International news focus on South Sudan ensures the growing invisibility of other marginalized regions, particularly Darfur
By Eric Reeves,
February 2, 2014 - In an outrageous display of contempt and callousness, the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime in Khartoum regime has today, with no articulated justification other than "technical issues," officially suspended humanitarian activities by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)—including in Darfur. Throughout Sudan, the ICRC serves some 1.5 million Sudanese in need; it is a mainstay of the continually shrinking humanitarian presence in Darfur; and it is the very embodiment of neutrality among international humanitarian organizations.
The suspension is entirely unwarranted and will have almost immediate consequences for many hundreds of thousands of distressed civilians. It is especially consequential in light of the rising humanitarian needs in Darfur, and the timing of this outrageous action must prompt an assessment of its motivation. President Omar al-Bashir has already publicly declared that 2014 will be the year in which counter-insurgency operations will be completed in South Kordofan (the Nuba Mountains in particular) and Blue Nile states. He has promised that this campaign will be followed by a completion of military operations in subduing rebellion in Darfur. Evidence from a wide range of sources makes it clear that neither enterprise is likely to meet with success, and may in fact mark further episodes in ignominious defeat on the ground, particularly in the Nuba.
Unable to defeat the rebellions in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, Khartoum has decided to starve the regions into submission by relentless aerial bombardment and destruction of agricultural production. The strategy is well on its way toward success, aided substantially by the total aid embargo on humanitarian assistance to areas controlled by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-North (SPLM/A-N). Shortly after the military assault began in June 2011 and humanitarian needs became readily apparent, Khartoum made clear that it would not allow the "new South Sudan" (as South Kordofan and Blue Nile have come to be called) to become a "new Darfur." The implication was clear: the regime felt it had made a mistake in ever allowing humanitarians and the African Union to gain a toehold in Darfur, and were determined to make sure they did not repeat this "error" in the "new South Sudan."
It is exactly two years since African Union (AU) mediators proposed a humanitarian access agreement for all areas in the two states; it was rejected by Khartoum, even as it was immediately accepted by the SPLM/A-N. There has been no progress on this critical issue in the succeeding twenty-four months, even with support for the agreement by the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC). Having held out against tepid international pressure this long, it is highly unlikely that Khartoum will change course now. This is an area in which well over 1 million people are either internally displaced, refugees in South Sudan (and Ethiopia), or living in desperate conditions, with malnutrition—and malnutrition-related diseases—growing steadily.
In Darfur the suspension of activities by the ICRC continues a long and ugly trail of obstruction, harassment, abuse, expulsion, and a bureaucratic war of attrition by Khartoum. Even before thirteen important international relief organizations were expelled in March 2009 (and three important Sudanese NGOs were shut down, including the Amal Center in Nyala), there had been expulsions. Khartoum has also created security conditions in some areas so threatening, with access so restricted, that relief organizations have made the decision to leave Darfur. And there have been subsequent expulsions by the regime as well, including the French medical relief organization Médecins du Monde. The effect of Khartoum’s actions has been to reduce overall humanitarian capacity by well over fifty percent, according to one extremely well-informed UN official. And insecurity and denial of access by Khartoum’s military and security forces have created an exceedingly small area of accessibility. Many areas, such as East Jebel Marra, have been inaccessible for years. UNAMID, the "hybrid" UN/African Union peacekeeping force, is a catastrophic failure as a peace support mission, and has been unable to secure access to much of Jebel Marra, even as the reports of aerial bombardment of civilians in this area are constant.
[ It is worth recalling in the context of the suspension of the ICRC in Sudan, where it has operated for 35 years, that in 2012 Khartoum’s "humanitarian" ministry expelled half a dozen international relief organizations from the deeply impoverished eastern regions of Sudan, arguing that some projects—managed by distinguished humanitarian organizations—were being mismanaged, inappropriate for the region, and excessively costly. The was no significant international protest at the time, from the UN or any other national actor of consequence.]
Humanitarian capacity has been shrinking for years now; and the percentage of expatriate workers, often with singular technical expertise and logistical training, is down to 3 percent of the humanitarian work force; 97 percent are Sudanese nationals, often well-trained and dedicated, but also often without critical technical skills. Capacity is so limited that the World Food Program, at a loss for implementing partners, has turned to "traders" in a move that has garnered little attention but could be a deeply ominous sign:
The internally displaced people living in camp Zamzam near El Fasher in North Darfur are "facing a food crisis" as a result of the delay of their food rations, which were supposed to come in on 7 January the latest. One of the activists told Radio Dabanga from camp Zamzam that the about 117,540 displaced are seriously concerned. The lack of food in the state together with bad security conditions resulted in high food prices. Besides, the task of distributing food rations has been taken over from the World Food Programme (WFP) by traders. "This proves that the traders are incapable of providing the food on time," he said.
The activist added that the displaced people have refused to task traders with the food provision, "however it was the WFP that forced them to approve it." He demanded the organisation to review its decision and restore the situation: back to WFP in control of the food distribution. (Radio Dabanga [el-Fasher], January 14, 2014)
But WFP simply does not have the capacity to distribute the food supplies it oversees in Darfur, and has long depended on the additional capacity provided by "implementing partners." That traders have become such partners suggests just how limited humanitarian capacity has become.
We learn a great deal about how very limited the information provided by UNAMID is looking at the Secretary-General’s most recent report (January 15, 2014) on the force and conditions in Darfur. There is not a single section addressing aerial attacks on civilians, even as they are reported on an almost daily basis by Radio Dabanga (see below); indeed, hundreds of such attacks have been authoritatively reported over the past ten years. Only one such attack is referred to in the entire report of the Secretary-General. The report is similarly empty of specifics about the epidemic of rape that continues to sweep through Darfur (again reported constantly by Radio Dabanga—see below). While the issue is at least raised—which it has not been in some earlier reports from the Secretary-General—there is nothing of meaning, nothing that suggests any reduction in danger to the women and girls of Darfur, particularly those from African tribal groups. Indeed, the report as a whole is an exercise in obfuscation, diminishing the scale of the humanitarian crisis, the extent of insecurity, and the incapacity of UNAMID to respond meaningfully in these circumstances. Ban Ki-moon tersely reports for the rest of the past three months "35 cases involving 63 victims of sexual and gender-based violence" (§52).
This figure is simply preposterous and reflects nothing other than the highly limited data collected by UNAMID, which consistently refuses to help victims of sexual assault—a capitulation before Khartoum’s sensitivities on this particular issue. Evidence from non-UN sources strongly suggests that over the course of the past decade, tens of thousands of women and girls have been raped, a gruesome reality that has never been adequately reported by the Secretary-General (see "Rape as a Continuing Weapon on War," March 4, 2012).
Instead of presenting a full and representative account of human realities in Darfur, the Secretary-General’s report is designed to do three things:  acknowledge that violence did indeed increase in 2013 (suggesting disingenuously that violence had not in fact been dramatically accelerating for the past two years and more);  depict an active UNAMID that, at almost full deployment, is working hard to fulfill its mandate, although the primary features of that mandate—protection of civilians and humanitarians—is nowhere mentioned explicitly; and  suggest that something of significance remains of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD, 2011) and the Darfur Regional Authority (the report merely notes that they are "lagging far behind the implementation deadline"). This is grim farce, as any account from an observer not associated with UN or African Union will attest.
The major rebel groups in Darfur—the Justice and Equality Movement and the fragmented Sudan Liberation Army/Movement—have now made common cause with rebel groups elsewhere in Sudan, particularly the SPLM/A-N, and their common determination is to bring down the Khartoum regime. Khartoum’s efforts to separate off Darfur peace negotiations from the larger issues of peace, security, and radical reform of governance have failed. This changed dynamic, long in the making, is detailed in a revealing new report from the International Crisis Group ("Sudan’s Spreading Conflict (III): The Limits of Darfur’s Peace Process," January 27, 2014).
Despite this critical shift, the fatuous, ignorant, or expedient Ban Ki-moon simply declares that the "pace of implementation of the Doha Document will need to be increased if it is to effectively address…" (§78). There is, however, quite simply nothing that the Doha process can contribute at this point. And it is for precisely this reason that Khartoum insists than any "peace agreement to end Darfur conflict should be within the framework of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), rejecting rebels’ demand for a comprehensive peace process" (Sudan Tribune, December 17, 2013; all emphases in quotations have been added).
The report as a whole is remarkably thin in giving any account of violence against civilians, and does not do nearly enough to emphasize that protection of these civilians is the primary mandate of UNAMID. Revealingly, AU and UN Joint Special Representative and Joint Chief Mediator for Darfur, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, recently suggested that UNAMID’s fulfilling of its mandate ensures that the force is willing to use its weapons to protect not civilians—the essential feature of the force mandate—but to protect itself (Sudan Tribune, January 23, 2014). This is something that should hardly have needed re-stating, given the 57 soldiers who have been killed, the first in a particularly brutal attack in July 2008 (see account at http://sudanreeves.org/2008/07/12/attack-on-unamid-forces-in-darfur-the-khartoum-regime-is-responsible/). This confusion of priorities reflects the broader confusion the pervades the UNAMID mission (many personnel still do not understand the terms of the mandate stipulate in Security Council Resolution 1769 or the Status of Forces Agreement negotiated between Khartoum and UNAMID five years ago.
In what has been little more than boiler-plate, Ban Ki-moon continuously declares that "I condemn in the strongest terms this attack on our peacekeepers…" and then proceeds to declare that he "expects the government of Sudan to swiftly bring to justice those responsible for this and previous attacks on UNAMID." To date not a single perpetrator has been arrested, let alone tried by the Khartoum-controlled judiciary. Moreover, what Ban does not say is that the UN and UNAMID possess a wealth of information that implicates Khartoum-backed militia forces; and yet, again, almost six years after the first deadly assault on UNAMID forces, not a single person has been charged, let alone convicted for these egregious violations of international law. Jean-Marie Guéhenno made clear in his briefing of the Security Council in July 2008 that the evidence pointed overwhelmingly to a Khartoum-backed militia. Nothing ever came of this extraordinarily blunt presentation of evidence concerning the deadly attack (seven UNAMID troops and police were killed and twenty-two were injured, seven of these critically).
Nor does Ban Ki-moon give any sense of how badly UNAMID has been intimidated. It remains for Radio Dabanga to inform us that UNAMID has essentially ceased to function in areas of West Darfur, with immediate consequences for the operations of relief organizations serving camps in these areas:
UNAMID suspends patrols, organisations pull out of West Darfur camps (EL GENEINA, 23 January 2014)
Troops of the joint UN-African Union mission (UNAMID) have suspended patrols at the camps for the displaced in El Geneina locality, West Darfur, according to residents. They also say that organisations working in the camps were ordered to stop their activities. One of the camp coordinators reported to Radio Dabanga on Wednesday that UNAMID halted its patrols around the ten camps of El Geneina about one month ago, without providing any explanation. The coordinator called on UNAMID to clarify the suspension and immediately resume the patrols in order to protect the displaced.
He added that last year the organisations working in the camps were ordered by the authorities to stop their work. "Only one organisation remained, working in the field of water. All operations by other organisations have been halted." "Now there are only empty sites and offices where those organisations used to provide various activities, such as health care, nutritional support, kindergartens, and support for women," the coordinator explained. "With the new system, the monthly food rations have been reduced by 75 percent."
As a force UNAMID is paralyzed in most of Darfur, despite the factitious numbers of "patrols" and various initiatives that UNAMID promulgates to justify its continued existence. Why is there no serious criticism of force performance from within the UN, particularly from Hervé Ladsous, head of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations? Here we might begin by asking how committed troop-contributing countries are to the quality of the force. The Secretary-General reports that:
… of troop and police contingents, 29 of the 44 military and police units currently deployed to UNAMID have a major equipment serviceability rate below the 90 per cent threshold. This figure is unchanged from my previous report. Furthermore, the equipment serviceability of several units has declined so that five are now at or below 44 per cent. In the area of self-sustainment capabilities, only 5 out of 44 units fully meet the requirements stipulated in the relevant memorandums of understanding.
These are appalling figures for a peacekeeping force that has entered its seventh year of operation with a critical civilian protection mandate. Why hasn’t UNAMID and its leadership within the African Union been challenged? There are no acceptable answers. Indeed, one former UN official has noted that a key if unspoken challenge to reform or reduction of the force is the value of remittances from UNAMID personnel, who are provided what is a very substantial UN salary by the standards of their home countries. For his part, Ban Ki-moon offers vague generalities about a "review" process that has led to no specific changes or even recommendations that might be reported (§68).
We know that UNAMID has lied repeatedly for a number of years now, and not simply on the basis of reporting failures and omissions that became clear when other sources of information were available. Former spokeswoman for UNAMID, Aicha el-Basri, has declared that UNAMID has repeatedly distorted, misrepresented, or simply omitted critical information. All this was reported by Trouw, a Dutch newspaper that had been allowed to examine closely the files Ms. el-Basri had assembled. The title to the dispatch spoke volumes: "VN liegen over oorlog in Darfur ("UN Lies About War in Darfur," December 14, 2013. (Listen also to el-Basri’s interview with Radio France Internationale (https://soundcloud.com/radiofranceinternationale/whistleblower-says-un-under, and see my account of her revelations and the record of my own attempts to survey realities on the ground (Appendix 1 at http://wp.me/s45rOG-dradft).
[ This seems an appropriate juncture at which to remark yet again on the reporting by Radio Dabanga, and the extraordinary journalistic achievement of this young news organization. In the past five years, with the help of Dutch partners, the people who make up Radio Dabanga have provided what is clearly the most authoritative insights into the ongoing human catastrophe today. Indeed, so discredited is UNAMID, along with the African Union and UN Secretariat, that there is no simply no rival for Radio Dabanga (Sudan Tribune has also made notable if not nearly so numerous accounts of Darfur’s ongoing suffering and human destruction). For those who continue to express skepticism about the reporting accuracy of Radio Dabanga—whether in good faith or in bad—the fact is that such skepticism is at present wholly unjustified. The burden is on the skeptics to provide compelling evidence of deliberate misrepresentation by Radio Dabanga in any of its myriad dispatches from Darfur. This has not occurred in the past; I am quite certain it will not occur in the future.
In short, the refusal to credit fully the accounts by Radio Dabanga reflects either ignorance or expediency. In the case of UNAMID and the UN system, it hard to know which predominates.]
The mendacity within UNAMID and the UN that Ms. El-Basri chronicles is cruel and disgraceful beyond reckoning, given the number of Darfuri lives that have been elided from or misrepresented in UNAMID accounts. Failure by the force to insist that the terms of the Status of Forces Agreement, guaranteeing unfettered freedom of movement throughout Darfur, be respected has meant that huge parts of Darfur are beyond the reach not only of UNAMID, but the humanitarian organizations that have tried to maintain a presence in more remote locations—locations to which UNAMID will not travel. This is one reason that we have no global figures for morbidity, malnutrition, and mortality; another is that Khartoum has made abundantly clear that it wishes no such surveys or analyses to be publicly promulgated. As humanitarians have said for years now, without such data they are "flying blind" in many respects with how best to allocate their limited and now clearly insufficient resources.
There is a grim knock-on effect from Darfur’s invisibility, which seems only to grow more complete, and that is the total invisibility of Darfuri refugees in eastern Chad. A chilling Radio Dabanga dispatch from this harsh region gives some sense of how suffering and deprivation there may be greater than in Darfur itself:
WFP stops food rations for Gaga refugee camp in Chad: Sheikh (Radio Dabanga, GAGA CAMP (eastern Chad), 22 January 2014)
The refugees of the Gaga refugee camp in eastern Chad will not receive food rations in 2014. Speaking to Radio Dabanga, sheikh Juma reported that the 23,200 Darfuri refugees residing in the camp received reduced food rations from the World Food Programme (WFP) in December and January. Representatives of the WFP told the refugees that there is no budget for food rations for the year 2014. The refugees received rations of sorghum, sugar, beans, and oil, all reduced by 75 percent, in December and by 50 percent in January. These rations, paid from WFP’s 2013 budget, were the last ones for the camp.
Mortality seems destined to skyrocket.
Inside Darfur there are vast areas now controlled by militia forces, only some of them under Khartoum’s control, although they all do—in one form or another—the dirty business of sustaining what I have repeatedly called "genocide by attrition." Kabkabayyi, a major town in North Darfur, has recently been the epicenter:
North Darfuris live in fear after market attack (KABKABIYA, 15 January 2014)
The market in Kabkabiya in North Darfur was closed for the second day in a row on Tuesday after gunmen assassinated displaced person Ismail Adam Sul last weekend. Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that pro-government militia members riding in about 20 Land Cruisers loaded with various kinds of weapons entered the capital of Kabkabiya locality on Monday at 10am and roamed the market until 4pm. Listeners said another group appeared on camels and horses on Tuesday, and others riding motorcycles wearing military uniforms gathered in the valley of Borko, south of the city. Another group gathered in the neighbourhood of El Hara, east of the city.
On Sunday evening, five militiamen in military uniforms in a Land Cruiser opened fire on Ismail Adam Sul, 10 metres from the UNAMID site in the area. His body was found scorched 1km north of Kabkabiya after the perpetrators took his body and fled north. Residents of the El Salam camp complained on Monday about the continuous attacks by government-backed militiamen, the killings, beatings, rapes, robberies, and the charging of fees on firewood.
Kutum, another major town in North Darfur, is similarly under siege and completely out of the control of UNAMID:
"Militia control Kutum in North Darfur": residents (Radio Dabanga, KUTUM (23 January 2014)
The residents of Kutum in North Darfur describe the security situation in the locality as "extremely bad." Owing to the absence of police and the judiciary, militiamen are committing crimes with complete impunity. A Kutum town resident told Radio Dabanga that there is no security at all in the locality. "There are no police and security forces. Even the court disappeared from Kutum nearly two years ago. This situation enabled the militias to continue abusing the citizens inside Kutum town and in the villages in the neighbourhood."
Residents of Kassab and Fata Borno camps confirm the total insecurity in the locality. "The government-backed militias are in absolute control of the area. They assault citizens, the displaced, villagers, and farmers on an almost daily basis, while the authorities are nowhere to be seen. They attack people collecting firewood and straw, beating and whipping them. Women are raped, and they release their livestock onto farmland by force of arms."
Where, we must ask, is UNAMID? How can this be happening in major towns like Kutum and Kabkabiya? In Kassab camp? In Fata Born camp? Ban Ki-moon’s report speaks in terms of the number of Khartoum’s denials of UNAMID flights and ground access, offering "quarter on quarter" figures that seem bloodless. But these numbers are also meaningless since UNAMID simply doesn’t request access to any number of locations; and if towns like Kutum and Kabkabiya have no UNAMID presence—or at least none that can control violence against civilians—the Secretary-General’s discussion of access has an absurd irrelevance.
And if we want the most reliable measure of violence in Darfur, it is—as it has long been—the levels of displacement, as violence and displacement have long correlated extremely highly. Last year, Ban reports, some 400,000 people were newly displaced. Although the figure is immense, it is not inconsistent with the figures for previous years, as established by reports from the UN and humanitarian organizations:
- 2007: 300,000 civilians newly displaced
- 2008: 317,000 civilians newly displaced
- 2009: 250,000 civilians newly displaced
- 2010: 300,000 civilians newly displaced
- 2011: 200,000 civilians newly displaced
- 2012: 150,000 civilians newly displaced
The total, including the figure of 400,000 for 2013, is thus almost 2 million newly internally displaced persons since the year UNAMID was authorized and approximately 300,000 refugees. The total here of 2.3 million Darfuris needs qualification: many have returned subsequently; some who have fled more than once are counted more than once in these figures. But not included are the massive numbers of civilians displaced before 2007: as of January 1, 2008, the UN estimated that 2.45 million Darfuris were internally displaced (OCHA, Darfur Humanitarian Profile No. 30, January 1, 2008). The UN simply cannot bring itself to use plausible figures, and would seem willing to believe that we need look back only a couple of years to arrive at suitable numbers for displacement. In fact, these extraordinarily large figures make nonsense of the highly variable UN estimates for total displacement in Darfur, which even in the past year have ranged from 1.4 million to approximately 2 million (in neither instance did the UN include the figure of more than 320,000 Darfuri refugees in eastern Chad or Central African Republic. Playing games with this critical figure has been a UN proclivity since the last UN Darfur Humanitarian Profile (No. 34, January 1, 2009).
Moreover, the displaced—even when reaching what is perceived as the relative security of IDP camps—are facing new threats. In addition to the dramatic increase in violent assaults on these camps—something nowhere noted by the UN Secretary-General in his January 15, 2014 report on Darfur—Khartoum’s long-planned dismantling of the camps may finally have begun in earnest. It is not from the Secretary-General but Radio Dabanga that we learn:
The North Darfur authorities have given the omdas of the Abu Shouk and El Salam camps for the displaced a period of 60 days to confirm the camp population’s acceptance of a new housing plan. This "resettlement project" means that the two camps, located near North Darfur’s capital of El Fasher, will be entirely restructured, to become residential districts of the city. Omda Ahmed Ateem Osman, the coordinator of the North Darfur camps for the displaced, explained to Radio Dabanga that the population of both camps have strongly rejected the project. "They consider it a ruse, aimed at the elimination of the displacement issue in the state…." The North Darfur government is also exploiting "fake omdas who have nothing to do with the camps, so that they can implement the new housing plan within the deadline of 60 days," the coordinator said. "Camp omdas refusing to cooperate are threatened, and accused of insurgency." (el-Fasher, 30 January 2014)
The outline of this plan was first announced several years ago in Khartoum’s "New Strategy for Darfur" (September 2010). It is now close to becoming a reality, one that will seal the fate of countless Darfuri farmers. We should recall that at the time the "new strategy" was announced, U.S. special envoy Scott Gration, and UN/AU special representative to UNAMID Ibrahim Gambari, enthusiastically welcomed it, as did ongoing chief AU envoy for Sudan, Thabo Mbeki.
So long as the international community remains content with UNAMID as the fig-leaf to cover or obscure massive failure in Darfur, then we should expect continued mendacity and expediency—UNAMID is virtually being asked to distort the crisis and the efficacy of the peacekeeping mission. This mission is certainly difficult, remote, and costly—and yet there seems little stomach in the international community to bring to bear the diplomatic resources to compel Khartoum to act in good faith in negotiating peace with the rebel groups and civil society in Darfur. Indeed, Switzerland recently became the newest nation to back debt relief for Khartoum, despite the regime’s continuing, widespread atrocity crimes that are directed against its own civilians. The Swiss also seem unconcerned about the manner in which the massive US$46 billion in external debt was accrued: obscene self-enrichment by regime officials; profligate military hardware expenditures and hugely expensive wars; a widespread system of cronyism that is costly but to date has bought the regime the political support it needs; allowing the agricultural sector to deteriorate beyond easy or near term repair. This last has necessitated huge imports of food, especially wheat for making bread. The absence of Forex has made such purchases increasingly difficult, and the recent severe bread shortages and bread lines in and around Khartoum are only the most conspicuous signs of an economy that has been run into the ground by men who have for 24 years arrogated to themselves all claims on national wealth and political power.
But accommodating gestures, such as that by the Swiss, along with international acceptance of a failing UNAMID, only ensure that conditions for civilians in Darfur will continue to deteriorate. It is a perverse irony that Geneva (Switzerland) is headquarters of the ICRC—today shut down by the very regime the Swiss government seeks to assist financially.
Perhaps a selection of reports by Radio Dabanga from recent weeks, organized by particular forms of savagery, could be used to good purpose in compelling the Swiss to see what they are seeking to perpetuate:
§§§ Deliberate and indiscriminate bombing of civilians: a complete overview of confirmed aerial attacks on civilians in Darfur to date can be found at the September 2013 update to "’They Bombed Everything that Moved’: Aerial military attacks on civilians and humanitarians in greater Sudan, 1999 – 2013," www.sudanbombing.org:
• Air raids on Darfur’s East Jebel Marra continue
EAST JEBEL MARRA (30 January 2014) - The Sudanese Air Force continues its almost daily bombardments on East Jebel Marra. Listeners told Radio Dabanga that an Antonov launched seven bombs on the areas of... FULL STORY
• Bomb kills two minors; air raids on Darfur’s Jebel Marra
EAST JEBEL MARRA (29 January 2014) - Two minors were killed on Tuesday in a bomb explosion on the Konjara-Kushena road in East Jebel Marra. The Sudanese Air Force bombed areas east and west of Jebel Marra on Sunday... FULL STORY
• Sudanese army bombs villages; plunders another in Darfur’s East Jebel Marra
EAST JEBEL MARRA (20 January 2014) - East Jebel Marra witnessed this weekend aerial bombardments as well as the looting of Kenjara village by Sudanese army troops. Multiple sources from East Jebel Marra told Radio...FULL STORY
• Sudanese Air Force bombs South Darfur towns
NYALA (14 January 2014) - A Sudanese Air Force aircraft launched several air raids on a number of villages and areas south of Nyala, the capital city of South Darfur, on Tuesday afternoon. Witnesses... FULL STORY
§§§ Rape of Women and Girls
• Girl gang-raped in Kabkabiya, North Darfur
KABKABIYA (29 January 2014) - A 12-year-old girl was raped on Monday in Kabkabiya, North Darfur by two militiamen. Speaking to Radio Dabanga, a relative of the girl said that during the night, the men stormed... FULL STORY
• Woman gang-raped, boys stripped of clothes; curfew in Central Darfur
NIERTETI (22 January 2014) - A woman was gang-raped, and two boys stripped of their clothes by militiamen in two separate incidents in Nierteti locality, Central Darfur this week. Large concentrations of... FULL STORY
• "Firewood fees" levied in North Darfur’s Kabkabiya
KABKABIYA (13 January 2014) - Residents of the El Salam camp for the displaced in Kabkabiya locality, North Darfur, complain about the continuous attacks by government-backed militiamen, the killings, beatings, rapes, and robberies... FULL STORY
§§§ Locations experiencing acute humanitarian distress at present:
• Affecting all of Darfur: Sudan suspends all Red Cross activities
KHARTOUM (31 January 2014) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has recently received an official letter from the Sudanese Humanitarian Affairs Commission (HAC) asking it to suspend all its... FULL STORY
• Hunger and bad health in South Darfur camp
MERSHING (2 February 2014) - The residents of the Teiga camp for the displaced in Mershing locality, South Darfur, complain of bad humanitarian and health conditions. A sheikh from the camp told Radio Dabanga... FULL STORY
• Food supply gap in North Darfur: agricultural survey
EL FASHER (31 January 2014) - The Minister of Agriculture and Forestry in North Darfur has revealed that there is a food gap of 142,672 metric tons for this season, as well as a significant rise in prices in... FULL STORY
• Miscarriages and whooping cough in West Darfur camps
ABU SHAJEIRA (24 January 2014) - The displaced people living in Armankul camp in Sirba locality, West Darfur, have complained of the high rates of miscarriages among pregnant women, the outbreak of whooping cough... FULL STORY
• Sudan’s environment issues cause high mortality rate: Ministry
KHARTOUM (24 January 2014) - Sudan’s federal Ministry of Health has acknowledged that air pollution, environmental degradation, and the spread of kala-azar in several states are the causes of the high... FULL STORY
• UNAMID suspends patrols, organisations stop working in West Darfur camps
EL GENEINA (23 January 2014) - According to the residents of the camps for the displaced in El Geneina locality, West Darfur, troops of the joint UN-African Union mission (UNAMID) have suspended patrols.... FULL STORY
• WFP stops food rations for Gaga refugee camp in Chad: Sheikh
GAGA CAMP (22 January 2014) - The refugees of the Gaga refugee camp in eastern Chad will not receive food rations in 2014. Speaking to Radio Dabanga, sheikh Juma reported that the 23,200 Darfuri refugees... FULL STORY
• Aid suspended in South Darfur’s El Salam camp
NYALA (19 January 2014) - The humanitarian organisations working at El Salam for the displaced, south of Nyala, South Darfur, have suspended their activities because of the "rampant insecurity." The... FULL STORY
• Tearfund robbed of animals in Kass, South Darfur
KASS (16 January 2014) - Militia members stole 450 goats from the Tearfund organisation in the area of Morotoga, 5km south of Kass city in South Darfur, on Wednesday. A source told Radio Dabanga that... FULL STORY
• South Darfur’s El Radoom reject drinking water price hike
EL RADOOM (13 January 2014) - The citizens of El Radoom locality in South Darfur rejected the new charges imposed by the locality for drinking water, for humans and animals alike. Speaking to Radio Dabanga, a... FULL STORY
• Sudanese refugees in CAR need aid, food
BEMBERE / TOLOM (16 January 2014) - Around 2,200 Sudanese refugees from Darfur at camp Bembere in the Central African Republic (CAR) are living in “extremely difficult humanitarian conditions” after aid... FULL STORY
The educational deficit in Darfur will haunt the region for years, perhaps decades to come:
• "Most children do not attend school": network in North Darfur camp
EL FASHER (15 January 2014) - A child protection network in the Zamzam camp for internally displaced people near El Fasher in North Darfur said there is a large number of children who do not attend school in... FULL STORY
[ An APPENDIX cataloging many other very recent reports from Darfur by Radio Dabanga appears at http://wp.me/p45rOG-1aE; these focus on violence against civilians and events with longer-term implications. ]
Eric Reeves’ has written extensively on Sudan and South Sudan. His new book-length study of greater Sudan (Compromising With Evil: An archival history of greater Sudan, 2007 - 2012) can be downloaded here: www.CompromisingWithEvil.org