Home | Comment & Analysis    Thursday 11 December 2003

Feature - Death and destruction in Darfur

separation
increase
decrease
separation
separation

JUNAYNAH, Sudan, Dec 11, 2003 (IRIN) — Looting and killing has become a way of life around Junaynah, capital of Sudan’s strife-torn western Darfur province. Local leaders say the attacks are being carried out by Arab militias who conduct their almost daily raids "with total impunity".

"I believe this is an elimination of the black race," one tribal leader told IRIN.

He said that since Saturday alone, an estimated 9,000 people had become displaced in attacks on 15 villages located between 20 and 40 km from the town.

Sixteen injured men were brought to Junaynah hospital on Tuesday night, and 10 on Monday, all with gunshot wounds. The hospital receives five or six casualties with gunshot wounds daily.

HORSE-BACKED MILITIAS

Highly visible around the town, the horse-backed Arab nomads - Janjaweed militias or Peshmerga as they are known in western Darfur - were unusually absent on Wednesday. Local sources said an attack from the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) rebel group was imminent, and there was a highly visible military presence.

Corroborating sources have accused the government of backing the militias, charges it denies. Dr Sula Feldeen, the national humanitarian aid commissioner, told IRIN all of Sudan’s tribes had been asked to defend themselves against the rebels, not just Arabs. "No tribe was excluded," he said. "Some are coming forward and some are not. This does not mean that the government is biased against one group."

In a report on Thursday, the International Crisis Group (ICG) think tank said the conflict started when the JEM and another rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A), launched their first attacks on government garrisons in the region in February 2003.

"In response to those actions, the government of Sudan has mobilised and armed Arab militias (Janjaweed), whose salary comes directly from booty captured in raids on villages, to terrorise the populace of Darfur," the ICG said. It added that the Janjaweed had stepped up activities in the past three months against the Fur, Zaghawa, and Massalit groups, who are collectively accused of supporting the rebellion.

"The fact is the government is arming some tribes, just Arabs, they go and kill, take the belongings and rape the women," local sources in Junaynah told IRIN. "The militias have been given access to good arms, they are better than the army’s."

FOOD CONCERNS

Concern is mounting in western Darfur over looming food shortages, as the nomads’ camels roam across local farms destroying crops.

"Now they are fighting with bullets, but the time will come when starvation will set in," said one local leader.

Those who try to defend their farms with guns come under attack, and are sometimes arrested by the local authorities, IRIN was told. Local farmers are unable to leave their homes to harvest or to go to local villages to trade for fear of being shot.

Commercial traffic in western Darfur has all but stopped, and food prices have increased dramatically from 1,800 Sudanese dinar to 7,000 for a bag of millet.

Wood and charcoal prices have also gone up, while livestock are decreasing in value as people desperately try to sell their animals before they are looted.

"The visible agenda is to fight the rebels, the invisible agenda is to get rich by looting and expand their tribal grazing areas," said a local source.

PEACE EFFORTS

Meanwhile, local efforts to begin a peace initiative have been put on hold. A meeting in Junaynah which planned to bring together leaders of 20 tribes - Arab and black African - was reportedly cancelled last week by the local authorities.

Elsewhere in Darfur, humanitarian sources told IRIN that NGOs and UN agencies had been prevented from travelling to needy government and rebel-held areas in the north.

UN officials and aid agencies were assured on Friday by local authorities that northern Darfur was calm and safe and that access would be granted. But five days later agencies were still awaiting travel permits to areas, including several held by the government.

"The problem is in areas controlled by the SLM," explained deputy governor El Nour Mohammed Ibrahim. "Our experience has made us hesitant to send relief to areas under the SLM
because of kidnapping and attacks on trucks."

In its report, the ICG warned the international community not to focus solely on the regional peace process, mediated by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) between the government and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLA/M).

"The international community has thus far failed to respond appropriately to these developments, in part because the attention of the world remains focused squarely on the IGAD peace process," said the ICG’s John Prendergast.

"The government of Sudan is being feted by the international community for its transition to peacemaker through the IGAD process, while it continues to carry out a bloody campaign by proxy against the people of Darfur," he added. "The end of one tragic civil war in Sudan should not be allowed to be a catalyst for a new one".



The views expressed in the 'Comment and Analysis' section are solely the opinions of the writers. The veracity of any claims made are the responsibility of the author not Sudan Tribune.

If you want to submit an opinion piece or an analysis please email it to comment@sudantribune.com

Sudan Tribune reserves the right to edit articles before publication. Please include your full name, relevant personal information and political affiliations.
Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.


The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.


s
Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis


Peacekeeping faces challenges: here’s how we can meet them 2018-09-23 11:47:05 By Jean-Pierre Lacroix* United Nations peacekeeping remains one of the most effective tools to respond to today’s challenges of global peace and security. Every day, women and men who serve under (...)

Pragmatic patriarchy of Sudan over South Sudan 2018-09-22 09:28:17 James Okuk, PhD “We honour the human capacity to manage our collective lives with peace and even, at times, dignity” – Barbour & Wright The political process of Sudan and South Sudan has (...)

Salient features of South Sudan latest peace deal 2018-09-21 05:36:06 By Roger Alfred Yoron Modi Last week, the government of South Sudan under President Salva Kiir, various armed and unarmed opposition groups and other parties, including the SPLM/A-IO led by Dr (...)


MORE






Latest Press Releases


Unity State community in Kenya supports Khartoum peace agreement 2018-08-17 08:33:21 PRESS STATMENT 14th Aug, 2018 Re: We shall Rally behind Khartoum Peace Agreement The Unity State Community Association in Kenya was established in 2010 to organize and mobilize the people of (...)

The Suspension of Hurriyat Online Newspaper 2018-04-29 07:04:37 Sudan Democracy First Group 28 April 2018 The Sudanese civil and political circles and those concerned with Sudan were shocked by the news that the management of Hurriyat online newspaper has (...)

Petition on the Deteriorating Human Rights and Humanitarian Situation in Sudan 2018-04-22 10:01:20 UN Secretary-General, New York African Union Commission, Addis Ababa UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva Petition on the Deteriorating Human Rights and Humanitarian Situation in Sudan (...)


MORE

Copyright © 2003-2018 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.