The screaming mob first stoned the fleeing man, then they stabbed him, hacked off his ears and nose, before severing his genitals and sticking them in his mouth. It was retribution Darfur-style, in this most vicious of communal conflicts.
Medibor Ahmed Mohammed, an aid worker with the charity Care, was attacked at a refugee camp after he was accused of being a member of the Janjaweed Arab militia, and of being personally involved in murderous ethnic cleansing.
For two days after the killing of Mr Mohammed and the stabbing of three of his Arab colleagues by the African crowd, which included a large number of women, the authorities shut Kalma camp to outsiders, including aid workers.
On Sunday, soldiers and police charged in and arrested 270 people. In the process, it is claimed, they indiscriminately beat up many of the refugees, sexually assaulted women and stole money and property.
The murder of Mr Mohammed has led to an upsurge in ethnic tension and anxiety about further violence. Among those being held by police are a number of local employees of Care, and a 9pm curfew has been imposed by the United Nations and the aid agencies on their staff.
At the Mussei camp, where Mr Mohammed and his family lived among other Arab refugees, there is talk of revenge attacks on Kalma. The authorities say it is almost inevitable that there will be retaliation by Arabs against Africans. Many of Mr Mohammed's compatriots are also blaming foreigners for taking him and his fellow Arabs to the waiting mob at Kalma.
Yesterday, there were patches of dried blood where Mr Mohammed was lynched and pieces of his white shirt, stained dark crimson, stuck to barbed wire fences through which he had tried to escape. But for the inhabitants of Kalma, it was the actions of the police which were the cause of most complaints. "They said they were looking for knives, but they stole a hundred thousand Sudanese pounds [about £25] from our hut," said Mohammed Adem Ahmed. "They also took our watches and a radio. I protested, and they beat me with their sticks, and then kicked me when I fell down."
They were around 3ft long, laid out in a neat row; graves of babies in a patchy field. It was difficult to see how many there were; the rain had spread the mounds of red earth and scattered the wild flowers laid on top. The babies died from lack of food, lack of medicine and infected water. It happened at a place no more than three hours' drive from Nyala, the capital of south Darfur, but deemed too dangerous for the international agencies and the United Nations to venture.
There are other children buried here, as well as some elderly people, but it is the very young who have been the most vulnerable, 22 dying in the past three weeks. That is a large number from about 500 refugees living in the open with just trees for cover from the sudden torrential rains.
There are not even the most rudimentary shelters of branches and leaves one sees among the dispossessed of Darfur. These people do not want to be seen, they are too frightened of being hunted down. Most have been burnt out of their villages by the Janjaweed Arab militia and government troops, or have abandoned them in fear of impending attacks.
Unlike other refugees they have yet to make the trek to the vast camps that have sprung up in the region because the roads are not considered safe. They have been attacked by the militia, on horses and camels. The last time they tried to make the journey three men were killed.
We chanced across this group just over a fortnight ago as they attempted to melt away into the bushes. In the short intervening period their conditions have sharply deteriorated. The adults are more gaunt and scared, the eyes of the children are large and bright in painfully thin faces. Some are no longer here, Selim, a boy of seven who was ill even then, but full of curiosity about the outside world, is one of those who has died.
Hamiba Ali Abdurrahaman lost her 19-month-old daughter Ayesha four days ago. "She could not keep anything down, she was getting thinner every day, and then she started getting sick. There was nothing we could do. At the end she even stopped crying, she just stayed silent and went away."
Allies, what allies?
Perhaps our 'allies' will unleash the International Criminal Court. That will surely stop them - as all their anti-U.S. rhetoric after our refusal to accept it implied.
Allies, what allies? You mean those brave and forthright nations of the EU or possibly the debating society called the UN. No, they can't be bothered they have much better things to do like condemning Israel for defending itself.
1 : a sovereign or state associated with another by treaty or league
Your English is certainly better than my German. (Believe it or not I once passed a language test in German in graduate school - translation only. I knew just enough to become afraid whenever I encountered a 'das' followed by a comma -- where is the verb?! )
Well, I'll have to pass an English test in October, since it would be too complicated to tranfer my military interpreter certificate 30 years later into a civilian one.
(Since it is the US TOPEFL test, I had to sign that I took notice that all my private data and my photo will be supplied to US law enforcement agencies - I need the test for my British university, and I'm going to do it in Germany.)
I am careless with my references to "Europe" and "European Powers". When the reference is bad I usually mean France and often Germany when they are aligned together.
No, they can't be bothered they have much better things to do like condemning Israel for defending itself.
Three years ago, Tony Blair appealed to the world to heal the wounds of Africa. As Jack Straw prepares to fly to Sudan, the continent is still riven by strife, war and famine
"The state of Africa is a scar on the conscience of the world. But if the world as a community focused on it, we could heal it. And if we don't, it will become deeper and angrier."
Tony Blair, 2 October 2001
IVORY COAST: REBELLION
What is going on? The country, which produces 40 per cent of the world's cocoa, is effectively split between north and south following a rebellion two years ago by Muslim northerners over national identity and land ownership.
What is Britain doing to help? Biirtain is taking a low profile with no direct aid. The African Union, is attempting to organize elections in October to end the standoff.
What is the solution? No signs of early resolution to stalemate
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: WAR
What is going on? Sporadic fighting continues despite 2002 peace agreement. Congolese Tutsi rebel soldiers occupied eastern town of Bukavu for a week in June
What is Britain doing to help? Britain backs the UN peacekeeping mission and is also pressing Uganda and Rwanda to end any involvement, which they deny
What is the solution? Conflict expected to continue
What is going on? Political crackdown continues ahead of elections next year
What is Britain doing to help? Britain hopes South Africa will intercede with President Mugabe to resolve standoff
What is the solution? Stalemate will only be removed when Mugabe leaves power - quietly, it is hoped
SUDAN: ETHNIC CLEANSING/FAMINE
What is going on? Rebellion in Darfur provoked government crackdown leaving 1.2 million homeless and 50,000 dead
What is Britain doing to help? Largest single cash donor having provided £63m in humanitarian aid. Backs African Union efforts and UN
What is the solution? No easy answer. Sanctions could prove disastrous
What is going on? Mystical Lord's Resistance army has terrorised northern Uganda for years with vicious campaign that has forced 1.5 million people from their homes
What is Britain doing to help? Britain has supported President Museveni with £740m in development aid since he came to power
What is the solution? Negotiations with Sudan-based leader Joseph Kony doomed to failure, miltary solution seems inevitable
RWANDA: ETHNIC STRIFE
What is going on? Rwanda continues to deny Congolese accusations that it has its soldiers in Congo in violation of a peace agreement. Ethnic tensions in Rwanda still strong after 1994 genocide.
What is Britain doing to help? UK is largest single donor, providing nearly £33m last year. But government rejects calls to use aid to pressure President Kagame
What is the solution? Peace in Rwanda depends on solution for Congo
BURUNDI: CIVIL WAR
What is going on? 160 Tutsis were the victims last week of low level civil war
What is Britain doing to help? Britain is stepping up aid with £8m budgeted for 2004-5. UN just set up political mission
What is the solution? Solution depends on settlement in DR Congo
There is little left in Silaya except burnt-out huts and a row of graves in the fields beyond, the only reminders of one of the worst atrocities of the savage conflict in Darfur.
On 30 July, three weeks after the United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, announced that he had reached agreement with the Sudanese President, Omar al-Bashir, on ending the violence, the village came under sustained and murderous attack from government troops and their Janjaweed allies. Under a UN resolution, Sudan has until the end of the month to meet a set of conditions aimed at alleviating what the UN calls "the worst humanitarian disaster in the world".
This week, the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, the latest international dignitary to visit the country, will tell President Bashir that his failure to disarm the Janjaweed remains the most serious unfulfilled obligation of the UN terms. However, the British government is expected to agree with Mr Annan that Khartoum has made efforts to rein in the terror unleashed on African villages and established "safe" areas, even though another 35,000 refugees, fleeing fresh attacks, are threatening to cross into neighbouring Chad. About 200,000 Sudanese are already filling camps to capacity there.
The Sudanese government, some argue, should be given more time. But the people of Silaya, in south Darfur, have a far different experience of the government. More than 100 people were killed in one raid. Most of them were shot, but 32 were tied up and burned alive. Twenty-five young women and girls were taken away; the bodies of some were found later. Also discovered were the remains of many who had fled the onslaught but were pursued and slaughtered.
Survivors say that the raiders had specific, targeted victims whom they hunted down and set alight - teachers, clerics and those who had returned after further education in the cities. In some cases, other members of the family were shot while one person was dragged off for burning.
Picking off the educated few in the rural areas is not a new practice. Influential figures in the Islamist administration and the military blame them for organising opposition to the government, and those taught in the past by foreigners are suspected of imbibing non-Muslim beliefs. Priests in African villages are particularly blamed for not using their influence to condemn the rebels.
Many of those who did manage to escape from Silaya had ended up in Muhajariya, an enclave south-east of Nyala, the capital of south Darfur, which is controlled by two rebel groups, the Sudan Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement.
They are among 50,000 refugees driven into the area after government troops and their Arab militia allies burned an arc of villages around Muhajariya. The rebels, who have sparse resources and little aid coming in from the international agencies, now have to look after these dispossessed as well as their own fighters.
Commander Abdul Majid of the SLA said: "The attacks on the civilians are part of a military campaign. This war is not just against the SLA or JEM but against the people of Darfur. They are following a scorched-earth policy. They are burning the villages and driving the people into our area because, that way, they can finish off both the fighters and the civilians."
Babikir Ali, from Silaya, described how the village was attacked. "It was in the morning," he said. "We first had two helicopters which were flying very low. They fired from the air and hit some of the huts. Then we had troops in Land Cruisers, and the Janjaweed on horses and camels. They shot a lot of people before catching some others, putting them together and setting them on fire. It was a terrible, terrible thing."
"One of them was my brother," said Bahir Hashim al-Bakr. "He was a schoolteacher. When they arrested him, he was in the classroom. There were about 12 children hiding under tables and crying. They were all shot. They were looking for the educated people, the leaders we had. They're the ones who were being burned. I've heard about this happening at many places, but it is the first time I saw such a thing with my own eyes."
Yahir Ali, 33, recalled: "They were carrying matches and they set fire to people. Some others they threw back into the burning huts. They were shooting at everything and shouting 'Zurghas' [a pejorative term for blacks] and they were laughing, 'You are slaves, die like slaves'. My aunt was killed. She was an old woman and she had fallen. This man stood over her and just shot her."
The refugees at Muhajariya were not aware of the minutiae of the UN resolution or the machinations of the big powers. Asked whether they felt the government had made the situation safe for them, Babikir Ali smiled bitterly. "We are a problem. If we go back to our village, the Janjaweed will come again and kill off the rest of us. Then there is no longer a problem. Maybe that is what the outside world wants."
On the banks of the Mura river in eastern Chad, they are having a party. Women light campfires to cook maize and tomatoes, men pass each other cigarettes and children run around asking for presents.
The rainy season in Chad has always been welcome, feeding crops and transforming a desert landscape into something lush. This year, it has produced another source of wealth. Villagers have part-time jobs as porters, carrying food, medicines, sometimes entire trucks belonging to international aid agencies across the swollen river.
"I get 500 francs (52p) every time I pull a car out of the water," said 15-year-old Mohammed Ada, standing by the river in ragged shorts and bare feet. "If they are really stuck I ask for 1,000 francs."
The Wadi Mura, a river that appears for three months each year, is a logistical nightmare for aid agencies trying to ferry supplies to refugee camps filled with people fleeing the violence in Darfur.
The waters have cut off access to two major refugee camps, Breijing and Forchana, and around the country other wadis are causing problems too. In the middle of the Wadi Mura, a truck that part-sank a few weeks ago makes crossings even more perilous.
Aid agencies have known for months that the rainy season in Darfur and eastern Chad would make it much harder to get essential foods and medicines to the 190,000 refugees in Chad and 1.2 million displaced people who have been driven from their homes in Darfur by Arab militias and the Sudanese military. But until the last two months they have not been able to tell just how difficult the job will be.
Twelve trucks from the World Food Programme waited on the eastern side of the Wadi Mura for three nights, the drivers hoping the waters will fall. On the fourth morning, they gave up. Ali, a WFP worker who stayed with the trucks, said: "The flow of this river is treacherous and impossible to predict. It rains hundreds of kilometres away and sometimes the waters rise and sometimes they don't."
Breijing, a camp designed for 20,000 people but holding double that number, desperately needs the food to get through soon. Jasdal Gill, at WFP, said: "We have enough supplies to feed people in Breijing until the end of the rainy season but we will have to find other ways to get food in soon. If the rivers still block our progress, we will have to start airlifting."
But, for people around the Wadi Mura and the nearby town of Abeche, the rising waters and the humanitarian crisis have proved a lucrative business opportunity. Issaldhia Dial, a general in the Chad army, rents out two water trucks and a new Land Rover, one of the few vehicles that can navigate the muddy tracks. Rental has risen from $100 to $250 a day.
"The rains are making our lives difficult and incredibly expensive," said one worker with Médecins Sans Frontières in Abeche. "The local companies see we are desperate and they hike up their charges because they know we have no choice."
The foreign secretary, Jack Straw, will today fly from the Sudanese capital Khartoum to the country's western Darfur region where more than 1 million people have been been displaced by fighting. Mr Straw will visit the Abu Shouk camp housing 60,000 refugees. Many of them fled after attacks on villages by the Janjaweed, a militia armed by the Sudanese government and supported by its army and air force. The Foreign Office, whose strategy is to work with the Sudanese government, insists there is no clear evidence the Sudanese military and air force have joined attacks in the past four months. But, as Jeevan Vasagar reports, refugees fleeing Darfur for neighbouring Chad tell a different story
Hawa Abdullahi's father pulls back her orange shawl to show where a bullet smashed through her upper arm. The 15-year-old girl is in pain and traumatised, but in her family she is the fortunate one. Four of her brothers are dead after an attack they blame on the Janjaweed.
"Maybe God knows why this happened," said Maryam Ayacoub Solomon, the mother of the murdered boys. "I don't know. I don't know what to say - I have no words left."
Every few days, more refugees from Darfur cross the border into eastern Chad. They all tell the same story; in recent days and weeks, there have been fresh attacks on black African villages involving Janjaweed fighters backed up by Sudanese government troops.
Despite a UN security council resolution demanding that Sudan disarms the Janjaweed, Khartoum's war against its own people goes on.
UN officials say that 11 vil lages close to the border with Chad are believed to have been cleared in a campaign that began a few days after the security council resolution was passed.
Nearly 500 refugees have been registered by the UN after crossing the border at Senett, near the village of Birak in eastern Chad.
Abdel Moula Abdullahi, 25, told the Guardian he had escaped an attack on Diba village in west Darfur on August 9. "They came at 6am. It was raining and everyone was in the village," he said. "The women cried out: 'The Janjaweed are coming'.
"The men and women ran from the village. As they were running, the Janjaweed were shooting.
"The Sudanese military came with five vehicles. They shot the people with machine guns. The Janjaweed threw hand grenades to burn down our houses."
Mr Abdullahi's home now is a piece of plastic sheeting spread over a framework of branches, with a handful of possessions inside; blackened cooking pans, a dagger and an ancient plastic tub of blue hair gel. There is a waist-high stockade of branches to keep animals out.
Another refugee, Osman Yahya Khadir, 52, escaped an attack on Gazmoun village last Wednesday. According to his account, Sudanese military helicopters circled in the sky overhead while Janjaweed attacked on the ground.
"When I heard the noise of the helicopters, I ran to hide in the mountains, because I knew the Janjaweed would come," said Mr Khadir, a tall man in a long, white robe.
"I knew from the other villages that it had happened like that. They told me: 'When you hear the helicopters and the planes, the Janjaweed are coming'.
"We drove our herds of animals towards the mountains. The Janjaweed came to take our animals and killed five people." Both these villages have previously been attacked by Janjaweed and government forces, and their inhabitants had fled to Chad.