Activist Brief : Nine Things You Need to Know About The Conflict in Darfur
The latest round of violence in Darfur – torching of villages, terrorizing civilians, and systematically clearing prime land and resource-rich areas of their inhabitants – has forced the largest population movement since the height of the genocide in the mid-2000s. 300,000 Darfuris have been displaced since the beginning of 2013, adding to the millions already displaced. A new report by the Enough Project,The Economics of Ethnic Cleansing in Darfur, draws on first-hand interviews to challenge the Sudanese government’s oversimplification of the conflict and highlight the recent large-scale violence in Darfur as systematic, state-sponsored, and driven by economic and security objectives. This activist brief provides an overview of the report’s findings.
What has triggered this year’s violence in Darfur?
Renewed violence is tied to the emergence of pressing economic imperatives, largely triggered by the loss of oil revenues following South Sudan’s secession in 2011. As the Sudanese government struggles to develop alternative revenue streams to replace oil and pacify increasingly restless Janjaweed militias, Sudanese government officials are growing willing to fan the flames of violence, even against some traditional Arab allies.
What has changed about the fighting and why?
Until recently, the refugee population in Chad was predominantly from the Masalit, Fur, and other non-Arab tribes; the traditional targets of the government-sponsored Janjaweed. The Janjaweed are now additionally carrying out attacks against Arab groups who have fallen out of government favor. With some of the recent victims now of Arab origin, the situation is more chaotic, though the perpetrators of the violence are still primarily former or current Janjaweed militias. The fighting among different groups in Darfur has allowed the government to reinforce the popular misconception that most of the fighting has been simply a result of “inter-tribal” feuds. Though it is true that competing Arab groups have clashed in the past, the Sudanese government has exacerbated recent disputes and benefits from the latest round of violence by pacifying Janjaweed militias and consolidating economic control over Darfur’s resources.