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Darfur is the western region of Sudan. It shares international borders with Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Libya and (since July 2011) South Sudan. Within Sudan, Darfur borders North and South Kordofan states to the southeast and Northern State to the northeast.

Area: 493,180 km2

Population: 6,000,000 (2004 pre-conflict estimate)


Demonym: Darfuri

ST Links on Darfur: Darfur Conflict | Darfur Peace Process | Darfur Rebel Groups

Darfur Media: Radio Darfur (formerly Radio Dabanga)

Government and Administration: Darfur Regional Authority (DRA)

Chairman of the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA)

Darfur Administrative History

  • 2011 | 21 Sept. | Darfur Regional Authority (DRA)
  • 2007 | 23 April | Transitional Darfur Regional Authority inaugurated
  • 1916 | 22 May | State extinguished
  • 1889 - 1898 | Darfur annexed to the Mahdiya
  • 1874 | 23 Oct. | Darfur is occupied by Egypt
  • 1445 | Kayra Fur dynasty established

Chairmen of the Transitional Darfur Regional Authority

Darfur Sultans

  • 1785 - 1799 | `Abd ar-Rahman ar-Rashid
  • 1799 - 1839 | Muhammad al-Fadl
  • 1839 - Apr 1873 | Muhammad al-Husayn
  • 1839 - 1843 | Muhammad Abu Madyan (in rebellion)
  • 21 Apr 1873 - 23 Oct 1874 | Ibrahim Qarad Koyko
  • 1874 - 1874 | Hasab Allah
  • 1874 - 1875 | Sayf ad-Din Bush
  • 1877 - 1880 | Sayf ad-Din Muhammad Harun ar-Rashid
  • 1880 - 1884 | `Abd Allah Dud Banja
  • 1887 - 14 Feb 1888 | Yusuf
  • 1888 - 1891 | Abu´l Khayrat
  • 1891 - 1908 | Sanin al-Husayn (in rebellion)

Darfur Links


ODI - City limits: urbanisation and vulnerability in Sudan - Nyala case study


Al Jazeera English | Plight of Chad families in wake of "child smuggling" row | 2 November 2007

The French charity alleged to be involved in child kidnapping by Chad claims it was rescuing the children who were fleeing war-ravaged Darfur in neighbouring Sudan. Our correspondent, Mohamad Vall, went to the border town of Tine to uncover the plight of families still living there.

Al Jazeera English | Inside Story - The Darfur Peace Conference 28 Oct 2007

Opposing groups in the conflict discuss the outcomes they expect to see.

Al Jazeera English | Displaced people protest in Darfur | 27 Oct 2007

In the camps of Darfur, people are angry at what they see as a lack of progress towards peace for the region in which they live. In the camps of Darfur, people are angry at what they see as a lack of progress towards peace for the region in which they live. Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Vall reports from northern Darfur.

Al Jazeera English | Differences before Darfur talks | 26 Oct 2007

Talks between a number of rebel factions in Darfur and the Sudanese government are expected to take place in Libya on October 27. Before the talks, squabbles over which rebel groups will be represented have broken out. Local officials in Darfur have taken a swipe at the organisers of the talks, including the United Nations. Mohammed Vall was the only international news correspondent at a meeting in northern Darfur, hosted by the area’s governor.

Al Jazeera English | South Sudan hosts Darfur rebels - 22 Oct 2007

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) has hosted talks in Juba, Sudan’s southern capital, between rebel Darfur factions hoping to find consensus between the groups.

Al Jazeera English | Inside Story - Campaigning for Darfur - 17 Sept. 2007

Al Jazeera English | Heart of Darfur: Musa Hilal & the Janjaweed - 20 Aug. 2007

Mohamed Vall interviews the man that the United States accuses of leading the Janjaweed militia in Darfur.

Al Jazeera English | Heart of Darfur: Arab Nomads | 17 Aug 2007

All this week we’ve been bringing you a series of reports about the Darfur you didn’t know. Now Mohammed Vall follows the trail of the nomadic Arabs of Darfur. They are sometimes wrongfully characterised as Janjaweed, the government backed militia involved in much of the violence of the past 4 years. But as Mohammed discovered, the Rizegat Bedouin are themselves struggling to preserve their way of life in a region torn apart by the conflict.

Al Jazeera English | Heart of Darfur: The fur tribe | 16 Aug 2007

The villagers who live among the Jebel Marra Mountains in Sudan’s Darfur region say they’re blessed with an abundance of natural resources but live in poverty. As part of Al Jazeera’s exclusive series on Darfur. Mohammed Vall went to speak to some of the ’Fur’ people living in the foothills where Sudan’s largest rebel group keeps watch.

Al Jazeera English | Heart of Darfur: Rebels’ Story - 14 July 2007

Al Jazeera’s Mohamed Vall meets the young men fighting against the Sudanese government in Darfur.

Al Jazeera English | Heart of Darfur exclusive rebel leader interview - 13 Aug 2007

Mohamed Vall speaks to Commander Gaddoura, leader of the local Abdul Wahid group, a faction of the Sudan Liberation Army, about his continuing fight against the Sudanese government.

Al Jazeera English | Riz Khan - Ancient lakebed in Darfur | 1 Aug 2007

A scientist has discovered an ancient mega-lake that could provide water.

Al Jazeera English | Darfur refugees escape to starvation | 7 Jul 2007

Al Jazeera English | Inside Story - Hybrid force for Darfur | 18 Jun 2007

The Sudanese government has accepted a hybrid force of United Nations and African Union troops for Darfur.

Al Jazeera English | Inside Story - Darfur - Part 1 | 19 Apr 2007

Al Jazeera English | Inside Story - Darfur - Part 2 | 19 Apr 2007


[1Acknowledgements are due the Darfurian writers Baballa Adam, Saif Idris, and Ismaeil Ahmed, whose analyses alerted the world to the crisis in the Sudanese Human Rights Quarterly special issue on Darfur in 1999. I also thank Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Dr. Adam Abdel-Moula, Mohamed Yahya and the Massaleit Community in Exile, former governor of Darfur Dr. Tigani Sisi, Dr. Sharif Harir, Ahmed al-Zubair, and the many other Sudanese or Sudanist intellectuals whose publications and public discussions helped me in my attempt to understand the complexities of the crisis. Thanks are equally due Mohamed Nagi of the Sudan Trib-une online journal for the timely updated reports the Tribune compiles on Sudanese political affairs in general and the Darfur crisis in particular, and Dr. Marlin Tadros, the SHRO-Cairo website coordinator, for the site’s maintenance. Special thanks are due Dr. Mohamad Tavakoli-Targhi for his follow-up, Dr. Sarah Wight for her comments, and Dr. Rebecca Saunders, co-editor of the Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, for her generous invitation to prepare this essay and her con-structive criticisms and suggestions. Personal appreciation is expressed to Zeinab Osman al-Hussain and Angie El-Tigani for their lovely support.

[2Baballa Haroun Nor Adam, "Ethnic Composition, Economic Pattern, and Armed Conflicts in Dar Fur," Sudanese Human Rights Quarterly 8 (July 1999): 9-10.

[3R. S. O’Fahey, "W. Sudan: A Complex Ethnic Reality with a Long History," International Herald Tribune, 15 May 2004. posted in Sudan Tribune, Saturday May 15th, 2004.

[4In addition to the Fur, the non-Arab tribes include the Tonjor, Dajo, Zaghawa, Massalit, Bertti, Sambat, Gimir, Bargo, Ba-rno, Tamu, Fellata, Jebel, and Kanein. The Arab tribes include the Rezeigat, Missiriya, Habaniya, Banu Halba, Ta’aisha, Bnu Jarrar, Zeyadiya, Ateefat, Humur, Khuzam, Khawabeer, Hawarah, Mahameed, Dar Hamid, Hilaliya, Banu Hussein, Ma’alia, and Ziyadiya. Adam, "Ethnic Composition," 10.

[5Richard Lobban, "The Complexities of Darfur," Sudan Tribune, Tuesday August 3rd, 2004,

[6Saif Elnasr Idris, "The History of Darfur," Sudanese Human Rights Quarterly 8 (July 1999): 11.

[7Adam, "Ethnic Composition," 12.

[8Human Rights Watch, Sudan, Oil, and Human Rights (New York: 2003) <http://www.hrw.org/reports/2003/sudan]"]> .All translations from Arabic are my own

[9Hamid, "Darfur: Wad’ al-Nuqat fi al-Huruf."

[10Hamid, ""Darfur: Wad’ al-Nuqat fi al-Huruf."

[11Ahmed, "Causes of Tribal Conflicts," 25.

[12Ahmed, "Causes of Tribal Conflicts," 25.

[13The "Zaghawa Political Memorandum" is published in the bilingual Sudanese Human Rights Quarterly 8 (1999), 3-4.

[14The SLA advocacy of "electoral changes to empower the poor inhabitants" was repeatedly announced by the SLA spokesperson on al-Jazeera in 2004.

[15Lobban, "Complexities of Darfur."

[16Joyce Mulama, "Darfur Overshadows the Peace Process in South Sudan," Sudan Tribune, 2 September 2004, <http://sudantribune.com> .

[17Ali-Dinar, "Why Khartoum wants a war in Darfur."

[18Sudan Human Rights Organization, Cairo Branch (SHRO-Cairo), annual report, "The Situation of Human Rights in Sudan 2003," <http://www.shro-cairo.org> (22 December 2004). The president threatened to crush the rebellion in a series of public announcements between June and December 2003, which witnessed massive government offensives against the rebels.

[19al-Bashir quoted in: SHRO-Cairo, "Situation of Human Rights."

[20This includes the humanitarian Darfur Call Group in Khartoum. Members of the DUP, Communist, Congress, and Nasserist parties were arbitrarily arrested before holding a meeting authorized by the Ministry of Interior to collect humanitarian aid for the victims of Darfur. See the SHRO-Cairo press release "Government Forces Arrest the Darfur Call Activists," 7 August 2004, <http://www.shro-cairo.org> . Amnesty International closely monitors the situation in Darfur. See, for example: "AI Urges Action in West Sudan before Rains," 1 May 2004; "AI Calls for Protection of Human Rights in W. Sudan," 8 June 2004; and "AI Calls for Arm Embargo on Khartoum," 22 September 2004, all at <http://www.amnesty.org> .

[21Mutua, "Racism at the Root."

[22Farouq Abu Eissa, the NDA chairman assistant for constitutional affairs, repeatedly described the Darfur rebels as "patriots" in the Arab media, especially on Egyptian television.

[23Mutasim Elagraa, "Season of Migration from Allah to Race," 28 June 2003, <www.sudansecular.net>; . Last access on June 2004.

[24See Umma Party, "Rowiya Mushtaraka baina al-Mutamar al-Watani and Hizb al-Umma al-Qawmi hawla Mushkilat Darfur" [Shared vision between the National Congress and the Umma Party on the Problem of Darfur], in the Umma File on Darfur, <http://www.umma.org> .

[25Cited in Mahgoub El-Tigani, "Government Lies Will Not Solve the Sudan’s Crisis: A Critique of the Umma-National Congress Agreement on Darfur," Sudan Tribune, 25 May 2004, <http://sudantribune.com> .

[26See "Interview with UN’s Jan Egeland on the situation in Darfur," Sudan Tribune, Monday July 5th, 2004; and "Sudan denied UN report estimating 70,000 dead in Darfur refugee camps," by Mohamed Osman, Associated Press Writer, in: Sudan Tribune, Saturday October 16th, 2004.

[27Ali-Dinar, "Why Khartoum wants a war in Darfur."

[28Mulama, "Darfur Overshadows." She reports, "During the initial stages of the talks, there were a lot of optimisms as the United States, Britain, Italy and Norway exerted pressure on the belligerents to reach a peaceful settlement."

[29"Protocol between GOS and SPLM on power sharing," in: Sudan Tribune, Thursday May 27th, 2004. The Security Arrangements during the Interim Period as signed between the Government and the SPLM (Sudan Tribune, September 26th, 2004) include: "(a) The Joint/Integrated Units (JIUs) in Eastern Sudan; (b) Establishment of JIUs Service Arms; (c) Collaborative approach of handing other armed groups; (d) Other aspects of permanent ceasefire including the role of United Nations Peace Support Mission. The technical committee on the ceasefire negotiations will continue to discuss and resolve any remaining issues including the funding of the armed forces and timing of incorporating and integrating other armed groups into the respective structures of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/SPLA). Furthermore, the two Parties recommitted themselves to finalize and conclude the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in recognition that that prompt completion of the Peace Process is essential for all the people of the Sudan as it will help in resolving all challenges facing the country."

[30Mulama, "Darfur Overshadows."

[31Ali-Dinar, "Why Khartoum wants a war in Darfur."

[32Lobban, "Complexities of Darfur."

[33See "Sanctions Cannot Solve Crisis in Sudan: Chinese Paper," Sudan Tribune, 16 September 2004, <http://sudantribune.com>

[34The Muslim ’Ulama International Union has been repeatedly announced by Sheikh Qaradawi on al-Jazeera in the state of Qatar, where the sheikh teaches and preaches.

[35Bila Hudud, hosted by Ahmed Mansour, aired on al-Jazeera on 15 September 2004. Since no transcript of the interview was posted on al-Jazeera’s website, the statements quoted here are taken directly from the broadcast interview. A full report on this interview with commentary is available on the Sudanese List at MSU "Belying the DarFur’s Crisis

[36Al-’Awa, interview on Bila Hudud.

[37Al-’Awa, interview on Bila Hudud.

[38Needless to say, the Palestinian crisis is tragically unabated due to the escalated warring practices between Israeli and the Palestinian armed groups, which continue to paralyze endeavors to solve the problem. The activities of Muslim armed groups in Iraq, however, are not moved to challenge the active presence of the American-led international forces directly by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but motivated by deeply entrenched religious conflicts.

[39The Muslim ’Ulama issued an emphatic appeal in 2000 to "Ahl al-Sudan" decrying the split of the NIF terrorist factions and calling on the people of Sudan to support their unification. See the full text of Nida ila Ahl al-Sudan [Call on the People of Sudan] at www.shro-cairo.org.

[40Al-’Awa, interview on Bila Hudud.

[41Kofi Annan quoted in Agence France-Presse, "Secretary General Made Another Appeal on Darfur," Sudan Tribune, 24 September 2004, <http://sudantribune.com> .

[42Olusegun Obasanjo quoted in Agence France-Presse, "Secretary General."

[43Mulama, "Darfur Overshadows."

[44The Security Council resolved: "Recalling its resolution 1556 (2004) of 30 July 2004, the statement of its President of 25 May 2004, its resolution 1547 (2004) of 11 June 2004 and resolution 1502 (2003) of 26 August 2003, and taking into account the Plan of Action agreed by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative to Sudan and the Government of Sudan; welcoming ... the progress achieved on humanitarian access, and expressing concern that ... the Government of Sudan has not fulfilled the entirety of its commitments under resolution 1556 (2004) ? deplores the recent ceasefire violations by all parties, in particular the reports by the Cease Fire Commission of Government of Sudan helicopter assaults and Janjaweed attacks on Yassin, Hashaba and Gallab villages on 26 August 2004." Resolution 1564 (2004), 18 September 2004, <http://www.un.org/Docs/sc/unsc_resolutions04

[45Nicholas D. Kristof, "Urgent Action Needed to Stop Sudan Atrocities," Independent Record, 12 September 2004.

[46AU Commission Chairman Alpha Oumar Konare flew to Ndjamena and launched a ceasefire commission [representing] the Sudanese government and the opposition as well as mediators from the AU, the US, and the host nation Chad." Wang Fengfeng and Li Dawei, "Sufficient Funding for AU’s Darfur Peace Efforts Indicator of Commitment," Sudan Tribune, 4 July 2004, <http://sudantribune.com> .

[47Besides the efforts of Sudan’s western neighbors, to the south, Kenya hosted the north-south peace talks and Uganda’s government is bitterly fighting the Lord Army rebels throughout its border with the south, to say nothing of the embattled Congo. Sudan is near three Arab states, Egypt to the north, Libya to the west, and Saudi Arabia across the Red Sea. The eastern border accommodates the Horn nations, Ethiopia and Eritrea. For a recent report on the Ethiopia-Eritrea border dispute, see Anaclet Rwegayura, "Ethiopia-Eritrea: Has the Algiers Accord Been Ditched?" Sudan Tribune, 2 June 2004, <http://sudantribune.com> .

[48The AL Fact Finding Commission report of May 2004 has not been made public. The report’s condemnation of gross human rights violations in Darfur, including its attribution of responsibility to government administrators, however, has been widely cited. See, for example, Susan Taylor Martin, "Arab Hands Stained by the Bloodshed in Sudan," St. Petersburg (FL) Times, 8 August 2004; "Rights Group Call on Arab League to Condemn Atrocities in Darfur," PolitInfo.com, 7 August 2004; and El-Tigani, "Government Lies."

[49The experiences of SHRO-Cairo are revealing in this area: Lebanon, Jordon, and Syria scored among the worst records of harassing Sudanese African refugees even when they asked only for a short stay until they could be received through UN refu-gee agencies by a Western host country.

[50Mutua, "Racism at the Root."

[51"European Union welcomes the adoption of UNSC resolution 1564 on Sudan," Sudan Tribune, 22 September 2004, <http://sudantribune.com> .

[52Human Rights Watch mentions that Swedish Lundin Oil AB, a lead partner in the consortium that owned Block 5A, sold its owned 40.375 percent to Petronas of Malaysia. Canadian Talisman also sold its holdings and left the area in response to American and international pressures to observe the human rights of the inhabitants. On the other extreme, ignoring the hu-man rights issue, Qatar Gulf Petroleum Company, with China National Petroleum Company, Al Harth (private), and state-owned Sudapet, developed Block 387 in Eastern Upper Nile. The site was rife with government militias fighting SPLA and other southern warring groups. Gross human rights violations were thus committed, destroying the area and disrupting the en-vironment and the social life of the indigenous populations. Sudan, Oil, and Human Rights. <http://www.hrw.org/reports/2003/sud...>

[53Sudan Tribune, 18 September 2004, <> . See also "Germany to send aircraft planes to Sudan," Sudan Tribune, Saturday November 13th, 2004.

[54Transcript of the Candidates’ First Debate in the Presidential Campaign," New York Times, 1 October 2004.

[55"US Congress to examine a resolution on the support of terrorism by Sudanese officials," Sudan Tribune, Tuesday April 6th, 2004. Earlier "Congressmen request President Bush to investigate the role of Sudanese official sin terrorism acts," Sudan Trib-une, Wednesday February 11th, 2004. Also see: Sudan PM reacts to US Congress members call for trial of 12 officials," Sudan Tribune, April 10th, 2004.

[56These included Ali Osman Mohammed Taha, first vice president; Dr. Nafee Ali Nafee, minister of the federal government and former minister of the interior (external intelligence); Dr. Ghazi Salahadin, presidential advisor and senior member of the National Islamic Front; Dr. Awad Ahmed El Jaz, minister of energy and mining; Dr. Mutref Sadig Nimeri, director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and intelligence chief at the time of the assassination attempt against President Hosni Mubarak; Dr. Qutbi Al-Mahdi, former external intelligence chief; Major General Salah Abdallah, director of the Internal Security Branch; Major General El Hadi El Nakasha, minister of cabinet affairs; Dr. Abul Karim Abdalla, director of the External Security Branch; Major General Osama Abdalla, National Congress Party; Major General Jamal Zamgan; and Major General Emad El Din Hussein.

[57See the article by Ali Askouri, president of the Leadership Office of Hamadab Affected People, "The Merowe Dam: Con-troversy and Displacement in Sudan," Forced Migration Review 21 (2004): 56-7.

[58Sudan Tribune, 18 September 2004. However, under the urging of the African Union and the UN secretary-general, China did refrain from blocking the adoption of the draft resolution supporting the AU deployment in Darfur

[59Eric Reeves, e-mail to Sudan-L and Sudanese mailing lists, "In response to the question, ’Is the Darfur conflict genocide?’" 21 June 2004. Also see this writer’s reply in the same lists.

[60John Prendergast quoted in Charles W. Corey, "Sudan Government At Critical Point, Africanist Warns," allAfrica.com, 27 September 2004, <http://allafrica.com/stories/200409...> (22 December 2004).

[61Mutua, "Racism at the Root."

[62"Appeal to the World on the Human Crisis of Darfur" was originally drafted in July 2004 by Dr. Hassan Mohamed Salih and edited by Suad Ibrahim Ahmed, Dr. Laura Nyantung Beny, and Mahgoub El-Tigani. It was posted on the Internet by Jamal Mahgoub and Nasr Haggam of the Dar al-Intifadah list, adopted by the Darfur-Task Group led by Dr. Sondra Hale, Dr. Laura N. Beny, Dr. Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban, and other members of the U.S.-based Sudanese Studies Association, and then widely dis-seminated by SHRO-Cairo, sudanonline, and the other Sudanese websites. Hundreds of people signed the appeal from all over the world, including Sudanese nationals at home and abroad.

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