I thought I must have misheard him. U.N. officials estimate about 200,000 have been killed. Even the most conservative estimates put the number at more than 80,000.
"Less than 9,000."
"Less than 9,000 people?"
The Sudanese government has blocked efforts to put a U.N. force of 23,000 peacekeepers into Darfur, but there is a U.N. mission here. The top U.N. official here briefly addressed the delegation, but he was decidedly off message:
"We are here not because the situation is good," he said. "It's because the situation is bad."
Before sending us back on our toasty 737 for the flight back to Khartoum, the governor threw the delegation a party at his compound.
Inside the governor's walled compound, antelope played among the trees while dancers in brightly colored dresses pranced around on the green grass. There was music, singing, men dancing around with ceremonial swords.
This was the Darfur the governor wanted us to remember. Meanwhile, more than a mile away were the tens of thousands of refugees of the Abu Shouk camp. There was no dancing, singing or feasting over there.