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A region sick with violence

This is a zone with great farming and ranching potential, but it is facing one of the most difficult to solve conflicts in Africa. Displaced people live in tragic conditions and in five years, the number of deaths has reached 300,000.

 

Darfur Village Abandoned after Heavy Clashes. Photo UN/ Flickr. Creative Commons License.

Julio Morejon Tartabull

 

There the battles between communities that, in general, date back to historic discrepancies caused by arbitrariness in the colonial period and other more recent issues as a consequence of neoliberalism, give rise to one of the most difficult to solve conflicts in Africa.

It is about the western Sudanese region of Darfur, the population of which remains tense and disorientated due to the lack of peace and stability in the last 19 years, despite mediation efforts and political rebuilding in the country. Their salvation requires redressing the past (something potentially complex because there are no excuses for this) and changing the model’s corrosive socioeconomic processes, whose adjustment measures are destroying human solidarity.

Such are the options for giving some breathing space to Darfur, sick with violence, now trapped in battles between communities, a phenomenon which tends to further asphyxiate a people torn apart by the civil war of 2003-2009, and without the benefits of a political transition launched in 2019, following the fall of Omar Hasan al Bashir.

What the region suffers today, in some way, constitutes the continuation of the conflict during five years where it faced regular troops and activity from the Janjaweed (armed horsemen) with guerrilla movements, which caused around 300,000 deaths and 1,880,000 displaced people.

New displaced people from East Darfur. Photo UNAMID / Flickr. Creative Commons License.

According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the number of people fleeing from their homes to other places in search of a minimum level of security increases daily, at least pertaining to physical integrity, but those displaced people generate many humanitarian needs which go unsatisfied.

In Western Darfur, violence between communities caused the exodus of more than 13,000 people from June 2021 to February 2022 and a rise is predicted, despite the mobilisation of security force troops to counter it.

Now the skirmishes between communities do not only happen to cause losses of faction members, but also extend to properties: fields are destroyed and homes burned, sometimes entire villages are set on fire, and to multiply the damage they take other people’s cattle, a common criminal practice.

Currently, Jebel Moon, a border town with Chad, which is the scene of bloody combats between Arab tribes and the Masiriya tribe of African origin, the trigger for which was cattle rustling. This happens in Western Darfur and what happens ricochets off its neighbour, throughout the whole of Sudan.

The clashes there broke out in the middle of November over land disputes and, since then, more than 80 people have died, despite reinforcement of the military presence in the area, which the central government imposed to restore stability and support the peace process started with the guerrillas in 2020.

Photo: Pixabay

Two of the factors which have a bearing on the escalation of violence are “the proliferation of weapons and the spirit of vengeance between the parties, therefore the regional authorities have sent military reinforcements”, the local mayor, Jehia Ibrahim, said to the press.

In recent attacks against civilians, six villages were burned and conflict forced more than 12,500 people to flee and seek refuge in the nearby mountains or cross the border with Chad, a country that has welcomed around 380,000 Sudanese people.

Traditionally, the clashes between communities usually present as confrontations where the rivals battle for victory without being aware of the historicity of such events, which always changes when there are new incidents which differentiate them from their previous events and the current ones become even bloodier.

A painful result of the violence is the multitude of internally displaced people, who themselves represent a problem and an additional burden for the host population, who generally assimilate them as victims of the territorial redistribution of the crisis and, in the worst cases, as enemies. Displaced people live in tragic conditions, without the help of aid organisations, who are now incapable of providing it due to the deterioration of security conditions.

The internally displaced people reached large numbers, such as in the Kalma camp, where some 200,000 Darfuris were sheltered. (PL)

(Translated by Donna Davison – Email: donna_davison@hotmail.com) – Photos: Pixabay

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