Total Pageviews

Friday, December 22, 2006

All of the Best to Everybody

I want to wish all Christians a merry Christmas and a happy new year and unto all Muslims a fulfilling Eid Kebyer. I want to direct my best wishes especially to the people of Darfur, who are going through one of the worst periods in their history with almost no support from the world. With every passing day your plight becomes more apparent and people cannot ignore it forever.
To my family and friends, I love you all and am looking forward to coming home. Thank you for the post and parcels you have sent me. Unfortunately the aircraft was delayed and will only arrive tomorrow so I will not be able to collect my Christmas parcels before I leave for Khartoum and then Cairo, which happens to be tomorrow as well.
The next update for my blog should be around the sixth or seventh day of January. I am looking forward to 2007.

All e-mails with seasons greetings will be highly appreciated. My e-mail address is wklokow@yahoo.com

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Silence



At the moment all is still quiet here in El Fashier. I wouldn't call it the silence before the storm since I do not know what will happen next, but I am sure something significant will happen. In the mean time I have decided to rather go to Cairo to stay with my friend Sherif for this period rather than stay here on my own.

Let's just be Friends



This photo was taken a while back in one of the AMIS bases in Darfur.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Barbed Sunset
















Taken from the top of the wall around our house earlier tonight.

Brian in Transit
















My friend, Brian, is currently visiting on his journey to South Africa where he will be for Christmas and New Year. He is based at Mellit in sector 6. I caught him acting like a tourist earlier today.

Enjoy your time at home, bud.

Water for Life
















These two gentlemen are Sudanese nationals who work for PAE. Every Tuesday they refill our water tank. This water is just for washing; for drinkwater we have to make turns to go to the drink water point at the AMIS HQ.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Nightime Observation
















Tonight an AMIS vehicle was hijacked close to our house and the night has seen a moderate volume of gunfire. It has prompted us to rehearse our emergency plan and we are constantly observing. All fire has come from the East, South-East and North East. Unconfirmed reports has it that Al Junaynah, 304km to the West, is under threat of attack. An AMIS helicopter crew who were taken hostage yesterday were also released earlier this afternoon. Things are definately escalating ... the question is, when and where will it peak and how bad will it be.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Save Darfur - Watch this Movie
















A couple of American school kids have taken the inisiative to make an informative video for their school. If you do not know what is happening in Darfur, watch this: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/310700/darfur_africa/

Thursday, December 07, 2006

All Calm on the Western Front?
















This picture was taken from the AMIS HQ towards El Fashier market. As you can see there is no smoke to indicate tremendous unrest, but yesterday ten AMIS vehicles were damaged by stone-throwing people in town. The man who had two shops outside Zamzam base unfortunately lost both those buildings as they were burned down yesterday. That is very unfortunate for him and I feel sorry that it had to happen to him. He is already an old man and one of the friendliest people in this country, who we respectfully called "Ore" (Ears). I will post photos of his unfortunate loss as soon as I can get there to take them.

Christmas Joy?
















With Christmas approaching I would appreciate anybody sending me and the other guys some things to make it a more enjoyable time of the year. Even just a Christmas card will give some colour to our house. On Christmas day my well wishes will appear on my site. Take care and good luck. Werner Klokow.

Gambian Hello
















I do not know this man, but he asked me if we could have our picture taken together. He is part of the new Gambian contingent. All the best to his family. It cannot be easy having your husband or loved ones go to a dangerous country just before Christmas.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Answers to Questions

These are my responses to the questions posed at the end of a post at Sudan Watch. The original post is at http://sudanwatch.blogspot.com/2006/12/photos-blogged-by-african-peacekeeper.html

Question: Has the food (especially from Khartoum) for AMIS personnel improved?

Answer: I do not know, since I prepare my own food due to the fact that the food was so unbearably inadequate in both quality and quantity.

Question: Are AMIS personnel now paid correctly and on time?

Answer: No.

Question: Has night time curfew on patrols been lifted?

Answer: Yes, but currently it may be in place again. Poor communication is an unfortunate reality here.

Question: Is AMIS still doing firewood patrols?

Answer: In some areas, yes.

Question: How can you tell if the Sudanese forces and civilians you meet are Arab or non-Arab?

Answer: It is difficult, but usually our interpreters and party representatives tell us.

Question: How can you understand what they are saying?

Answer: We have interpreters and some AMIS personnel come from Arab countries, ie. Egypt and Mauritania.

Question: Are they friendly when they greet you?

Answer: Usually they are very friendly.

Question: How can you tell who is a rebel and who is a civilian?

Answer: The rebels carry firearms.

Question: How can you tell who is a bandit and who is a janjaweed?

Answer: I wish I knew. The one is politically motivated and the other is not.

Question: How can you tell who is a janjaweed and who is a government soldier?

Answer: Usually the GoS wear distinctive green camouflage uniforms and the Janjaweed do not. Otherwise I would not be able to tell the difference.

Question: Have you seen a lot of dead bodies and graves in Darfur?

Answer: I have seen mostly photos taken by friends of mine as well as those taken by AMIS.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

UN NGO's Leave El Fashier
















This is Ehab Nazih from Egypt. He arrived at our house two days ago and was going to stay with us in the house. He works for the UN and today he was told that the UN international staff in El Fashier are withdrawing from the town until the situation stabilises. Half an hour after I took this photo today he was at the airport ready to leave for Khartoum. Does the UN know something we do not? If so please let me know. My e-mail is wklokow@yahoo.com

Ops Room Discussion
















On Monday at about 17:00 five unarmed SLA soldiers apparently intervened when Arab Militia harrassed a man in the El Fashier market. All five the soldiers were wounded. Later there was sporadic gunfire on the outskirts of El Fashier, most notably close to Zamzam base as the GoS fought what is believed to be Arab Militia. The GoS adopted a state of higher readiness and we went to the HQ (photo) to speak to the ops officer on duty with regards to the situation. He gave us a briefing and we were also informed that the UN has warned that the NRF planned or threatened to attack El Fashier within 24 hours. That has however not taken place within that time frame. Those of us in the South African house are keeping our ears on the ground.

Friday, December 01, 2006

They Speak


Soldiers on Parade
















I took this photo of the guard of honour at yesterday's medal parade in honour of the outgoing members of AMIS.

Pinning the Medals
















The Deputy Head of Mission (non-military) pinned the medals to the chests of the men on parade. I would have preferred if this task was performed by a soldier, but I accept that this is the way that AMIS wants this done. Fortunately I have my own viewpoints (thanks, Mom) and I definately do not agree.

Lowering the Colours
















The colours were lowered into the sand. I do not agree with this since as I understand it the colours should never touch the ground. In the old days of war men would run close to the man carrying the colours so as to grab it before it hits the ground should he get shot. It was a point of honour and practical since the commander in charge of the battle knew where his units were on the battlefield by looking for their colours. One cannot see colours lying on the ground.

Colour Party
















At yesterday's medal parade in honour of the outgoing protection force and MILOBS this was the colour party. Traditionally the unit colours are carried by the youngest officer in the unit. He is called the ensign. With him are the guards who protect the colours.

Guard of Honour
















This was the guard of honour at yesterday's medal parade. They are Gambian.

Generator
















Maj Page, God bless his soul, has organised a generator for our house so now we do not have problems with the daily power outtages.

El Fashier Butcher
















This is the local friendly butcher in El Fashier. Compared to what I am used to in South Africa this is not hygienic, but it is better than those who sell meat on tables in the sun on the streets. We usually buy minced meat here.

Our Duty Roster
















This is the duty roster we have in our house.