Darfur: Radio Dabanga News Digest Number 27 | 24 October 2015: An ongoing chronicle of human suffering and destruction—and international indifference
This twenty-seventh installment of Darfur: Radio Dabanga News Digest focuses on events of the past two weeks, including violence and insecurity in Darfur and the continuing deterioration in humanitarian conditions throughout Darfur and much of Sudan. The digest yet again focuses on those stories most illustrative of the grim relief needs affecting millions of Sudanese; these are communities that have suffered most and experienced the greatest harm at the hands of the Khartoum regime, with critical support from various European and other financial institutions (BNP Paribas most conspicuously). Humanitarian programs, including those of the UN’s World Food Program, are desperately underfunded. Even a recent infusion of cash resources from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund leaves funding for this year’s critical humanitarian relief efforts hovering around 50 percent—with roughly 50 percent unfunded with just over two months remaining in the year.
Throughout Darfur and indeed much of Sudan, various humanitarian indicators continue a relentless deterioration. Additionally, the most recent reports from OCHA present a truly terrifying portrait of malnutrition throughout Sudan, but especially in Darfur, where most of the region is indicated as suffering from Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rates that are above the emergency humanitarian threshold; large excerpts from the report and commentary may be found here. Huge swathes of eastern Sudan, Blue Nile, and other areas also have GAM rates above the emergency threshold.
There is not enough food in the camps for displaced persons in Darfur; here a boy in Zamzam camp tries to extract as much as possible from his food ration
International failure to come to terms with the real nature of the Khartoum regime continues to be on painful display. The U.S. and Europe have never seemed more powerless in bringing about the changes necessary if Sudan is to escape the 26 years of brutal tyranny by the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party, and its endless wars on its own people. Khartoum’s imposition of a humanitarian embargo on large parts of South Kordofan and Blue Nile—dating to June 2011—continues without meaningful international objection or pressure on Khartoum to relent this brutal war strategy of killing civilians to weaken rebel forces. The African Union has proved both feckless and corrupt in its dealings with Khartoum.
Khartoum recently blocked critical food supplies to UNAMID, even as—shockingly—the Sudanese ambassador to Rome-based U.N. agencies, Amira Gornass, was elected as the next chairperson of the FAO’s Committee on Food Security. Reuters reports the response of one (characteristically unnamed) Western UN diplomat: (the full dispatch appears in the body of the digest):
“It’s completely outrageous that in the same week we find out the Sudanese government has been blocking food supplies to peacekeepers, that they would even consider putting forward a candidate for the committee on world food security,” a Western UN diplomat in New York said on condition of anonymity.
“Outrageous,” to be sure, but blocking food to UNAMID is entirely consistent with Khartoum’s policies for many years. In Darfur, more than thirty international humanitarian organizations have been expelled—or compelled to leave because of violence—and increasingly face funding shortages. Organizations that remain and are presently at work deserve the most urgent of funding.
The blocking of food deliveries to UNAMID is a continuation of Khartoum’s harassment, obstruction, denial of access, and deadly violence directed against the UN/AU peacekeeping force. But this incident may well mark the beginning of a more concerted campaign to compel the force to leave Darfur entirely (it has already been drawn down by some 8,000 personnel, despite the growing violence in the region). Khartoum is demonstrating its leverage in negotiations over an “exit strategy,” which the regime is attempting to expedite (see lead section of this digest).
[Per usual, Sudan Tribune has again been the source of several key reports on Darfur and the growing political crisis in Sudan. Because the News Digest now appears on a biweekly basis, dispatches will typically be reduced to the title, the URL (always embedded in the title), and perhaps a key sentence—and much diminished commentary will be even briefer.]
[For previous Radio Dabanga Digests, see:
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 1 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1CD [28 February 2015]
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 2 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1De
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 3 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Dt
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 4 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Ei
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 5 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1EL
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 6 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Fp [April 6, 2015]
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 7 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1FL
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 8 | http://wp.me/s45rOG-6452
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 9 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Gi
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 10 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Gt
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 11 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Hq [May 10, 2015]
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 12 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1HY
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 13 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Ia
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 14 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1II
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 15 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Ji
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 16 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1JU [June 14, 2015]
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 17 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Kp
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 18 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1L7
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 19 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Lm
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 20 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1LM
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 21 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Mv [August 2, 2015
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 22 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1MX
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 23 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Nr
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 24 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1NH
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 25 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1NT
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 26 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1O6 [October 11, 2015]
Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 27 |
[All emphases in all quoted material (in bold) have been added; all editorial comments are in italics, in blue, with my initials following; a useful and quite recent administrative map of Darfur appears here.]
 KHARTOUM, THE UN, AND UNAMID’s “STRATEGY” FOR LEAVING DARFUR; AL-BASHIR’S ANNOUNCEMENT OF A “DARFUR REFERENDUM”
§ The Fate of UNAMID:
• Discussions on UNAMID exit from Darfur to resume: Foreign Minister | October 13, 2015 | Khartoum
Next month, the African Union, United Nations, and Sudanese government officials will resume preparations for a strategy draw-up for the exit of the AU-UN peacekeeping Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), a spokesman for the government said on Sunday.
• Discussions over UNAMID exit strategy to resume [in] November | Sudan Tribune | October 11, 2015 | Khartoum
The African Union, United Nations and Sudan tripartite mechanism will resume discussions next month on an exit strategy of the hybrid peacekeeping mission from Darfur…
• Sudan accused of withholding UNAMID supplies | October 15, 2015 | New York
[We can expect to see more such tactics, of increasing forcefulness, deployed by Khartoum to accelerate negotiations over a UNAMID “exit strategy”—ER]
• “Sudan, accused of blocking peacekeeper rations, gets UN food post” | (Reuters [United Nations], October 15, 2015)
Sudan’s ambassador to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) was elected to a key United Nations food security post on Thursday, amid accusations that Khartoum is withholding food rations from international peacekeepers in Darfur. “It’s completely outrageous that in the same week we find out the Sudanese government has been blocking food supplies to peacekeepers, that they would even consider putting forward a candidate for the committee on world food security,” a Western UN diplomat in New York said on condition of anonymity.
Sudanese ambassador to Rome-based UN agencies, Amira Gornass, was elected as the next chairperson of the FAO’s Committee on Food Security earlier on Thursday. The committee is an intergovernmental forum that reviews food security policies worldwide and reports to the UN Economic and Social Council. The announcement of Gornass’ election follows allegations from New York that the Sudanese government has been refusing to release food rations and other essential supplies for UN-African Union peacekeepers in Sudan’s conflict-torn Darfur region, known as UNAMID.
A senior diplomat from Sudan’s UN mission did not respond to repeated requests from Reuters for comment. Humanitarian organizations and human rights groups have long accused the Khartoum government of slowing or blocking the delivery of food aid to displaced persons in Darfur and the Blue Nile State.
The logo of the Committee on Food Security of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO); although the FAO is generally regarded as one of the more effective agencies within the UN, that reputation will suffer badly by virtue of having its Committee on Food Security led by an appointee of the Khartoum regime
• Sudan starts releasing blocked UNAMID supplies | October 22, 2015 | New York
§ The folly of a “Darfur Referendum”:
• Al Bashir plans referendum in Darfur | October 20, 2015 | Khartoum
In the context of pretending that the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur remains relevant, al-Bashir again touted a National Dialogue that is in shambles (see “Sudan’s National Monologue,” by Omer Ismail, Sudan Tribune, October 24, 2015: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article56827/). In referring to Darfur specifically as part of a “comprehensive solution” to Sudan’s problems, al-Bashir declared:
“Arrangements are proceeding well to hold a referendum in all Darfur states in April 2016, in order to lay the foundation for the future that is characterised by rational political practice in the region.”
[This in all likelihood is the date by which UNAMID withdrawal from Darfur is to be well underway, with a clear timeline for complete withdrawal. Al-Bashir is offering “window dressing” for what will be a catastrophic exit from a region that is still in the midst of genocidal destruction. The very idea of holding a meaningful referendum in Darfur is grotesquely absurd—ER]
• “Darfur needs disarmament and stability, not a referendum” | October 22, 2015 | Khartoum
• “Darfur displaced and refugees not part of National Dialogue” | October 12, 2015 | Darfur
 KEY HUMANITARIAN ISSUES IN DARFUR
§ Critical Needs:
• “Funding woes force NGO from Garsila, formerly West Darfur” | October 4, 2015 | Garsila, formerly West Darfur
[Norwegian Church Aid is withdrawing from one of the most desperately need locations in all of Darfur—ER]
• European Commission for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection assessment, October 5, 2015
“Some 6.6 million people are reliant on some form of humanitarian assistance in Sudan.”
“Meanwhile, the conflict in both Blue Nile and South Kordofan states has affected over 1.1 million people, resulting in an increasing number of Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia and South Sudan, as well as nearly 380,000 internally displaced persons. In addition and since conflict broke out in South Sudan, over 190,000 South Sudanese refugees are estimated to have sought refuge in the southern states of Sudan.”
“One in every three children aged under five is stunted and one in six weighs too little for his or her height. Four states, including North Darfur, have acute malnutrition levels.”
• These figures complement the shocking findings promulgated by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) from this past August:
In Sudan 3 million children under age 5 suffer from malnutrition. Data from OCHA also reveal that 2 million children under age five suffer from chronic malnutrition; a further 1 million suffer from acute malnutrition; and of these acutely malnourished children, 550,000 are severely malnourished and at risk of death.
What a malnourished child looks like (from earlier famine days in South Sudan)
• Darfur Regional Authority Agriculture Minister predicts food shortage in Darfur | October 7, 2015 | Kass, North Darfur
§ Viral Hemorrhagic Fever (VHF) threat:
• Hemorrhagic fever, malaria spread in [formerly West] Darfur | October 18, 2015 | Zalingei, West Darfur |
• Concern as fever spreads in [formerly West] Darfur | October 20, 2015 | Zalingei, formerly West Darfur
In a subsequent dispatch (October 21, 2015 | Ed Daein / Zalingei) Radio Dabanga reported on the response of Khartoum to this deadly threat:
People in Ed Daein, capital of East Darfur, took to the streets this morning in protest against the silence of the authorities regarding the spread of hemorrhagic fever in the state.
The demonstrators went to the East Darfur Parliament building, where they called for the dismissal of the state Minister of Health, an activist told Radio Dabanga from Ed Daein. “A few days ago, the Minister said that East Darfuris suffering from fever are afflicted with malaria,” he explained. “Yet, after Eisa Omar Adam, a forest manager in Ferdous locality, died of hemorrhagic fever, and infected two others, who are currently being treated at Ed Daein Hospital Daein, the people decided to stage a protest.” The chairman of the Parliament addressed the demonstrators and summoned the Minister of Health, who confirmed the emergence of hemorrhagic fever, and the existence of two patients at the hospital.
A medical team from the federal Ministry of Health arrived at Ed Daein later today [the first case was reported in July—ER]. A medic told Radio Dabanga that the team immediately proceeded to take samples from patients in all districts of the East Darfur capital. The suspect cases will be transferred to quarantine, the medical source said. The team will conduct tests in all the localities. He added that the residents of Ed Daein are terrified of the disease. “It is paralysing life in the city to a large extent.” Viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) affects many organs, damages blood vessels, and affects the body’s ability to regulate itself. While some types of hemorrhagic fever viruses can cause relatively mild illnesses, many of these viruses cause severe, life-threatening disease. [Ebola and Marburg are two other well-known forms of viral hemorrhagic fever—ER]
The displaced in Zalingei and Wadi Salih localities are also extremely worried about the spread of hemorrhagic fever. The coordinator of the Central Darfur camps told Radio Dabanga three days ago that 39 camp residents in Zalingei locality are afflicted. 16 of them had died. [This is an extremely high mortality rate, although without more data it will be impossible to determine just how dangerous the disease is; Khartoum’s initial refusal to acknowledge or address the medical issue is all too predictable and may have terrible consequences—ER] “The first case was recorded in July and the latest victim was a child from Hamidiya camp that died in Zalingei Hospital,” he said.
• South Darfur denies hemorrhagic fever outbreak | Sudan Tribune | October 22, 2015 | Nyala, South Darfur
South Darfur health authorities denied hemorrhagic fever outbreak in the state and reiterated its readiness to control the disease.
• Health Minister recognises hemorrhagic fever in Darfur | October 23, 2015 | Khartoum / Darfur
• Haemorrhagic fever kills four in Central Darfur | October 7, 2015 | Zalingei, formerly West Darfur
§ Other threats:
• “Measles cases in Sudan five times the annual average”: UNICEF | October 22, 2015 | Khartoum
• Two children die of scorpion stings in North Darfur | October 1, 2015 | El Kuma / Zamzam camp
Scorpions have proved a particularly deadly menace this year in camps for the displaced
• Women in South Darfur’s Kalma camp “struggle to cope” | October 19, 2015 | Kalma camp
On Sunday, more than 150 women living in Kalma camp for the displaced in South Darfur discussed their situation after the distribution of food rations stopped two months ago. Kalma camp resident Hawa Mohamed Seifelnaser told Radio Dabanga that the living conditions “rapidly deteriorated after the organisations left the camp. We find it hard to cope. The main problem is that there are no work opportunities inside the camp,” she said. “And if we leave the camp, we may be beaten, raped, and robbed.”
[It is an outrage that the international community has allowed Kalma camp—the largest IDP camp in Darfur, with over 150,000 displaced civilians—to be reduced to this condition. The camp lies just a few miles outside Nyala—capital of South Darfur and the largest town in all of Darfur—ER]
• Whooping cough outbreak in North Darfur | October 14, 2015 | El Sareif Beni Hussein
The State Ministry of Health in North Darfur has reported the outbreak of whooping cough in El Sareif Beni Hussein locality in early September. As of 7 October, 323 suspected cases of the highly contagious disease were reported in the locality. Preparations are underway to conduct a vaccination campaign for children under five in the locality, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Sudan reported in its latest news bulletin.
In mid-September, the Health Ministry sent an investigation team to El Sareif Beni Hussein. The team collected 13 samples that were sent to the National Public Health laboratory for analysis, four of which tested positive for whooping cough.
Whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial disease of the respiratory tract. It occurs mainly in infants and young children, and is easily transmitted from person to person, mainly through airborne droplets. A whooping cough outbreak was reported in El Sareif Beni Hussein in November 2013. At least two people died from the disease.
• Food poisons 81 children in North Darfur camp | October 14, 2015 | Zamzam camp
§ Outside Darfur:
• Humanitarians find 23,000 displaced in Sudan’s Blue Nile | October 14, 2015 | Ed Damazin
[The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported in considerably more detail on the recent rapid survey by the World Food Program of those displaced from just one locality (Bau) in Blue Nile, where a Khartoum-imposed humanitarian embargo remains in place:
WFP: Some 23,000 IDPs need aid in Blue Nile
In late September, the World Food Programme (WFP) conducted a rapid food security assessment in five locations in Blue Nile State to determine the needs of people who arrived from Bau locality. According to the mission report—which was just released— about 23,000 people moved to five locations in Ed Damazin, El Roseires, and Bau localities. The mission included representatives from the Government’s Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC), the Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS), the national NGOs Mobadiroon and El Shabaka Organization and the United Nation’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The mission only assessed the food security of these displaced people, however, other needs—such as emergency shelter and household supplies and access to schools—were observed.
In Ed Damazin locality, some 300 displaced people had arrived in Haroun al Mahata village from Midyam village in Bau locality in April. The displaced people—mostly farmers—were well received by the host community who provided them with water and local materials to build shelters. In El Roseires locality, some 3,500 people left their homes in Sheneisha village and settled in an open area nearby, close to the Blue Nile River. The host community shared with the displaced people water, food and shelter materials.
An estimated 6,700 people from 13 villages in Geissan and Bau localities arrived in El Gerri in April and a further 9,300 people arrived in El Azaza village from seven villages in Bau locality. In Bau locality, some 3,100 people arrived from Derang village and settled in Shahid Afandi village. The host community provided them with water and they received some assistance from NGOs and local government authorities. In all five locations, the displaced people were found living in temporary housing built of grass and bamboo, which does not provide adequate protection from the rains.
Most of the displaced people do not have sufficient space to build more structures and families are living in cramped environments. The displaced people said they will remain in these areas until secure conditions and stability is established in their places of origin. Food was identified as the major need of the displaced people. Food insecurity is a major concern in the assessed areas with displacement, loss of assets, limited livelihood opportunities and increased food prices. Some of the displaced people report having reduced the number of meals eaten per day and limiting portion sizes to save food for children and elderly people. Others said they started consuming less preferred foods…[e.g., grass—ER]
[We must remember that there are many hundreds of thousands of people in similarly dire straits in South Kordofan and Blue Nile—ER]
 VIOLENCE AGAINST CIVILIANS
§ The scourge of sexual violence continues unabated:
• Woman of 60 gang-raped in North Darfur | October 22, 2015 | Kutum, North Darfur
• Two gang-raped in Central Darfur | October 11, 2015 | Zalingei
• Four gang-raped in North Darfur’s Tawila locality | October 18, 2015 | Tawila, North Darfur
• Minors among six North Darfur rape victims | October 15, 2015 | Tawila
• Firewood collectors killed, raped in Darfur’s East Jebel Marra | October 21, 2015 | Khazan Tunjur
• “Increase in fistula cases”: Darfur Health Minister | October 15, 2015 | El Fasher
The Minister of Health of the Darfur Regional Authority reported on Tuesday that the maternity mortality rates increased in Darfur since 2006, owing to the rise of urinary fistula cases. DRA Health Minister Ferdaus Abdelrahman told reporters in the North Darfur capital El Fasher that according to surveys conducted during the period between 2006 and 2010 the number of fistula cases significantly increased, causing a rise of maternity mortality rates, especially in South and West Darfur.
[Radio Dabanga seems peculiarly ignorant of the primary cause of fistulas, or perhaps is simply offering the view presented by the Darfur Minister of Health:
Most often, [fistula] occurs when a woman endures obstructed labour without appropriate medical care.
This is simply not true, and there are much more perspicuous accounts readily available, and the make clear the direct relationship between rape and fistulas, especially the gang-rapes and rapes of girls that have been a weapon of war since the beginning of the genocide—see research summary immediately below—ER]
Traumatic fistula is “an abnormal opening between the reproductive tract of a woman or girl and one or more body cavities or surfaces, caused by sexual violence, usually but not always in conflict and post-conflict settings.” [source: Acquire Project, June 2006, “Traumatic Gynecologic Fistula: A Consequence of Sexual Violence in Conflict Settings, A report of a meeting held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, September 6-8 2005.”
It is a result of direct gynaecologic trauma, usually from violent rape, mass rape, including forced insertion of objects such as gun barrels, beer bottles and sticks into a woman’s vagina. The brutal rape can result in genital injury and can lead to the formation of a rupture, or fistula, between a woman’s vagina, her bladder, rectum, or both.
Women with fistula are unable to control the constant flow of urine and/or faeces that leak from the tear. Affected women are often divorced by their husbands, shunned by their communities, and unable to work or care for their families. [source: EngenderHealth, 2005, “Traumatic gynecologic fistula as a consequence of sexual violence in conflict settings: A literature review,” New York: The ACQUIRE Project].
Traumatic fistula, therefore, compounds the psychological trauma, fear and stigma that accompanies rape—with the same risk of unwanted pregnancy, vulnerability to sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, and diminished opportunities to marry, to work or be participate in the larger community.
Expert surgeons trained in fistula repair can mend the damage. Post-operative care should include trauma counseling, rehabilitation and even physical therapy. As with obstetric fistula, however, some women are unable to heal even after several surgeries, and are left permanently damaged.
[additional sourcing in this overview: Muleta, M., and Williams, G. 1999. Postcoital injuries treated at the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital, 1991–97. Lancet 354 (9195): 2051–2052; Sharma, G. P. 1991: Post-coital vesico-vaginal fistula (a case report). Medical Journal Armed Forces India 47(3): 223–224, Parra, J. M., and Kellogg, N. D. 1995. “Repair of a recto-vaginal fistula as a result of sexual assault. Seminars in Perioperative Nursin” 4(2): 1 40–145 quoted in EngenderHealth, “Traumatic gynecologic fistula.”](Friends of UN Population Fund)
[Photographs of fistulas can be found at http://diseasespictures.com/anal-fistula — I could not bring myself to post them]
[If data from Darfur were provided for the years 2003 – 2005—the first years of the genocide, and not included in the period referred to by the Minister of Health—they would show what data from 2006 – 2010 show. Like malnutrition data for Darfur, however, these are not data that will be shared publicly by the regime—ER]
§ Continuing appropriation of and attacks on farmland by Arab militias and Sudan Armed Forces (SAF):
• Darfur’s East Jebel Marra bombed, farms attacked | October 15, 2015 | East Jebel Marra
The Sudanese Air Force conducted a series of aerial bombardments on the southern part of Tawila locality, North Darfur, traditionally called East Jebel Marra, over the weekend. The farmers in the area complain about repeated attacks by militiamen and new settlers during the past few weeks.
Multiple sources reported to Radio Dabanga from the area that two Antonov and two MiG fighter jets dropped dozens of barrel bombs north of Dubo El Madrasa and east of El Aradeib El Ashara on Saturday and Sunday. A resident of El Aradeib El Ashara said that 18 bombs were dropped on the area east of the village. “The bombings did not cause any casualties, but set fire to a vast area and created panic and fear among the people. Most of them fled.”
During the past few weeks, militant herdsmen and news settlers expelled villagers from their farms and homes in the area. “The herders repeatedly threaten to kill us if we do not let them graze their livestock on our farms,” a farmer informed Radio Dabanga. He said that militant herdsmen assaulted farmers in the areas of Katur, Koto, Tokomari, Dali, Nemra, Dubo El Madrasa, and Burra. “Also there, they drove their livestock onto farms by force of arms. We filed several complaints to the Commissioner of Tawila locality and other North Darfur officials, but they did not respond.”
The villages of Dowa, Dady, Keira, and Dolma were attacked by large groups of new settlers, a resident of Dady reported to Radio Dabanga. “Most of us fled to Tabit, Koto, and Hashaba,” he said.
[Peace cannot come to Darfur so long as farmland continues to be appropriated by Arab militia forces, many of them not from Sudan but operating freely, without constraint by Khartoum. This is part of the campaign to “change the demography of Darfur, clearing it of African tribes”—an ambition first articulated in a memo from Musa Hilal, the notorious Janjaweed leader, in August 2004. Indeed, peace cannot come to Darfur until the original African owners of these lands see them restored; what is occurring now makes peace impossible to imagine—ER]
• South Darfuri villagers shot to prevent farming | October 18, 2015 | Gireida, South Darfur
• Livestock released on farms in North Darfur | October 12, 2015 | Kutum / Saraf Umra
• Abbala herders enter livestock on South Darfur farms | October 21, 2015 | Nyala
Arab livestock herders, particularly the aballa or camel herders, have proved relentless in their seizure of farmlands and using crops as forage for their animals
• Herders expel returning farmers in Tawila, North Darfur | October 23, 2015 | Tawila
[African farmers continue to be driven from their lands, attacked if they attempt to return or farm them, and must watch as cattle and camels are deliberately let loose on crops nearly ready for harvesting. The animals eat a great deal of food meant for humans, and trample even more of the food grown during this past agricultural season—ER]
§ Violence as a way of life—and death—in Darfur:
• Militia commander threatens to kill South Darfur commissioner | October 16, 2015 | Mershing, South Darfur
Members of a South Darfur militia group shot a farmer from Duma camp for the displaced in Mershing locality on Thursday. A search party, led by the Commissioner of Mershing, that captured two of the killers, had to release one of them after threats by the militia commander. According to a relative of the victim, members of a government militia fired at Idris Adam on Thursday afternoon, when he attempted to chase away their livestock from his farm not far from the camp. “He was killed instantly,” the relative told Radio Dabanga.
He said that a search party, headed by the Commissioner of Mershing, managed to capture two of the perpetrators. “Yet the militia commander, Salaheddin Mousa, who was participating in the search party, suddenly pointed his gun at the commissioner’s face. He threatened to kill him if he would not release one of the captives, who turned out to be his brother.
[The very image of impunity in Darfur—ER]
• Two killed, one injured in Darfur attacks | October 11, 2015 | Gireida / Kabkabiya
• Three killed in West Darfur’s Kereinik | October 12, 2015 | Kereinik
• Sudanese army soldiers shoot six in Central Darfur | October 12, 2015 | Zalingei
• Guard killed, pilot abducted in West Darfur | October 19, 2015 | Kereinik
• Boy of 13 abducted from North Darfur camp | October 15, 2015 | Kabkabiya
[Like so many others, this young boy was abducted as a means of extorting money from his family; this has become a primary means of asset-stripping by Arab militias and outlaws of all sorts–ER]
• Two held by Military Intelligence in West Darfur | October 18, 2015 | Sirba, West Darfur
• Seven dead in North Darfur gunfight | October 16, 2015 | Kutum
• Darfur crime overview: Shootings by militiamen | October 13, 2015 | Kutum /Kabkabiya /Zalingei / Sirba
• Darfur crime overview: Villagers shot, stabbed | October 19, 2015 | Gireida / Nierteti / Kutum
[Even Radio Dabanga has been compelled by the widespread nature of violent crime to provide digests for the numerous incidents reported from all regions of Darfur—ER]
• Central Darfur military intelligence arrests displaced man | October 23, 2015| Nierteti, formerly West Darfur
• Raid in North Darfur crops market | October 23, 2015 | Kabkabiya, North Darfur
Three people were wounded and four others were detained in the crops and tea market in Kabkabiya on Wednesday. Reportedly more than 2,000 market stands were removed.
 FOOD, FAMINE, THE ECONOMY
[Why is Khartoum sending troops to Yemen, even as it prepares for yet another offensive in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, in addition to continuing its violent onslaught in Darfur, targeting primarily farmers from African tribal groups, both in the camps and on their lands? Desperate for hard currency—Forex—Khartoum is attempting to demonstrate to the Saudis and Gulf States that it has truly abandoned what only a year ago was declared to be Sudan’s “strategic alliance” with Iran, mortal enemy of Saudi Arabia. Iran is in no position to assist Khartoum financially; Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, even with the depressed price of crude oil, can easily throw a desperately needed lifeline to an economy that continues to implode.
Still, financial assistance from these neighboring Arab countries can only delay, not forestall the final economic collapse of the Sudanese economy. Khartoum will, however, take whatever it can get to prolong its deadly kleptocracy–ER]
• Soaring grain prices in Sudan, famine expected | October 16, 2015 | Nyala / Kassala / Port Sudan
• Pests threaten West Darfur crops: farmers | October 14, 2015 | Sirba, West Darfur
• Famine Early Warning Systems Network, Sudan: Food Security Outlook Update September 2015
For example, in Gadaref, the sorghum price increased 22 percent, and in Sinar, it increased 33 percent. August sorghum prices were, on average, 29 percent below last year and 44 percent above their five-year averages.
[For a great many Sudanese, sorghum is their staple grain food—ER]
 POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS
§ Political Opposition:
• Sudanese opposition alliance describes dialogue conference as “farce” | Sudan Tribune | October 10, 2015 | Khartoum
Sudan’s opposition Alliance of National Forces (ANF) has described the dialogue conference as “farce” and “poorly directed play.”
• Sudanese Dialogue boycott “larger than expected” | October 12, 2015 | Khartoum
• “Darfur displaced and refugees not part of National Dialogue” | October 12, 2015 | Darfur
• Sudanese opposition Reform Now Movement denied meeting permit | October 18, 2015 | Khartoum
• Reform Now Movement to hold public symposium in Khartoum without permit | October 20, 2015 | Khartoum
• Rebels in Sudanese Dialogue make demands | October 13, 2015 | Khartoum
• Umma Party opposes Sudan’s participation in Yemen war | October 22, 2015 | Omdurman
• Six students wounded in Omdurman clash | October 14, 2015 | Omdurman
§ Political repression, censorship:
• Sudanese journalist interrogated again | October 13, 2015 | Khartoum
• Man tortured to death in Khartoum police custody | October 14, 2015 | Khartoum
• Eight Darfuri students detained in Omdurman | October 15, 2015 | Omdurman
• 70 Sudanese joined IS: Interior Minister | October 13, 2015 | Khartoum
• Sudan security summons journalist over IS report | October 16, 2015 | Khartoum
• Opposition criticises method of detention in Sudan | October 13, 2015 | Khartoum
• “Sudanese soldiers, Ethiopians clash in El Gedaref” | October 14, 2015 | El Gedaref / Kassala
• Early cattle migration “may cause tension in Sudan” | October 14, 2015 | Khartoum