commit to negotiate a final and binding peace agreement at the peace talks scheduled for October 27, 2007, in Tripoli, Libya.
Congressman Chabot and Congresswoman Jackson-Lee, along with Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE), traveled to Darfur in late August to investigate the Darfur refugee camps and assess the ongoing humanitarian crisis. They met with a number of officials to encourage area governments to work toward resolving the conflict in Sudan and bring peace and stability to the region.