The Darfur Consortium

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Darfur in the News

U.S. and European Media

October 17, 2023

New York Times: In Southern Darfur, Signs of Another Massacre. African Union and United Nations officials are looking into reports of a new massacre in Darfur, in which witnesses said Sudanese government troops and their allied militias had killed more than 30 civilians, slitting the throats of several men praying at a mosque and shooting a 5-year-old boy in the back as he tried to run away. According to several residents of Muhagiriya, a small town in southern Darfur, two columns of uniformed government troops, along with dozens of militiamen not in uniform, surrounded the town around noon on Oct. 8 and stormed the market. Muhagiriya was a stronghold of one of Darfur’s many rebel factions, but witnesses said that there were few rebels there at the time and that government forces turned their guns — and knives — on civilians. Ayoub Jalal, a mechanic, said his father was praying at a mosque when soldiers burst in. “They dragged my father and the others out of the mosque and slashed their throats,” said Mr. Jalal, who was interviewed by telephone. Both the United Nations and the African Union said that dozens of civilians had been killed and that witnesses had consistently identified the attackers as government soldiers and allied gunmen. However, neither entity said it could independently verify who was responsible. “They are all trying to reposition themselves ahead of the cease-fire talks and ahead of the discussions of who controls what,” said Sam Ibok, a senior adviser of the African Union who is closely involved with preparations for the peace talks. He said the descriptions of the attack fit the overall picture of Darfur these days, with rebel forces growing increasingly assertive in the weeks leading to the peace talks and the Sudanese government responding by “trying to reclaim these areas before the cease-fire.”

Reuters: Armed men kill 3 WFP drivers in Darfur. Armed men killed three World Food Programme (WFP) drivers in Sudan's troubled South Darfur, an area which has seen brutal attacks ahead of peace talks due to start this month. "WFP is deeply saddened and shocked by the killings of these brave men, who knew the dangers they were facing but continued to work tirelessly to alleviate suffering and bring food to the hungry in Darfur," said Kenro Oshidari, WFP country director.

Reuters: Chad Declares Emergency In East Over Ethnic Clashes. Chad on Tuesday declared a state of emergency along its eastern border with Sudan's Darfur region and in its remote desert north to tackle a fresh flare-up of ethnic violence that killed at least 20 people. President Idriss Deby's government said the 12-day emergency period applied to the eastern Ouaddai and Wadi Fira regions and the northern part of Chad known as the BET. The move gave local governors 24-hour search and arrest powers and the authority to restrict movement of people and vehicles, meetings and media coverage. The media controls would apply across the whole national territory, officials said. The measures came a day after European Union foreign ministers gave final approval for the upcoming deployment of up to 3,000 European peacekeeping troops in eastern Chad, which has been racked by recurring violence for the last two years. "In addition to the situation of war on the frontier with Sudan which has still not found a definitive solution, we are seeing more and more murderous inter-community conflicts that bring bloodshed to certain regions of the country," Communication Minister Hourmadji Moussa Doumgor said. "The administrative and military authorities of the relevant regions must tackle this intolerable situation with all appropriate means," he added in an official statement.

Christian Science Monitor: How a desert detective found water in Darfur – from half a world away. Farouk el-Baz has been peering into the deserts of the world for 21 years – from hundreds of miles up and 10,000 miles away. The Egyptian-born geologist and his staff pore over satellite imagery at Boston University's Center for Remote Sensing, seeking clues to deserts' most precious resource: water. The water reserves he announced in April may increase an even more precious resource: peace in Darfur. "Providing a source of clean water in this region would remove one of the main sources of conflict," Mr. Baz says, sitting in an office lined with bookshelves, awards, photos of him with various world leaders, and a giant image of the Arabian desert. So important is the potential Massachusetts-size underground aquifer, the remains of a lake that dried up 5,000 to 11,000 years ago, that when the news broke, Baz got a call to speak to the head of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon. A United Nations Environmental Program report released this past June said "serious water shortages" in Darfur, combined with population growth and environmental degradation, "created the conditions for conflicts to be triggered and sustained" between Arab militias and farmers in the region. Some 3.5 million people in Darfur are living without reasonable access to water, says Craig Miller, president of Thirst No More, a humanitarian group based in Texas that is working on water projects in Darfur and Peru. Now the UN, Egypt, and even the Sudan­ese government – which has been accused of complicity in the attacks – have signed on to finance the Baz-initiated "1,000 wells for Darfur" project. First, the UN will dig 24 wells to test Baz's premise once safety conditions on the ground permit, most likely next year. If those wells are successful, they will supply water for the 26,000 UN troops headed for Sudan.

Associated Press: Sudan's foreign minister demoted in cabinet reshuffle. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir demoted his foreign minister and reshuffled the cabinet Wednesday in an effort to save his government of national unity with the former southern rebels. The southern Sudanese People's Liberation Movement, who joined a government of national unity after a 2005 peace deal ending two decades of civil war, recalled their ministers last week in protest of Northern treaty violations. Observers close to the SPLM said one of the concessions they required from Khartoum was the removal of Foreign Minister Lam Akol, viewed as too close to the northerners. Akol, who often appeared in public forums defending the government's action in the war torn western Darfur region, swapped places with Deng Alor, the cabinet affairs minister. Akol, who is widely respected in the north and often fought with northern forces during the civil war and has been accused by southerners of identifying to closely with al-Bashir's National Congress Party. A return to fighting across central and southern Sudan would likely exacerbate the fighting in Darfur, where more than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million been displaced and the world's largest humanitarian relief effort is already under way.


The Darfur Daily News is a service of the Save Darfur Coalition.  To subscribe to the Daily News, please email [email protected]. For media inquiries, please contact Ashley Roberts at (202) 478-6181, or [email protected].

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