Note: This blog contains excerpts from the report “Ominous Threats Descending on Darfur.”
In this report, Enough Project Senior Advisor Dr. Suliman Baldo, analyzes tensions and dynamics surrounding the mandatory weapons collection and unlicensed vehicle regularization/ confiscation campaign that is currently underway in the five Darfur and three Kordofan federal states in Sudan.These tensions are rooted in the Sudanese government’s years of divide-and-rule tactics, and the tensions have grown with an uneven and ill-conceived government disarmament campaign that selectively targets regime opponents and privileges regime allies instead of applying equally to everyone. The campaign prioritizes narrow security interests and regime political survival considerations rather than seeking comprehensive solutions that would end the violence and bring back social peace to regions affected by the proliferation of arms in the hands of primarily paramilitaries and government-sponsored tribal militias. A war of words and a series of defiant statements involving warlord Musa Hilal and Second Vice President Hassabo Abdelrahman have exacerbated the situation and prompted what Dr. Baldo describes as “a volatile, high-stakes armed standoff that could dramatically alter the balance of power of a resource-rich region.” Rival leaders are aligned with powerful armed groups whose internal rivalries threaten to inflict further harm on Darfur’s marginalized population. If the crisis is not managed, there is a risk of what Dr. Baldo describes as “large-scale fratricidal bloodshed.”
Dr. Baldo says, “to lay the foundation for a more effective and broadly beneficial disarmament campaign in Sudan, the Sudanese regime should prioritize a comprehensive and inclusive peace.” “The Sudanese regime should disarm the tribal militias and paramilitary groups that are armed by its own security agencies to curb the violence that occurs in intercommunal clashes in which these militias engage on the sides of their tribes. If the government were to disarm the militias and paramilitary groups that it had armed to begin with, other tribes might be convinced to follow suit.”
“A comprehensive and lasting solution to conflict in Darfur,” says Dr. Baldo, “requires addressing the rights of the 2.5 million direct victims of ethnic purges and pursuing justice and reparations for what they have suffered through no fault of their own. Their right of return to areas from which they were driven during the successive ethnically targeted attacks over the last decade and a half should be respected and facilitated as appropriate.”
Read the full report here.