“We are not safe”: Darfur violence triggers a new displacement crisis humanitarian crisis news
Khartoum, Sudan – Now, for nearly two months, Mariam Hussain has lived in a university building in El Geneina, the capital of Western Darfur, Sudan.
After violence broke out again between Masalit members in the area and the Arab community, armed militias stormed the Abu Zal camp on April 4 and burned it down. The mother of eight children and thousands of others had already The internally displaced people fled there together.
The 56-year-old said: “You can only run with your children and the most important newspaper, and then run.” Since the outbreak of the Darfur war 20 years ago, he has been displaced twice.
Witnesses accused the militia attached to the Rapid Support Force (RSF) of attacking the site, which contained approximately 14,000 people. According to the UN Humanitarian Affairs Agency, the explosion was caused by a shooting. The shooting killed two people in the Masalit community, who subsequently mobilized armed men.
Hussein told Al Jazeera on the phone: “Due to some people’s problems, the militia first attacked so many communities in the Hejab area, killing and burning them until they entered the Abu Zal camp.” “They drove 9 cars with DShK [Russian anti-aircraft weapon] Burned our camp, so we ran away,” she said.
“How can we stay and burn in the fire?”
The recent fighting killed at least 130 people and prompted the Sudanese government to declare a state of emergency in the area. It caused hundreds of deaths in the context of a wave of violence in and around El Geneina and other areas in Darfur and South Kordofan. The escalation also forced the United Nations to suspend all humanitarian activities at the aid delivery center El Geneina, a decision that affected more than 700,000 people.
Many government buildings in the city have now been converted into temporary shelters for the militias of internally displaced persons fleeing their camps.
According to United Nations data, in the first four months of this year, the number of newly displaced persons was approximately 237,000, which is almost five times that of the entire 2020.
This coincides with the withdrawal of the United Nations and African Union Joint Peacekeeping Force (UNAMID) established in 2007 to protect civilians and promote humanitarian assistance.
The withdrawal was after the ambitious signing Peace agreement In October last year, clashes broke out between some insurgent groups and the Sudanese Transitional Government’s neighboring country, Juba, the capital of South Sudan. Most of the groups that signed the landmark agreement are from the Zaghawa community in North Darfur, including the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Army-Minni Minawi (SLA-MM). Since then, Gebril Ibrahim of the Justice Movement became the Minister of Finance of Sudan, and Mini Minawi of the Sudan Liberation Army-MM was appointed Governor of Darfur.
But the SLA faction led by Abdelwahid Mohamed al-Nour did not sign the deal, and the faction has the support of the Fur tribe.
At the same time, some people complained about the implementation of the “Juba Agreement,” which stipulated conditions for some signatories to include insurgents in their security forces, to be politically representative and to have economic and land rights.
Sulieman Sandal, the political secretary of the Justice Movement, said last week: “The government is not enthusiastic, unwilling, and not ready to implement security arrangements.”
The conflict in Darfur broke out in 2003 when most non-Arab insurgents launched weapons against the Arab-controlled central government in the capital Khartoum, accusing it of political and economic marginalization. In response, the longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir armed the RSF to suppress the rebellion. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed in the war and millions were displaced. According to the International Criminal Court (ICC), Bashir was prosecuted for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.
Over the years, the speed of fighting has slowed down, but conflicts will break out regularly. In 2019, Bashir overthrew the army several months after protests to overthrow his rule. This gave many Darfurians hope, but attacks on civilians continued. At the same time, the former RSF commander Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (renamed Hemeti) has become the vice chairman of Sudan’s ruling sovereign committee.
“After the fall of Al-Bashir, the Arab communities were encouraged by the rise of RSF at the national level, but they [are] He also worried that Hemiti’s policy of reconciliation with non-Arab communities and insurgents might backfire. “International Human Rights Federation researcher Jerome Tubaina (Jerome Tubaina) said.
He added: “On their side, Masalit, the historically dominant community in the state, feels that it is time for them to reclaim the land they lost during the war,” he added.
After the overthrow of Bashir and the war began to return to the area, some Masalit fled to neighboring Chad, but they found their land was occupied by Arabs.
The governor of Western Darfur, Mohamed Abdullah Duma, has repeatedly condemned Chadian militias for launching attacks on civilians. At the same time, many Darfurians accused the Sudanese government forces of failing to protect them after the withdrawal of the UN Mine Action Center, and some members of the Masalit community reportedly reformed their militias.
“There are deaths on both sides. All government forces still cannot stop the violence.” Tubiana said of the recent fighting.
He said: “The only hope is that the new joint forces that should be established by the Juba Agreement, including this time the former insurgents, can do better.”
But returning to Ginaina, the displaced civilians still feel insecure.
“We feel unsafe here,” El-Nour Abdullah said in the city’s Ministry of Agriculture building. Since January, after Arab militias burned down the site of displaced persons in Krinding last month, the 35-year-old has lived there with his new wife and parents.
“Even last night, there were shooting incidents among militants at a market in downtown Genina; some [people] Then threatened doctors in the hospital to stop treating other patients and treat the injured,” Abdullah told Al Jazeera.
He said: “There is no sense of security here.”