Former President Jimmy Carter was stopped by Sudanese security forces while he was attempting to talk with refugees in the town of Kabkabiya in Darfur. He originally flew in to visit Africans in the World Food Program compound, as the UN deemed the actual refugee camps too dangerous.
But none of the refugees showed up and Carter decided to walk into the town — a volatile stronghold of the pro-government janjaweed militia — to meet refugees too frightened to attend the meeting at the compound.
He was able to make it to a school where he met with one tribal representative and was preparing to go further into town when Sudanese security officers stopped him.
“You can’t go,” the local chief of the feared Sudanese secret police, who only gave his first name as Omar, ordered Carter. “It’s not on the program!”
“We’re going to anyway!” an angry Carter retorted as a small crowd began to gather around. “You don’t have the power to stop me.”
However, U.N. officials told Carter’s entourage the powerful Sudanese state police could bar his way.
“We’ve got to move, or someone is going to get shot,” warned one of the U.N. staff accompanying the delegation.
During the visit, Richard Branson, who was traveling with Carter, was slipped a note that read: “We (are) still suffering from the war as our girls are being raped on a daily basis.”