Title: Darfur: Three Intense Weeks of Deadly Violence and Destruction
Author: Sudan Democracy First Group
Date: 03-17-2014, 04:23 PM
Sudan Democracy First Group-Violence, displacement and civilian deaths in Darfur have significantly increased since the start of March. Darfur is increasingly disintegrating into a state of anarchy. Inter-tribal fighting in Central and West Darfur states continues to escalate. A Janjaweed militia, renamed the Rapid Support Force (RSF) by the government, has attacked civilians in South Darfur. The rebel Sudan Liberation Movement of Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) attacked several towns in North Darfur. Both Minnawi and Musa Hilal, the infamous Janjaweed leader, report they control over 65% of North Darfur.
Last week, a news release from the UN Mission in Darfur expressed concern over increased violence and mass displacement. On 9 March, the Sudanese government, in a desperate attempt to manage the unfolding crisis in North Darfur, sent the vice-president Hasabo Mohamed Abd-al-Rahman, the Minister of Defence, the Director of the National Security and the Deputy Director of the Police Forces, to Al-Fashir, to discuss the deteriorating situation. The commander of the Sixth Infantry Division, General Hamid Tyrab Al Tahir, based in Al Fashir, was reportedly relieved from his position. Despite the government’s efforts, it is clear they cannot control their former militia allies or defeat the rebels.
In Khartoum, on 11 March 2014, the Darfur Students Association at the University of Khartoum organized a public meeting on the crisis in Darfur. Following the event, around 500 students, mainly from Darfur, staged a demonstration on campus against the escalating violence, which they blamed on the government. Security forces used tear gas, batons and live ammunition to disperse the protestors, dozens of whom were arrested. A third-year student, Ali Abaker Mussa Idris from South Darfur, was shot dead. The police said it would investigate the incident, while blaming unknown armed men for killing the student. The University announced an indefinite closure. Since 2004, government security forces have killed 17 students from Darfur in universities across Sudan.
1. The legacy of the counterinsurgency
The Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) has long depended on militias in its counterinsurgency campaign in ethnically fractured environments, in Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile. Ten years after this policy caused one of the worst human rights and humanitarian disasters in modern times, the Government of Sudan has learned nothing, and persists in pursuing identical policies. This policy comes at high costs to civilians who, in addition are subject to the relentless aerial bombings by Sudan’s Air Force.
As a direct result of this policy, Darfur is awash with weapons. This includes militia forces formally integrated under the command structure of the SAF or the parallel operational command of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS). The most well-known of these proxy forces are the Border Guards, Central Reserve Police, and multiple incarnations of the generic Popular Defence Forces (PDF). The Rapid Support Forces, established in 2013, continue to perpetrate atrocities for which they enjoy total impunity. In addition, there are more informal tribal militias affiliated to the government.
The rebels, and also heavily armed and which have rejected the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), advocating for a comprehensive approach that resolves the root causes of conflicts throughout Sudan: are composed of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), and the two factions of the Sudan Liberation Army – SLM-Minni Minnawi and SLM-Abdel Wahid Nur.