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|November 25, 2009|
Excellent article by by Andrew HeavensThere was a time when visits to Darfur were uncertain affairs, fraught with danger. These days, as long as you travel with the right people and stick strictly to the right route, they can be as comfortable as a coach trip. Darfur has got used to hosting visitors in the six years since it became one of the world's best known conflict zones. North Darfur's governor Osman Kebir told Tuesday's trip he had welcomed about 800 delegations since July 2006, which would make about one a day. One official was overheard referring to El Fasher's "red carpet camps" where residents turn out to welcome party after party. Critics question the use of these Darfur day-trips, especially around El Fasher, which is a world away from the region's remaining badlands. It might have been interesting to find out what the residents of Abu Shouk themselves thought about the quick consultation. But this journalist and a colleague were quickly brought back into line when we tried to sneak out of the police compound and walk to the edge of the actual camp.
"You can't go there, what are you doing?" asked one of the officials with the AU group. "You might speak to the wrong people.¦ And why are you making things more complicated for us than they already are?"
Link to the complete article