“Pretending Darfur Isn’t: the world continues to avert its eyes from accelerating human suffering and destruction”
Eric Reeves, 2 June 2014 | http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article51213
The international community is by now quite experienced in pretending that the massive humanitarian crisis in Darfur doesn’t really exist, or exists in some acceptable and remediable form, destined to improve with time. The world has been encouraged in this dangerously expedient ignorance by the likes of Ibrahim Gambari and Rodolphe Adada (both former special representatives of the UN and AU to UNAMID); U.S. special envoy Scott Gration; former UN humanitarian coordinator Georg Charpentier, and UNAMID spokesman Chris Cycmanick. All have suggested, some dismayingly recently, that things aren’t really so bad in Darfur. Charpentier and Cycmanick supported the claims by UNAMID as recently as 2011 that the fighting was minimal. Adada claimed at the end of his tenure in 2009 that there was merely “low intensity” fighting and some carjackings; Gambari claimed at the end of his tenure in September 2012 that he had “achieved all he set out to do” as special representative, and minimized fighting, mortality, displacement, and human suffering. Scott Gration was taken to task by an inter-agency humanitarian group for suggesting (July 2009) that conditions were ripe for returns by Darfuri IDPs.
The history of misrepresentation is long and ugly. Current U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (then Senator and unofficial presidential representative) declared in April 2009 that Khartoum’s expulsion of half the humanitarian capacity in Darfur—thirteen of the world’s finest humanitarian organizations—would be replaced in “a few weeks.” Cynically, he declared that he had Khartoum’s promise on the matter, as if the regime’s promises have somehow meant something in the past. This was an anticipation of the Obama administration’s subsequent “de-coupling” of Darfur from U.S. Sudan policy, and the appointment of a diplomatic lightweight as special envoy for the region (Dane Smith).
Some within the UN system have begun to speak out, and the truths at last spoken are terrifying in their implications:
“Entire generation may be lost in Darfur”: UNICEF Representative in Sudan (Radio Dabanga, KHARTOUM, 12 May 2014) – The UN children’s rights and relief organisation, UNICEF, has warned that an entire generation in Darfur may be lost as a result of more than ten years of violence in the region. “Life in the camps might produce a new generation without ambition,” the UNICEF Representative in Sudan, Geert Cappelaere, said in a press statement issued on Saturday. “In particular as about 60 percent of the displaced in Darfur are minors.”
It requires a willful blindness not to see what is occurring in Darfur, unless one is willing to dismiss entirely the reports that come from the ground—by way of Radio Dabanga, Sudan Tribune, and Radio Tamazuj, and the UN itself on notable occasions. But even the dismissing of these repeatedly confirmed and highly detailed accounts does not explain the silence that has followed the most dire warning from a range of humanitarian organizations still working in Darfur. It is a silence, or near silence, that accompanies even such extraordinary announcements as these about the work in Darfur and Sudan of the International Committee of the Red Cross:
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has expressed regret for Sudan’s suspension of its activities, saying it has led to negative humanitarian implications. ICRC also announced it is laying off 195 employees of its local staff while imploring on Khartoum to reverse its decision and allow it resume its work to help the affected population. Last February, the Sudanese government ordered the ICRC to halt its activities in the country saying that the aid organisation needs to comply with the humanitarian work guidelines and the voluntary work law in order to continue operating in the country.
The ICRC said in statement on Monday [May 19] that its negotiations with the Sudanese government did not yield progress. The ICRC director of operation in East Africa, Eric Marclay, said they expressed willingness to return to the agreement signed with Sudan in 1984 regarding their presence in the country and humanitarian work. He underscored that suspension of their activities which continued for 15 weeks had adverse consequences on the affected population in the conflict zones, adding that they are ready to complete negotiations with the government on the basis of 1984 agreement.
“We are increasingly concerned about the humanitarian situation in some parts of the country and are calling on the Sudanese authorities to lift the suspension – be it on a temporary basis while discussions take place – in order that the humanitarian needs of people benefiting from ICRC programmes can be addressed,” said Marclay from the organisation’s Geneva headquarters.
Last year, more than 426,000 Sudanese living in areas affected by conflict received food aid from the ICRC, and over 325,000 received farming tools and seed. For nomadic communities in Darfur, whose livestock-based livelihoods have been affected by conflict, it supported vaccination campaigns for over a million animals.
In Darfur, a region where water is scarce, access to clean water was improved for over 708,000 people. More than 72,500 patients visited ICRC-supported health facilities last year and over 1,400 persons injured in armed clashes were treated with medical supplies provided by the ICRC. Throughout Sudan, over 6,100 physically disabled people, many of whom lost their limbs as a result of fighting, received services from ICRC-supported limb-fitting and physiotherapy centres.
Last February, Dafalla al-Qureshi, a spokesman for the ICRC office in Khartoum, said that Sudan’s Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) sent them a letter asking them to suspend their activities until they comply with certain conditions. He said that among these stipulations is placing the ICRC budget and funds at the disposal of the Sudanese Red Crescent and not to undertake any activity on the ground before informing Sudanese authorities about its nature and timing. Qureshi said that these conditions are unfair and that the ICRC cannot accept them pointing out that all ICRC offices throughout the world work independently of the authorities of the countries in which they operate. The ICRC began working in Sudan in 1978 according to its website. The organisation says it is helping people affected by the conflict in Darfur, providing seed, tools, food and water and re-establishing contact between people separated by the fighting. The ICRC also promotes international humanitarian law and the protection of civilians affected by the conflict. (ICRC News Release, May 19, 2014; Sudan Tribune, May 19, 2014; Radio Dabanga, May 20, 2014)
Of Western news agencies and newspapers, only Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported briefly on this extraordinary treatment of the ICRC—the very embodiment of neutrality and good faith in conflict situations.
Why is there no outrage? Why are there no consequences for this outrageous effort at extortion? For as noted in the dispatch, Khartoum wants the ICRC to give substantially more funds to the Sudanese Red Crescent, which the regime controls through the Humanitarian Aid Commission; it is an open invitation to graft and corruption, as the ICRC well knows.
This suspension of humanitarian work will cost thousands of lives; how many thousands we can’t know, but it will be an unforgiveable number. Certainly this has been true for previous expulsions, for the ICRC is far from alone in its experience dealing with the Khartoum regime. In addition to more than the 20 previous expulsions (13 occurred in March 2009), the French Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED) was earlier this year shut down and thrown out of Sudan by the regime. As it did during the massive expulsions of March 2009, Khartoum also confiscated all assets of the humanitarian organization. The British humanitarian organization Merlin, playing a key role in West Darfur, was also recently expelled by Khartoum.
In none of these cases has a legitimate reason been given for the expulsions: they are simply part of a war of attrition against civilians in Darfur, primarily the non-Arab or African populations. Indeed, those affected by the expulsions, in the camps and rural areas, are overwhelmingly African. It is not simply a war of attrition, it is genocide by attrition, as has been the case for many years (see Washington Post, April 6, 2008). The UN of course will not acknowledge this reality except indirectly; but the most recent overview from the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs gives some insight, if presenting a timeline for violence that is misleading. Extreme and intensifying violence has defined Darfur for more than two years, and by many measures longer yet. Displacement, which correlates closely with violence or threats of violence in Darfur, increased by 480,000 in 2013, according to UN estimates. Over 1 million people had been displaced in earlier years of UNAMID’s deployment (see “Taking Human Displacement in Darfur Seriously,” updated April 6, 2014):
Darfur: New Humanitarian Needs and Aid Delivery, [OCHA] Fact Sheet, 25 May 2014
Since January 2014, a new wave of insecurity and violence across Darfur has generated enormous additional humanitarian needs. Fighting, tensions and insecurity involved Government forces supported by the Rapid Support Forces, a Government-affiliated militia, as well as armed movements and armed tribal militia. Hostilities and violence have spread across much of North and South Darfur, with spillover effects to West, Central and East Darfur. Since the beginning of 2014, the cumulative number of people who have been displaced stands at 321,929…
[T]he needs of the displaced people are not comprehensively met. Significantly limited space for protection activities, constrained operating conditions, lack of funding and implementation capacity remain key concerns of the aid community.
Again, these shortcomings, this absence of “comprehensive” humanitarian responses, will cost thousands of innocent civilian lives; this is Khartoum’s intent. And all indicators point to growing morbidity and mortality in Darfur, and we are only at the beginning of the rainy season/hunger gap. Most, but not all, of the following dispatches are again from Radio Dabanga unless otherwise indicated. It is of note that in a recent survey conducted by the Information and Media Committee of the Parliament in Khartoum found that “the majority of the people in the Darfur and Kordofan states prefer Radio Dabanga to any national broadcasting station.” It is quite extraordinary that such information should be released publicly, given Khartoum’s aggressive efforts to sabotage and block Radio Dabanga.
What these dispatches reveal is a land without security, in which brutal murder of civilians (including children) is commonplace, in which rape (and gang rape) is committed against African women and girls with complete impunity, in which food and water are often in desperately short supply, in which aerial bombardment of civilians targets continues in breach of international law and UN Security Council Resolution 1591 (2005), and in which the international presence (UNAMID) is failing completely in its primary task of civilian protection. Hundreds of thousands have died over the past decade; hundreds of thousands more may die in the next decade.
Darfur is becoming a wasteland, a land of terrible privation, violence, and death. And yet the world continues to look away.
[All dispatches here are from the past month alone; interpolated commentary is always in italics, as are all emphases in quoted text.]
HUMANITARIAN CONDITIONS, INDICATORS
• Two children starve to death in North Darfur’s Shangil Tobaya
SHANGIL TOBAYA (8 May 2014) – Haroun Yahya Abakar (4) and Dar Elnaeem Omar Saleh (3) died of starvation in the area of Shangil Tobaya on Wednesday. Their families belong to the more than 3,000 newly displaced… FULL STORY
• Food rations stopped in South Darfur camps without knowledge WFP
KUBUM (7 May 2014) – The displaced in the Kubum and Shattai camps in South Darfur have not received food rations since nine months, without the knowledge of the UN World Food Programme (WFP). FULL STORY
• “Huge food gaps in South and North Darfur”: officials
SOUTH DARFUR / NORTH DARFUR (6 May 2014) – Government officials of both South Darfur and North Darfur States are warning for food gaps. According to a report by the South Darfur State’s Ministry of Agriculture, filed at… FULL STORY
• Rains cause damage, deepen misery in South Darfur
EL SALAM CAMP (28 May 2014) – Torrential rains that fell in South Darfur on Sunday and Tuesday have caused losses and severe damage to the displaced of El Salam camp in Nyala. Camp Sheikh Mahjoub Adam… FULL STORY
• Severe drinking water crisis in Bahr El Arab, East Darfur
BAHR EL ARAB LOCALITY (25 May 2014) – The residents of Siad Bara in Bahr El Arab locality in the southern part of East Darfur, complain of a shortage of drinking water. Large numbers of livestock have died. “The only… FULL STORY
• Acute drinking water crisis in West Darfur’s Murnei camp
MURNEI (15 May 2014) – The 76 water pumps at the Murnei camp for the displaced in Kereinik locality, West Darfur, have been idle for three months. “The Murnei camp population, consisting of 127,000… FULL STORY
• “48,000 displaced in West Kordofan need aid”: UN
WEST KORDOFAN (23 May 2014) – Some 38,000 people, both internally displaced persons and new arrivals from South Sudan, need relief assistance in West Kordofan. A further 10,000 people in West Kordofan… FULL STORY
A lack of humanitarian capacity can often have disastrous effects on those newly displaced:
• Registration of newly displaced in South Darfur camp still not completed
EL SALAM CAMP (19 May 2014) – The more than 6,000 newly displaced at El Salam camp in Bielel locality, South Darfur, will be subject to a re-registration and verification procedure, starting today. FULL STORY
• Thousands of displaced in East Darfur in need of aid
YASSIN (8 May 2014) – An estimated 43,300 displaced from different areas in Darfur are sheltering in Yassin, East Darfur. According to findings of an inter-agency mission on 22-24 April, 5,434 people… FULL STORY
Those affected by the decade-long conflict and war of attrition against international humanitarian organizations, while primarily African populations, increasingly include Arab tribal groups:
• “Avoid famine, expedite Ma’aliya-Hamar reconciliation in East Darfur”: Nazir
ADILA LOCALITY (20 May 2014) – A native administration chief in East Darfur has called for speeding up the planned reconciliation conference between the Ma’aliya and the Hamar tribes. “The risk of people… FULL STORY
As food shortages intensify, the consequent inflation in food prices becomes exorbitant, one of our best indicators of impending famine:
• Sudan: Rizeigat tribal leaders warn of food gap, ABU JABRA (23 May 2014) Radio Tamazuj
Bashir Hamdi, a leader of the Rizeigat tribe in Sudan’s Darfur, has warned of a coming hunger in the region amid rising prices. Speaking to Radio Tamazuj yesterday from Abu Jabra Locality, the tribal omda requested the state government to provide assistance to citizens before the rainy season starts. Hamid, who also member of National Congress Party in the state, pointed out that the citizens are suffering from hunger due to soaring prices of products at the market.
• Prices sky-rocketing in North Darfur
EL SAREIF / El FASHER (6 May 2014) – Since one month the main roads to El Sareif Beni Hussein locality in North Darfur are blocked by militia troops. The locality’s population is suffering from the ensuing… FULL STORY
• Acute food shortage, people raid ant hills in East Darfur
SHEIRIA LOCALITY (7 May 2014) – An acute shortage of staple food in Sheiria locality, East Darfur, is forcing people to dig into ant hills in search of stored sorghum grains. The director of the Department of … FULL STORY
The risk of tainted food supplies also increases as delivery times are extended:
• Fears as tainted food kills two children in Darfur’s East Jebel Marra
EAST JEBEL MARRA (18 May 2014) – Two children died after eating biscuits in Kaguro, East Jebel Marra, on Sunday. Speaking to Radio Dabanga, a relative of one of the children said that in the area of… FULL STORY
And there are yet other threats to the food supply in Darfur, including a regime that is desperate for cash at any human cost:
• Market traders file complaint against South Darfur Ministry
NYALA (19 May 2014) -The merchants of the grain, onion, and chilly market in Nyala have filed a complaint against the Ministry of Urban Planning of South Darfur State. The market traders accuse the Ministry of seizing their shops for investment aims, and stripping them of rights they have been enjoying for more than 50 years.
Transport of food is becoming simply too dangerous in some areas, and access is denied in others (e.g., eastern Jebel Marra):
• Commercial convoy looted, vehicles stolen in North and South Darfur
NORTH DARFUR / SOUTH DARFUR (14 May 2014) – A commercial convoy was looted in North Darfur on Tuesday. In South Darfur’s capital Nyala, two vehicles were stolen on Monday. “Government-backed militiamen in eight vehicles… FULL STORY
Humanitarian conditions generally are deteriorating, with an inevitable increase in morbidity:
• Darfur states stricken by bilharzia
KHARTOUM (7 May 2014) – The Federal Ministry of Health revealed on Tuesday that the Darfur states are on the list of Sudanese states most stricken by schistosomiasis (bilharzia). In particular the… FULL STORY
• Spread of diseases in South Darfur’s Kalma camp
KALMA CAMP (4 May 2014) – The population of Kalma camp for the displaced in Nyala locality, South Darfur, complain about an outbreak of diseases. “Bronchitis, scabies, ring worm, and diarrhoea are… FULL STORY
• “Situation in El Sareif Beni Hussein deteriorating”: North Darfur youth
EL SAREIF BENI HUSSEIN (8 May 2014) – The humanitarian situation in El Sareif Beni Hussein locality in North Darfur is deteriorating fast. Since more than one month, the main roads to the locality are blocked by… FULL STORY
• “Unknown disease’ killing livestock in Darfur’s East Jebel Marra
EAST JEBEL MARRA (2 May 2014) – The population of East Jebel Marra complain about the spread of a mysterious disease causing swellings, and killing livestock. “More than 250 goats and sheep died on Thursday and… FULL STORY
MILITARY ACTIONS AGAINST UNAMID AND THOSE IN IDP CAMPS
Increasingly, Khartoum’s means of exercising military power in Darfur is by means of the Rapid Support Forces (SRF)—a re-constituted Janjaweed (see analysis at Sudan Tribune, March 1, 2014) They are heavily armed, and take orders from no local authorities; indeed, they have killed a number of policemen in the course of their directed rampages. The targets are increasingly camps for displaced persons, and the attacks have become more aggressive and violent. The SRF has superseded the Central Reserve Force as the primary instrument of violent civilian destruction in Darfur; however, the CRP (also know as the Abu Tira) are still active and extremely dangerous. Importantly, references to “militiamen” or “militias” are not always unambiguous in the reports below, though more often distinctions are clearly made.
• West Darfur’s capital living in fear of militia attacks
EL GENEINA (4 May 2014) – Residents of El Geneina town are living in fear of militiamen stationed nearby. Militiamen seriously injured a resident of the Aramta camp for the displaced in El Geneina… FULL STORY
• Militiamen terrorise South Darfur: four killed
KASS/MERSHING (31 May 2014) – In South Darfur, two policemen were killed in an attack by five militia members on a police station 21 km west of Kass town on Thursday. Two travellers en route to Nyala were… FULL STORY
• South Darfur villagers flee to Kass fearing herders’ attacks
KASS (25 May 2014) – The population of about 11 villages south of Kass in South Darfur have begun moving to Kass in fear of revenge attacks by militant herders on farmers. Last Tuesday, the… FULL STORY
• Militiamen murder two, loot town in North Darfur’s Kutum
KUTUM (30 May 2014) – Two people were killed, others were injured, and more than ten people went missing in an attack by militiamen on Nurain, 60 km north of Kutum, in North Darfur on Thursday… FULL STORY
• Large numbers of militiamen enter Kabkabiya, North Darfur; policeman shot
KABKABIYA (7 May 2014) – Large numbers of militia troops are entering Kabkabiya town in North Darfur since Friday. On Monday evening, a policeman was killed by bullets. “Large numbers… FULL STORY
• Two gang-raped in Darfur’s Jebel Marra
DERIBAT (22 May 2014) – Three Sudanese Army soldiers reportedly raped two young women near Deribat in Jebel Marra on Thursday. The women, aged 15 and 17, from Talba village, 3km north of Deribat, left… FULL STORY
• Women gang-raped, man murdered in Sani Deleiba, South Darfur
BIELEL (5 May 2014) – Uniformed gunmen raped two women of El Salam camp for the displaced in Bielel locality, South Darfur, on Saturday and Sunday. A resident of El Salam camp resident was shot dead on… FULL STORY
• South Darfur’s Kalma camp registers 19 rape cases within 12 days
KALMA CAMP (1 May 2014) – The Kalma camp for the displaced in Nyala locality, South Darfur, has witnessed 19 rape cases within a period of 12 days. Eight men were assaulted. Saleh Eisa, the secretary-… FULL STORY
• Rapes in South and West Darfur
KALMA CAMP / MURNEI CAMP (25 May 2014) – Three women of the Kalma camp for the displaced in South Darfur were gang-raped on Friday. On Saturday, gunmen raped a Murnei camp resident in West Darfur. Three women (aged 25… FULL STORY
• Abu Tira rape seven, destroy water tank in North Darfur’s Zamzam camp
ZAMZAM CAMP (15 May 2014) – Militiamen and troops of the paramilitary Central Reserve Forces (known as Abu Tira) gang raped seven women of the Zamzam camp for the displaced in El Fasher locality, North… FULL STORY
• Vendor murdered for 30 pounds in Central Darfur
KASS (22 May 2014) – Militiamen killed a vendor (26), and wounded three of his relatives in Kass, Central Darfur, on Thursday. Speaking to Radio Dabanga, a listener said that “two militiamen requested… FULL STORY
• Rapid Support Force troops stationed in South Darfur’s Dereig camp
NYALA LOCALITY (21 May 2014) – Elements of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) entered the Dereig camp for the displaced in Nyala locality, South Darfur, on Monday. They occupied the market and other… FULL STORY
• 19 women tortured for 13 hours in Gireida, South Darfur
GIREIDA (26 May 2014) – A group of 19 women from the Gireida camps for the displaced in South Darfur were beaten and tortured by gunmen on Saturday. A woman from the Abdos camp told Radio Dabanga on Sunday that 19 women from various Gireida camps were collecting firewood and straw in the area of Um Kobe early on Saturday morning, when they were attacked by about 30 Janjaweed [many still refer to the RSF as “Janjaweed,” with good reason—ER] on camels and horses. “The gunmen tried to kidnap four of them. When the women resisted, they were tied, beaten, and tortured from 6am until 7pm.”
• Militia blocks Nyala airport road in South Darfur
NYALA / EL GENEINA (26 May 2014) – Troops of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) blocked the Nyala airport road in South Darfur on Sunday. Three vehicles were stolen in Nyala the same day. Over the weekend, four… FULL STORY
• Militiamen loot ‘lawless’ Central Darfur town
MUKJAR (2 May 2014) – Mukjar town in Central Darfur has been in a state of lawlessness. Militiamen have robbed the citizens of their properties under force of arms, also in houses located near the… FULL STORY
• Militia “toll gates” paralyse transport in North Darfur
KUTUM/TAWILA (27 May 2014) – All the domestic bus travel from El Fasher to Kutum in North Darfur has stopped since Sunday morning. Travel agents have attributed the stop to the increasing number of random … FULL STORY
• Three men abducted, militiamen carry new weapons in North Darfur
KUTUM / EL FASHER (20 May 2014) – A teacher of the Kassab camp secondary school in Kutum locality, North Darfur, has been abducted by militiamen on Thursday. Two young men were kidnapped in North Darfur capital El… FULL STORY
• Abductions in Azum and Um Dukhun, Central Darfur
CENTRAL DARFUR (26 May 2014) – On Friday, a sheikh of Um Shalaya camp for Chadian refugees in Azum locality, Central Darfur, was abducted. In Um Dukhun town, Central Darfur, gunmen kidnapped six people on… FULL STORY
• Displaced killed, injured in Central Darfur, rape in West Darfur
KEREINIK / NIERTETI (19 May 2014) – A militiaman raped a woman in the area of Gargour in Kereinik locality, West Darfur, on Saturday. Two displaced of the Nierteti South camp in Central Darfur were shot dead on… FULL STORY
• Death, injury after “random shooting” in Central Darfur village
ZALINGEI LOCALITY (22 May 2014) – A man was killed and three houses were burned after a random shooting by a group of Abbala herders in the village of Kulkul in Zalingei locality, Central Darfur, on Tuesday. The coordinator of the Central Darfur camps told Radio Dabanga that a group of Abbala tribesmen fired into the air indiscriminately while moving around in the streets of Kulkul for about an hour and a half on Tuesday evening. “Adam Ibrahim Mohamed (62) was wounded, and three houses burned to the ground. The 600 villagers were terrified.”
[The Abbala are Arab tribal groups from which the Janjaweed have been most heavily drawn—ER]
• Janjaweed beat, rob, abduct displaced in South Darfur
KALMA CAMP (13 May 2014) – Militiamen assaulted residents of the Kalma camp for the displaced in South Darfur on Monday. They stole their horses and donkeys, beat a man, and abducted another. On Sunday… FULL STORY
• Woman killed, displaced robbed in Sirba, West Darfur
SIRBA LOCALITY (13 May 2014) – Militiamen shot dead a woman in Manzoula, Sirba locality, West Darfur, on Sunday. On the same day a group of 15 displaced was robbed on the Tandelti-Saraf Jidad camp road.
• Women, child shot dead in Darfur’s Jebel Marra
JEBEL MARRA (12 May 2014) – Two women and a child were shot dead in the area of Dirbat in Jebel Marra on Monday morning. “Aziza Adam Haroun (40) and Hasina Yahya Mohamed (25), together with Mubarak Hussein… FULL STORY
• Woman, children tied to tree at North Darfur market
BIRKAT SEIRA (11 May 2014) – Militiamen captured a woman and two of her children in Birket Seira town in North Darfur’s Saraf Umra locality on Saturday evening. A witness at the central market of Birkat Seira… FULL STORY
• Rapes in Shangil Tobaya and Tawila, North Darfur
SHANGIL TOBAYA / TAWILA (11 May 2014) – Militiamen raped three women of the Shadad camp for the displaced in Shangil Tobaya, 60km south of El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur, this morning (Sunday). On Friday…
Often civilians are caught up in the chaotic violence in which even the identity of the adversaries is not entirely clear:
• Two killed, dozens injured in gunfight at East Darfur market
BAHR EL ARAB LOCALITY (11 May 2014) – Two citizens were killed and more than a dozen others wounded at the Ideina market, in Bahr El Arab locality, East Darfur, in a clash between government forces and armed men on… FULL STORY
• Darfur displaced shot dead on Nierteti road
CENTRAL DARFUR (9 May 2014) – Pro-government militiamen shot dead a displaced man on Wednesday by a roadside in Central Darfur. Relatives of the victim say the deceased was traveling with other people when… FULL STORY
Khartoum continues with its long-time ambition to empty the camps for displaced persons, forcing them to return to lands that are occupied and villages that have been seized by Arab militias or armed settlers. This has been the regime’s goal since early in the conflict and was formalized in the 2010 document “New Strategy for Darfur,” a roadmap for forced returns supported by U.S. special envoy Scott Gration, UNAMID chief Ibrahim Gambari, and Thabo Mbeki, lead negotiator for the African Union.
• “Locality forces us out camps”: South Darfur displaced
KASS (2 May 2014) – The displaced persons living in the camps for internally displaced people in Kass locality, South Darfur, have accused the local authorities of forcing them to leave their camps… FULL STORY
• Displaced without aid, security in Kutum, North Darfur
KUTUM (2 May 2014) – The residents who fled the north-eastern areas of Kutum locality, North Darfur, have renewed their appeal to the authorities and humanitarian organisations to help them. They have… FULL STORY
• Robberies, shooting at Zalingei-Hamidiya camp road in Central Darfur
ZALINGEI LOCALITY (1 May 2014) – The road between Zalingei, the capital of Central Darfur, and the Hamidiya camp for the displaced, has been the scene of several assaults by militiamen this week. “Camp resident… FULL STORY
• Three children killed in missile attack in Darfur’s Nierteti
NIERTETI (16 May 2014) – Three children were killed south of Golo town in Central Darfur state [Jebel Marra] in a missile attack by government forces on Wednesday. One of the relatives of the dead child herders told Radio Dabanga… FULL STORY
• Sudan Air Force bombs market in Darfur’s East Jebel Marra
EAST JEBEL MARRA (15 May 2014) – Aerial bombardments in East Jebel Marra on Wednesday caused the death of two men and a woman, and the injury of others. Livestock died, and a number of houses, and shops caught fire. FULL STORY
This brutal bombardment of civilian targets in Jebel Marra has continued for years; neither UNAMID nor any other international actor of consequence has condemned the attacks in consequential terms. The attacks are completely unreported by international news organizations, largely because Khartoum continues to deny UNAMID access to Jebel Marra to investigate. They are war crimes under the Rome Treaty that is the statutory basis for the International Criminal Court and egregiously violate UN Security Council Resolution 1591 (2005), prohibiting all military flights over Darfur.
UNAMID CONTINUES TO BE AS INEFFECTIVE AND FECKLESS AS IT HAS FOR MORE THAN SIX YEARS
• Gunmen fire over South Darfur camp, UNAMID policemen flee
KALMA CAMP (8 May 2014) – On Wednesday, militiamen stormed Kalma camp for the displaced in Nyala locality, South Darfur. They said they were searching for their stolen sheep. Speaking to Radio Dabanga,… FULL STORY
• UNAMID denied access to newly displaced in Kutum, North Darfur
KUTUM LOCALITY (21 May 2014) – More than 10,000 newly displaced in the Um Gozein mountains in Kutum locality, North Darfur, are in dire need of aid. The people sought refuge in the mountains when the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces attacked their villages southeast of Kutum town in March…. FULL STORY
UNAMID has in effect become complicit in Khartoum’s effort to empty the camps and remove the raison d’être for a continued international humanitarian presence.
• UNAMID moves bases from North Darfur camps
KUTUM LOCALITY (25 May 2014) – The UNAMID teams stationed at the Fata Borno and Kassab camps for the displaced in Kutum locality moved their bases to the town of Kutum on Friday. One of the sheikhs of Fata Borno camp reported to Radio Dabanga that on Friday morning, the UNAMID team stationed in the camp “took all its equipment for water supply, electricity, wires, and tents, and loaded them into large lorries. They transported the equipment to Kutum town, 17km east of the camp.” FULL STORY
Even major urban areas are now subject to the violent predations of the RSF:
Heavy fighting erupted in El Fasher on Tuesday, residents said, breaking an uneasy calm in the second most populous city of Sudan’s restive Darfur region. “They are fighting inside El Fasher town – heavy fighting,” one resident told AFP by telephone, adding that he could not identify the combatants, although some were in uniform. Continuous gunfire was audible over the phone line as he spoke. A second person in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur state, said the shooting started at about 04:00 in the east of the town, and was continuing.
“I heard the sound of heavy weapons,” the resident said. “I am in my house and I’m not going out to work.” Fighting had also been reported in El Fasher on Monday. In early April, El Fasher residents told an AFP correspondent that the town had been gripped with fear for a month, since government-linked paramilitaries arrived…. Residents claimed some were from the Rapid Support Forces, a counter-insurgency unit that the head of the UNAMID peacekeeping mission in Darfur said had “perpetrated attacks on communities” as violence rose to alarming levels earlier this year.” (“Fighting erupts in Darfur’s second city,” Agence France-Presse [Khartoum], May 20, 2014)
As has long been the case, the Janjaweed/RSF have been given free rein to pillage and steal whatever they wish as payment for their services:
• Militiamen steal cars, rob citizens in South Darfur capital
NYALA (27 May 2014) – Elements of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) stole a number of vehicles and robbed residents of Nyala, capital of South Darfur, on Tuesday. Seventeen cases have so far [been reported]. FULL STORY
Tragically, the overall weakness and ineffectiveness of the UNAMID force has cost the lives of many troops from the mission. The SRF have demonstrated open contempt for UNAMID personnel, as suggested in this terrible episode:
• Peacekeepers in North Darfur’s Kabkabiya “shot in front of team site”
KABKABIYA (25 May 2014) – In a press release on Saturday, UNAMID announced that a policeman was killed, and three others were wounded during their attendance of a mediation meeting between a group of Fur… FULL STORY
And there can be little doubt who is responsible for the large majority of direct attacks on these UN-authorized peacekeepers elsewhere in Darfur, something that has long been evident, though unspoken by the UN or UNAMID or any other international actor of consequence. Indeed, evidence for the responsibility of Khartoum and its proxy forces is overwhelming: see “Killing UN Peacekeepers: A Ruthless Proclivity of Khartoum’s SAF and Militia Proxies,” Sudan Tribune, May 9, 2013.
Nothing will change until the realities of Darfur are accepted for what they are and the world exhibits a determination to stop atrocity crimes that are daily events. Neither seems likely.
Northampton, MA 01063
Eric Reeves’ new book-length study of greater Sudan (Compromising With Evil: An archival history of greater Sudan, 2007 – 2012; www.CompromisingWithEvil.org)