The Darfur Consortium

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Darfur in the News

U.S. and European Media

September 4, 2023

New York Times: Chaos in Darfur Rises as Arabs Fight With Arabs. Some of the same Arab tribes accused of massacring civilians in the Darfur region of Sudan are now unleashing their considerable firepower against one another in a battle over the spoils of war that is killing hundreds of people and displacing tens of thousands. In the past several months, the Terjem and the Mahria, heavily armed Arab tribes that United Nations officials said raped and pillaged together as part of the region’s notorious janjaweed militias, have squared off in South Darfur, fighting from pickup trucks and the backs of camels. They are raiding each other’s villages, according to aid workers and the fighters themselves, and scattering Arab tribesmen into the same kinds of displacement camps that still house some of their earlier victims. United Nations officials said that thousands of gunmen from each side, including some from hundreds of miles away, were pouring into a strategic river valley called Bulbul, while clashes between two other Arab tribes, the Habanniya and the Salamat, were intensifying farther south. Darfur’s violence has often been characterized as government-backed Arab tribes slaughtering non-Arab tribes, but this new Arab-versus-Arab dimension seems to be a sign of the evolving complexity of the crisis. What started out four years ago in western Sudan as a rebellion and brutal counterinsurgency has cracked wide open into a fluid, chaotic, confusing free-for-all with dozens of armed groups, a spike in banditry and chronic attacks on aid workers. United Nations officials say the militias may be jockeying for power and trying to seize turf before the long-awaited hybrid force of United Nations and African Union peacekeepers begins to arrive, perhaps later this year. Today’s battlefields are superimposed on yesterday’s, with the Arab militias killing one another over the same burned villages and stingy riverbeds where so much blood has already been spilled.

Reuters: U.N.'S Ban Warns Khartoum on Human Rights. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gave Sudan a warning on human rights after arriving on Monday to lay the groundwork for an end to the Darfur conflict through talks and deployment of thousands of peacekeepers. Aides said Ban, on his first visit to Sudan, would seek commitment to his plan from Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and visit a refugee camp in the western Sudanese Darfur region. He met Bashir for dinner on Monday evening. Within hours of arriving, Ban told a Sudanese audience the world was changing its role as a "seemingly helpless witness" to the conflict and served notice that Khartoum's human rights record was under scrutiny. "We only have to look around us to see how far Sudan has to go in upholding human rights and protecting people from suffering," he told the Sudan United Nations Association. "Justice is an important part of building and sustaining peace. A culture of impunity and a legacy of past crimes that go unaddressed can only erode the peace." In an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica on Monday, Ban said Bashir had promised him cooperation in a weekend telephone conversation. "He told me he will do everything to help the mission logistically," he said. "There has to be a political will inside the government of Sudan to move the negotiations and we think there is such a political will," said a senior U.N. official on the trip. In an apparent gesture of goodwill before Ban's visit, a Sudanese official said on Sunday Khartoum was discussing the possible return of the country director of U.S-based aid agency CARE, expelled last week for alleged meddling in internal security. The United Nations had criticized the expulsion.

Reuters: Sudan Promises to Let Sick Darfur Rebel Travel. Sudan's president has promised to let sick Darfur rebel chief Suleiman Jamous travel abroad for medical treatment, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told journalists in Khartoum on Tuesday. Ban said President Omar Hassan al-Bashir had given him a personal pledge that Jamous would be released from effective house arrest as soon as possible. The promise was the strongest sign yet that Jamous could soon be allowed to travel. "President Bashir agreed to his immediate release for medical treatment. Bashir said that Jamous would be taken to Kenya as soon as necessary arrangements had been made," Ban said in an impromptu news conference with journalists at the start of a 6-day tour of Sudan, Chad and Libya. "I appreciate President Bashir's kind gesture," Ban said, adding he had told the Sudanese president that releasing Jamous would "create a favorable atmosphere for the peace process." Jamous, the Sudan Liberation Army's humanitarian coordinator, was the key liaison between Darfur insurgents and the world's largest aid operation helping some 4.2 million people in Sudan's war-ravaged west. Jamous needs a stomach biopsy that cannot be performed in the U.N. hospital. Last week, he left the hospital for the first time in more than 13 months to walk to the nearby U.N. headquarters to ask to be flown out of Sudan for medical care.

Associated Press: U.N.: Malnutrition on the Rise in Darfur. Malnutrition is increasing in Sudan's violence-wracked Darfur region along with lawlessness and the number of people fleeing their homes, a senior U.N. official said Friday. "The humanitarian situation in the last few months has become more critical in many parts of Darfur," Assistant Secretary-General Margareta Wahlstrom, the U.N.'s deputy humanitarian chief, told a news conference. Wahlstrom said she expects Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to raise the worsening humanitarian situation in Darfur with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir when he visits Sudan next week. The humanitarian operation in Darfur remains the largest in the world - as it has been for the past three years - with 4 million people now dependent on humanitarian assistance as a consequence of the protracted conflict, rising tension and increasing lawlessness, she said. She said 18 spot surveys by U.N. agencies and nongovernmental organizations in the three Darfur provinces all found that for the first time in three years the number of malnutrition cases has increased beyond the emergency threshold of 15 percent to "well over 17 percent being detected in some areas." While there is still a question of whether the increasing malnutrition represents a permanent deterioration, or whether it is the result of the lean season between harvests, Wahlstrom emphasized that in past years "we have never seen a decline."


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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