Current Situation

This page contains key news stories about the situation in Darfur. For a longer overview, see our Sudan Timeline: from 1950 to 2010

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UNAMID Peacekeepers

Suspected war criminal sighted in fresh Darfur conflict

Human Rights Watch reports that a former militia leader wanted by the International Criminal Court, Ali Kushayb, has taken part in fresh conflict in central Darfur

Mr Kushayb, now with high rank in the Sudanese Government's auxiliary Central Reserve Policewas sighted when heavily armed Misseriya and Ta'isha ethnic groups attacked Salamat communities in April, killing more than 100 civilians, burning property and displacing tens of thousands.

"Witnesses place Ali Kushayb at the scene of recent killing, burning and looting in Darfur," Africa director of Human Rights Watch, Daniel Bekele, said.

He was allegedly seen riding a government vehicle during the attack on Abu Jeradil, a town 30 kilometers south of Um Dukhun, on April 8.

Mr Kushayb faces an ICC arrest warrant for war crimes and crimes against humanity in West Darfur in 2003-2004.

A reconciliation conference between leaders of the Misseriya and Salamat tribes has begun in Zalingei, capital of Central Darfur, with the hope of bringing this chapter of the conflict to an end.


Darfuri woman in refugee hospital 

Total of newly displaced Darfurees exceeds last three years combined

The United Nations reports that 300,000 Darfuris have been displaced in 2013 alone - more than the last three years combined.

There remain 2.3 million Darfurees displaced as a result of the decade-long conflict, with humanitarian agencies struggling to access the people most in need of assistance.

“The ongoing war in Darfur continues to claim lives, and the longer it goes on, the more civilians die, the more people are forced out of their homes and the more people have their lives torn apart,” country head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Mark Cutts, said.

Displacement is the terrible norm, with families often separated in the chaos of fleeing army, militia and tribal attacks. So it is with Abdul Juma, who became separated from his wife and four of his children while fleeing Labado.


Al Bashir attends Great Green Wall Summit in Chad 

Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir has attended the Great Green Wall Summit in Chad. Despite Chad being a signatory to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Al Bashir was not apprehended in Chad.

Reportage on the summit is here:


19 May 2013, Radio Dabanga,Opposition Accuse Khartoum Of 'Unequal Treatment' Of Darfur Displaced

Radio Dabanga reports that the National Consensus Forces (NCF), including the main opposition parties in Sudan, have criticised the Khartoum government, humanitarian organisations and local media for their “deliberate disregard” of the humanitarian catastrophe among displaced persons in Darfur. 


17 May 2013, UN News Centre,UN Agency Prepositions For Darfur Refugees In Chad Ahead Of Rainy Season

The UN News Centre reports that the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said it is "in a race against time" to deliver aid before heavy rains cut off access to tens of thousands of Drafur refugees in east Chad escaping violence linked to tribal conflicts.


13 May, Womens News Network, Global ‘Work-For-Cash’ Brings Dignity To Villagers In Central Darfur, Sudan

The Womens News Network reports on the ‘cash-for-work’ programme run in Darfur by the UN supported Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development.


13 May 2013,Al Jazeera, Darfur Rebel-Faction Leader Killed In Chad

Al Jazeera reports that Mohamed Bashar, who signed peace deal with Sudan last month, has been killed by rival Justice and Equality Movement fighters.


9 May 2013, Enough Project, The Dark Side Of Darfur's Gold Rush

The Enough Project posts its new report Darfur's Gold Rush: State-Sponsored Atrocities 10 Years After the Genocide, which shows that government-armed Abbala militias’ recent play to gain control of North Darfur’s gold mines is a continuation of Khartoum’s campaign of state-sponsored atrocity and plunder in the region.


7 May 2013, CNN, Glorious Colors In The Desert: Darfur's Fashionable Women

CNN interviews Pedro Matos, the creator of The Darfur Sartorialist. Matos's photography project showcases the colourful and fashionable dress of people in Darfur and aims to show a different side of Darfur story to the world. 

Displaced persons flee to East Darfur

Radio Dabanga reports on the influx of displaced people into the El Neem camp in East Darfur:


Search ends in Darfur mine collapse

Herald Sun/AAP 4 May 2013

The Herald Sun reports that the search for 100 workers believed to have died in a collapsed gold mine in Darfur has ended after nine rescuers became trapped.


White House criticized by Holocaust scholars for hosting Sudanese war criminals

The Washington Times, 7 May 2013

The Washington Times reports that more than 100 Holocaust scholars and genocide experts have signed a letter to the Obama administration pressing it to cancel an upcoming meeting with a Sudanese delegation that includes war criminals who have facilitated crimes against humanity.

The Sudanese delegation is led by senior figures in President Omar al-Bashir's the National Congress Party.


UNAMID patrol in Darfur

AU-UN joint mission chief assesses security and civilian needs on first field visits

UN News Centre, 1 May 2013

The UN News Centre reports on UNAMID head Mohamed Ibn Chambas's assessment of the humanitarian, security and political situations in five Darfur states.


Darfur conflict: Sudan's bloody stalemate

BBC News, 29 April 2013

The BBC analyses the Darfur conflict ten years on.


After a decade of Darfur it’s time to stop appeasing Sudan’s criminal cabal

New Statesman, 27 April 2013

An opinion piece in the New Statesman on the tenth anniversary of the start of the attacks on Darfur’s people says that the international community's appeasement of the Bashir regime must stop.


Sudan Peace, Security, and Accountability Act 2013 introduced in the US House of Reps

Enough Project, 25 April 2013

The Enough Project reports on the Sudan Peace, Security and Accountability Act 2013 introduced in the US House of Representatives on 24 April 2013 by Congressman Jim McGovern.

The Act would create a comprehensive US strategy to:

  • end serious human rights violations in Sudan,
  • provide genuine accountability for persons who have committed or assisted in serious human rights violations,
  • support Sudanese aspiration for democratic reforms,
  • encourage other governments and persons to end support of and assistance to the government of Sudan, and
  • reinvigorate genuinely comprehensive and sustainable peace efforts that can end Sudan’s multiple crises.

Watch Rep. McGovern's speech here.


Darfur war crimes suspect rebel Jerbo 'killed in Sudan'

BBC News, 24 April 2013

BBC News reports that the defence team of Sudanese rebel Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jamus, who was charged with war crimes in Darfur by the International Criminal Court, has been killed during fighting in North Darfur. He was due to go on trial in May 2014 over a deadly attack on African peacekeepers in Darfur in 2007.

The Hague says the ICC must get proof of his death before the case is dropped.


Rebel attacks move closer to Khartoum

There are reports that Darfur rebel groups have expanded into areas closer to Khartoum. Residents of Um Rawaba, a town that was attacked, have responded angrily to the government not protecting them.

Reportage here:


Latest UN News on Violence and Humanitarian Need in Darfur

UN Photo/David Manyua

The UN News Centre reports on the following developments in the region:


Fresh tribal clashes in Darfur trigger largest influx of refugees into Chad in years, UN says

UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

UN News Centre, 12 April 2013

The UN News Centre reports that 50,000 people have fled Darfur for Chad in the wake of fresh tribal conflicts, the largest influx of refugees into Chad since 2005.


At least 18 dead in Darfur tribal dispute

Herald Sun/AAP, 10 April 2013

The Herald Sun reports on the latest conflict in Darfur, including the deaths of at least 18 people during a tribal dispute in the region.


Darfur donor conference raises USD3.6bn

The International Donor Conference for Reconstruction and Development in Darfur was held in Doha, Qatar on 7 and 8 April 2013.

Donor countries pledged $3.6bn over six years for the development and reconstruction of Darfur.

The Developing Darfur: A Recovery and Reconstruction Strategy was released prior to the donor conference.

Reportage on the conference is here:


New UNAMID chief arrives in the Sudanese capital

Sudan Tribune, 1 April 2013

Mohamed Ibn Chambas

United Nations Photo (detail)

The new head of the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), Mohamed Ibn Chambas, has taken office in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

He pledges to advance an ‘all-inclusive’ peace and stability in Darfur.
However, commentators report that UNAMID is powerless and that human security has entered a free-fall.

For counter reportage, see Eric Reeves, Human Security in Darfur Enters Free-Fall, 20 March 2013.


Darfur’s JEM-Bashar assigned Sudan government positions

Radio Dabanga, 1 April 2013

Radio Dabanga reports that the Sudanese regime has assigned rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), more than 20 government positions across state and federal levels.

Sudan President, Omar Al-Bashir, says that it confirms support for the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) ahead of the donors’ conference to be held on April 7 and 8 in Doha, Qatar.

However, rebel leader Abdel Wahid Al Nur says that the donors’ conference is a ‘conspiracy’ against displaced refugees. 


All Sudan political prisoners to be freed: Bashir

France 24, 1 April 2013

France 24 report President Omar al-Bashir’s pledge to release all political detainees following recent agreements with South Sudan.


Mukesh Kapila, Former UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Sudan

France 24, 6 February 2013

Mukesh Kapila
United Nations Photo

France 24's Armen Georgian speaks to Mukesh Kapila, the UN whistleblower who lost his job for condemning the failure to prevent genocide in Darfur.
Kapila, now a campaigner against genocide and crimes against humanity for the Aegis Trust, shows France 24 rare video footage of a new crisis unfolding in Sudan – this time in Blue Nile state and in South Kordofan.


After 10 years of horror in Darfur, politicians around the world call for action on Sudan

28 February 2013

A decade on from the start of the mass atrocities in Darfur, a coalition 98 of politicians from the United Kingdom, United States and Australia has called for urgent action to address the humanitarian crisis in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile.

The global coalition has signed an open letter to their respective Foreign Secretaries urging them to lead the UN Security Council to action on Sudan at this pivotal moment.

DAN coordinated the Australian campaign, with 16 Member of Parliament, including Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Senator David Feeney, signing the open letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Senator Bob Carr.

Australian signatory Michelle Rowland MP said:

“UN Security Council Resolution 2046 warned the parties to this conflict of consequences if they did not uphold their obligations and stop the fighting. The African Union has been very clear on the urgent need to address this conflict. We are calling on our respective governments to lead the UN to back up its words with actions.”

For more on the global campaign, see Baroness Glenys Kinnock and Representative Michael E Capuano, A decade on, Sudan threatens to repeat the tragedy of Darfur, The Guardian, 10 March 2013 (members of the UK and USA Parliaments explain why they signed the open letter).


ICC Prosecutor addresses UN Security Council on Darfur

13 December 2012

Fatou Bensouda

Ms Fatou Bensouda, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, delivered the ICC's 16th briefing to the UN Security Council on Darfur.

In her impassioned address, she requested more action from the Security Council. Kartoum's representative denied the continued attacks and abuse in Darfur, however many Security Council members supported the Prosecutor's call for more action.

See the ICC Prosecutor's full briefing here. 


The peace process has petered out

January 17th-11th Feburary, 2011 / Source: Bloomberg

The recent State of the Union address by Barack Obama highlighted the further need for support in Darfur. The US is pushing for more aggressive peace keeping work as prolonged frustration in denying peacekeepers access to villages in need while the Darfur conflicts continue. "We expect UNAMID, as one of the UN's largest and most costly operations, with one of the most robust mandates passed by the Security Council, to be very active and, when necessary, aggressive... to protect civilians," US ambassador Susan Rice told reporters. As this announcement came to light, fresh threats from the Sudanese army to 'burn to the ground' makeshift camps for people left homeless by the Darfur conflict. However rights groups say the United Nations is painting an over-optimistic picture of events. "The peace process has petered out," said Jehanne Henry, Sudan researcher at Human Rights Watch, speaking from Sudan. "The situation has sharply deteriorated in recent weeks despite some suggestions otherwise by UN officials.

Darfur wants the US to lift sanctions after the Sudanese referendum. Foreign Minister Ali Karti told "We want more investment in our country. We want to strengthen our trade, and enhance cooperation on all aspects," With some progress made on behalf of the  US, there will be no further progress without the co-operation of Khartoum. Further obstructions to peace talks through clashes between the government and rebels. Darfur peace is speckled with violence. African Union Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra said the goal is to have a Darfur agreement ready to sign by July, when Southern Sudan's independence is due to become official.

Sudan urged to release Darfuri rights activists

Wed, Nov 3, 2010 / Source: Amnesty International

Amnesty International has urged the Sudanese authorities to release or charge eight Darfuri men and women who are reported to have been arrested and held incommunicado since last weekend, and who are believed to be at risk of torture.

According to reports by local activists and NGOs, a number of activists, some of whom have been monitoring the human rights situation in Darfur, are believed to have been arrested and detained by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) in Khartoum between 30 October and 1 November.

The authorities have not yet acknowledged the arrests and the families of those taken have not had any news of their whereabouts or been given reasons for their arrests.

For more....

Sudan closes Darfur radio and rights group offices

Tues, Nov 2, 2010 / Source: Reuters

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudan shut the Khartoum office of Radio Dabanga, whose reports on Darfur have angered it, and arrested 13 staff from the radio station and a rights group that shares its offices, the group's chairman said Tuesday.

Abdelmageed Salih, head of Human Rights and Advocacy Network for Democracy (HAND), told Reuters nine journalists and four HAND activists were detained during the weekend raids.

For more...

US assails Sudan over reported arrest of Darfur activists

Wed, Nov 3, 2010 / Source: AFP

WASHINGTON — The United States on Tuesday condemned the reported arrests of Darfur activists over the past days by Sudanese security agents and said it would raise the issue with Khartoum.

"The United States is deeply concerned by the reported arrests of several human rights activists and the closure of the Darfuri radio station's offices in Khartoum," State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said.

"Radio Dabanga is a very important source of information, real time information in Darfur," Crowley said.

For more...

China fights U.N. report on Darfur

Sat, Oct 16, 2010 / Source: Washington Post

UNITED NATIONS - China has mounted a strenuous diplomatic campaign to block the publication of a U.N. report that claims that Chinese ammunition has been shipped into Darfur in the past year, in clear violation of U.N. sanctions, according to several U.N. diplomatic sources.

The report does not claim that Chinese arms dealers knew that their ammunition was being sent to the western region of Sudan. But the findings provide some of the strongest evidence to date that Khartoum has routinely channeled imported arms and ammunition from China into Darfur, where the Sudanese government is engaged in a military campaign against rebels.

Sudan has been under a comprehensive U.N. arms embargo for six years....

....China responded angrily to the revelations, insisting it would block the public release of the report unless the findings were rewritten, according to diplomats, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the dispute.

For more....

Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan says alarmed by limited access in Darfur

Mon, Oct 18, 2010 / Source: Sudan Tribune

KHARTOUM — Limited access to some parts of Jebel Marra hampers the humanitarian efforts to reach the needy in the mountainous area in Darfur.

Sudanese army intensified attacks on eastern Jebel Marra locations which are under the control of the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement Army led by Abdel Wahid Al-Nur.

The air and ground attacks displaced thousands of civilians from their villages. But the peacekeeping force and the aid groups are denied by the Sudanese army from entering the area which is declared military operations zone.

"The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Mr. Georg Charpentier, is concerned by limitations on humanitarian access in view of intensified fighting in parts of Eastern Jebel Marra in Darfur," said a statement released this week.Read more...

First aid in six months reaches Darfur troublespot

Tues Sept 21, 2010 / Source: AFP

KHARTOUM — Critical medical and food supplies for children have been delivered to a troublespot in Darfur for the first time in six months, the United Nations and Sudan's government said on Monday.

Teams from the UN Children's Fund, or UNICEF, and World Health Organization provided emergency support, pediatric drugs and therapeutic food to health clinics in the Jebel Marra uplands, they said in a statement.

"Conducted jointly by UNICEF, WHO and government partners, the missions brought deliveries of essential medicines and nutritional supplies," it said.

Heavy fighting erupted in March between the army and rebel forces earlier this year in Jebel Marra, a mountain and fertile valley region in Darfur that was a bastion of the rebellion that broke out in 2003. The teams reached areas that been "inaccessible for six months," added the statement which came after a meeting in Khartoum between UN and Sudanese government officials on Sunday. Insecurity had made access difficult, and aid workers said the health and condition of young children in the region had been a growing concern.

Polio vaccinations were also brought in as part of the delivery, which took place last week.

But due to poor roads, some supplies had to be shifted from trucks onto donkeys for the final stretch into remote areas.

More...

Six killed in Darfur camp shoot-out

Sun Sept 5, 2010 / Source: Reuters

KHARTOUM - Gunmen shot dead six people and injured 33 in clashes at a refugee camp in Sudan's Darfur region on Saturday, peacekeepers said.

More...

Annan Calls on Kenya to 'Clarify' Al-Bashir's Visit

Sun August 29, 2010 / Source: Daily Nation, via AllAfrica

Nairobi — Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has called on the Kenyan government to "clarify its position" on the presence of Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir in Nairobi on Friday during the promulgation of its new constitution.

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Sudan expels five UN/ICRC staff from West Darfur

Mon August 16, 2010 / Source: Reuters; By Opheera McDoom

KHARTOUM - Sudan has expelled five U.N. and ICRC workers from West Darfur state, a U.N. official said, in the latest confrontation with international organisations in a region with the world's largest aid operation.

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Sudan denies aid to camp devastated by fighting: U.N.

Fri August 6th, 2010 / Source: Reuters

Sudan has denied aid agencies access to Darfur's Kalma camp after five people were killed there and thousands fled when divisions over peace talks turned violent, humanitarian officials said on Friday. Kalma is home to 100,000 Darfuris and has traditionally been a stronghold of the rebel Sudan Liberation Army, which is not taking part in the Doha talks trying to end Darfur's 7-year war. U.N.-African Union peacekeepers (UNAMID) have been in a stand-off with South Darfur's government and Khartoum since five men and a woman sought refuge in their Kalma police base during the violence late last month. Thousands of people also fled their homes to seek refuge near the UNAMID base.

More…

Darfur Suffers While the world Looks away 

Tues Aug 3, 2010 / Source: Sudan Tribune, by Dr. Anne Bartlett

The situation in Darfur has reached crisis pitch. In the camps of the region people face food shortages, malnutrition, disease, violence and abuse. Undeterred by threats from local security people, a colleague of mine who was recently refused entry through the main entrance of Kalma, entered the camp through an alternative route. Walking through the camp from the southern end, she found babies with distended bellies, chronic malnutrition across much of the population, people with ringworm resulting in fungal infection and the loss of their hair, and the presence of life-threatening diseases such as dysentery.

Read more...

Darfur rebels say Khartoum raids camp, two killed

Wed July 28, 2010 / Source: Reuters

KHARTOUM - Darfur rebels accused Sudan's army of killing at least two civilians during a raid on a refugee camp on Wednesday, the latest violence to hit the camps during a suspension of a faltering peace process for Ramadan.

More...

Sudan's Bashir defies court with Chad trip

Mon July 19, 2010 / Source: Reuters

N'DJAMENA - Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir arrived in Chad on Wednesday, his first visit to a full member state of the International Criminal Court, which is demanding his arrest for genocide. More...

ICC issues arrest warrant for genocide against Bashir

Mon July 12, 2010 / Source: Reuters

The International Criminal Court issued a second arrest warrant Monday for Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for the crime of genocide.

Bashir, who faces an ICC arrest warrant from March 2009 for war crimes and crimes against humanity, has dismissed the court's claims that he is responsible for crimes in the Darfur region leading to the death of as many as 300,000 people and a campaign of "rape, hunger and fear" against a further 2.5 million in refugee camps.

More...

Darfur rebels, UN to sign deal to protect children

Mon July 19, 2010 / Source: Reuters

GENEVA - Rebels in Sudan's Darfur region and the United Nations will sign a deal this week to protect children, an independent mediation group said on Monday, in a move that appears aimed at stopping the use of child soldiers. The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue said Darfur's Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the United Nations children's agency UNICEF would sign the agreement in Geneva on Wednesday. U.N. officials have cited evidence that the JEM and other rebels and and pro-government groups recruited child soldiers in the conflict that flared in 2003 when mostly non-Arab insurgents revolted against the Khartoum government, seeking more autonomy. "This is a very important and positive step. It is the result of more than a year's worth of dialogue between the U.N. agencies and JEM, sponsored by the HD Centre," the centre's humanitarian adviser, Dennis McNamara, said in a statement. The statement made no reference to recruitment of child soldiers but officials who asked not to be identified said one of the points of the deal was to stop this scourge in Darfur.

More...

Darfur Sees Bloodiest Month In Two Years - UN

Mon Jun 7, 2010 / Source: Reuters

KHARTOUM, Nearly 600 people died in rebel and tribal fighting in Sudan's Darfur region in May, the bloodiest month that the territory has seen in more than two years, U.N. officials said on Monday.

Violence in the seven-year-old conflict has spiked since one of the main rebel groups, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), announced in early May it was freezing its participation in peace talks.

More...

Bashir Says Darfur Peace Talks Are Final Round

Sat Jun 5, 2010/ Source: Reuters

KHARTOUM, Sudan's president said on Saturday the current round of Darfur peace talks would be the final negotiations with any armed group.

Qatar-hosted peace talks are due to open on Sunday but the leaders of the two original Darfur guerrilla groups are both refusing to join. Smaller factions who have few forces on the ground are participating.

More...

First Sudanese elections Held in 24 Years: al-Bashir re-elected as president of Sudan

April 2010 - Further information

Peacekeepers warn of Darfur rebel, Sudan army build-up

May 12, 2010/ Source: Reuters 

KHARTOUM, Peacekeepers warned of a build-up of Sudanese army and rebel troops near a strategic town in Darfur, where the security situation has deteriorated after peace talks between the government and rebels stalled.

Separately, long running tribal clashes in the remote western region have killed 107 people since March, the joint U.N./African Union UNAMID peacekeeping mission said.

"The security situation in North Darfur is tense following reports of an increase in the presence of government troops and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) forces in the Shangil Tobay region,"

South Sudan party withdraws presidential candidate

March 31, 2010/ Source: Reuters

KHARTOUM, South Sudan's leading party said on Wednesday it was withdrawing its candidate for the presidency in April elections, paving the way for a likely victory for incumbent President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) vice-chairman Riek Machar cited continued conflict in Darfur and electoral irregularities, adding the party would also boycott all levels of elections in Darfur.

"We decided that Yasir (Arman) should end his campaign for the presidency of the Republic," he told reporters. More...

West silent over Darfur crisis despite risk of spiralling violence

March 24, 2010 / Source: Reuters

London - There's a deafening silence over the humanitarian crisis in Sudan's Darfur region. Few on the ground are talking and the powers that be are pushing out a single line - the war between Darfur rebels and the government is over.

This statement does not tell the whole story, experts say. Widespread fighting may have eased, but the humanitarian crisis continues and insecurity poses serious problems for aid workers and peacekeepers. Fighting is still uprooting thousands of civilians, and another 2.6 million are living in worsening conditions in displacement camps. More...

Concern over fresh Darfur fighting

March 3, 2010 / Source: Al Jazeera

The United States has expressed concern over reports that the Sudanese army launched offensives against rebels in Darfur after signing a peace deal with the main rebel group there last week.

PJ Crowley, a spokesman for the US state department, said on Tuesday that Washington was "extremely concerned" over reports of fighting that "have reportedly caused significant civilian casualties, displacement, and the evacuation of humanitarian organisations".

He urged Sudan's government and the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) Abdel Wahid faction "to refrain from further violence and to allow the Joint African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur access to Jebel Marra to assess the humanitarian situation and restore stability".

Abdel Wahid Mohamed al-Nur is the leader of an SLA faction which has a stronghold in the area. More...

Hundreds feared dead in Darfur clashes -- U.N.

March 1, 2010 / Source: Reuters

KHARTOUM, Hundreds of civilians are feared to have died in a surge of fighting between the Sudanese army and rebels in the turbulent Darfur region, a U.N. source told Reuters on Monday.

A Sudan army spokesman denied any fighting was taking place in Darfur's mountainous Jabel Marra region and accused insurgents of harassing and attacking locals.

Reports of clashes throughout last week have marred Khartoum's announcement of a new peace push in the region and come just over a month ahead of national elections.

"We think that we have a mounting number of casualties ... The lower estimate is around 140. The higher estimate is closer to 400," said a U.N. source, adding the figures referred to civilian deaths.

The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said as many as 40,000 civilians had fled the fighting between the government and Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) rebels, most recently around the market town of Deribat.

"For us the important thing now is to get access to the area," said the source, who said aid workers and U.N. agencies had been blocked from entering Jabel Marra by the ongoing fighting and the threat of bandit attacks on their staff.

SLA field commander Suleiman Marajan told Reuters government bombing raids had killed at least 170 civilians around Deribat over the past 10 days and more had died in other areas.

The army spokesman told Reuters: "There are no clashes between the Sudanese army and the forces of Abdel Wahed's movement." Abdel Wahed Mohamed al-Nur is the leader of an SLA faction which has a stronghold in the area.

Darfur's conflict surged in 2003 when the SLA and other rebels took up arms against Sudan's government, accusing it of leaving the mostly desert region underdeveloped.

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir declared the seven-year war over last Wednesday after reaching an initial settlement with the separate rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), Darfur's most powerful rebel force.

Bashir's government signed an agreement in Doha on Tuesday committing Sudan to reaching a final peace deal with JEM by March 15.

But Abdel Wahed's SLA and other rebels have rejected the deal, demanding that security on the ground before talks.

JEM's negotiator in Doha, Ahmed Tugud, told Reuters it was unlikely the sides would meet the March 15 deadline as talks were currently stalled over plans for Sudan's government to sign a separate settlement with an umbrella group of small insurgent factions called the Liberation and Justice Movement.

Tugud said the plan, which he said was being proposed by international mediators, would give undue recognition to tiny rebel groups with little to no military presence on the ground.

"These are two persons pretending to be a rebel group, a man and his wife pretending to be a rebel group. It is rubbish ... We cannot have talks until we have solved this problem."

Darfur's joint U.N./African Union UNAMID peacekeeping force said it could not confirm the reports of the fighting because it did not have bases in the Jabel Marra area.

Militias raid Darfur camp, kill two refugees

Wed Feb 10, 2010 / Source: Reuters

EL-FASHER, Sudan, Militias raided a Darfur refugee camp, shooting dead two people and injuring at least 10 in an escalation of tensions in Sudan's restive west, witnesses and U.N. officials said Wednesday.

More...

2009

  • Sudan intends to close down Darfur IDP camps in 2010 More...
  • UN report documents continuing attacks on the Darfuri population. More...
  • Continuing flow of arms to Darfur, despite embargo More...
  • No justice for victims of human rights violations More...
  • Women suffer excessively from gender-based violence More...
  • Government of Sudan fails to disarm Janjaweed More...
  • Severe violations of international humanitarian and human rights law More... 
  • Army batallion defects to JEM. More...  
  • JEM has reservations about Doha peace talks.   More...
  • Ethiopia to deploy air force unit, five helicopters in Darfur More...
  • Sudanese president's visit cancelled More...
  • Three Darfur rebel factions agree to launch unity process. More...