(RTTNews) – The government in Chad on Monday expelled senior British aid official Mukesh Kapila for attempting to visit a refugee camp housing thousands who fled the violent conflict in the Darfur region of neighboring Sudan.
Kapalia had arrived in Sudan last week. His expulsion was personally ordered by Chad’s Interior Minister Abderaman Moussa after the British aid official requested for permission to visit a camp holding refugees from Darfur in the north of the country.
The British aid official has since said that he believed his expulsion was prompted by close ties between the governments of Chad and Sudan. He had earlier accused the Sudanese government in Khartoum of carrying out genocide in Darfur.
Kapila was the chief of the UN mission in Sudan when the Darfur conflict erupted some nine years ago. Kapila was removed from the UN post in 2004 after he went public about the atrocities being committed in Darfur.
In an interview with the BBC ahead of his removal from the UN post, Kapila had compared the atrocities being committed by Sudanese security forces as well as allied militia groups in Darfur to the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
Kapila went public about the worsening situation in Darfur in frustration over his failure despite repeated attempts to convince the international community to take action against the atrocities that were being committed in Darfur.
The latest development follows a recent dramatic improvement in Chad-Sudan ties. Although the two countries had accused each other in the past of supporting rebels groups operating in their respective territories, their relations improved after leaders of the two nations agreed at a meeting in January 2010 to end support for the rebels.
The UN estimates that about 300,000 people have been killed and over 2.7 million displaced in the Darfur region after ethnic Africans took up arms against the Arab-dominated Muslim government in Khartoum in 2003 to fight against discrimination.
The International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, has issued two warrants since 2009 against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir over atrocities committed by his forces and their allied militia groups in Darfur.
The ICC had issued its first arrest warrant against Bashir in March 2009 for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, marking the first such action against a sitting head of state.
The UN-backed court later issued another warrant for Bashir in July 2010, accusing the Sudanese president of mobilizing his entire government machinery to destroy a substantial part of three Darfur ethnic groups–Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa–during the campaign. Bashir has, however, rejected the charges.
Also, the African Union has so far refused to cooperate with the ICC in arresting and extraditing al-Bashir, saying that the ICC’s move would disrupt the ongoing UN peace efforts in the troubled Darfur region. The Sundanese president has since defied the ICC warrants by traveling to several African countries as well as China.