Darfur is a region stretched at the western periphery of Sudan in Africa and is approximately the size of France. Prior to 2003, Darfur was a shelter to around 6 million people. Sudan being the third largest country in Africa was once recognized by its ethnic diversity, more heterogeneous than any other region in Africa. This statement is proved from the fact that Darfur is populated by more than a 100 tribes. Darfur, meaning the abode of the Fur, has derived its name from a major ethnic group called Fur residing in this region.
Darfur is an undeveloped and remote region in Sudan wherein most of the natives are farmers while few are nomads (Arabs) and make a livelihood by selling livestock or moving camels and horses from place to place. Darfur has always been neglected and ignored by the government of Sudan in terms of various economic and political aspects. This has resulted in discontent among the Darfur residents.
While the world is moving towards digitization and globalization, the unstable and deteriorating circumstances that are still prevalent in Darfur have aggravated to an extreme amount of chaos, intimidation and thus, are posing as a threat to not just Sudan but also to its neighbours, mainly Europe. United Nations has described the crisis of Darfur, the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. The inter-tribal conflict remarkably has polarized Darfur enraging communal disharmony leading to the social disruption and eventually waging a war for several years.
The provocations paved their paths long back in 2003 when an armed conflict was raised by two Darfur rebel groups – Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) and Justice & Equality Movement (JEM) against the Arab-led Sudanese government. The government is accused of oppressing Darfur’s non-Arab population belonging to the Fur, Zaghawa and Masalit ethnic groups leading to racial discrimination and discontent over political and regional marginalization. Instead of pacifying the issue, the Sudanese government resorted to respond in an unusual manner. They suppressed the local population brutally. In an effort to execute this task, the government sponsored an insurgent ‘Janjaweed’ militia group comprising nomadic Arab tribes, mainly Rizeigat and Misseriya who move from place to place-herding camels. The conflict took a very intense turn with Janjaweed who would ride into the villages on horses and camels, slaughtering men, raping women and looting whatever they could find. People of Darfur rightly termed them as ‘Devils on horseback’. Janjaweed created a massive upheaval by destroying 400 villages and forcing millions of civilians to flee from their homes in Darfur.
As per the United Nations, more than 2.7 million people have been displaced from Darfur, while many have taken shelter in camps near Darfur border with Chad. Till date this senseless violence continues with more than a 100 people dying every day. No one can assure the security of females when they step out of their homes. Ironically it can neither be guaranteed even when they are in the confines of their houses as ‘Devils on horseback’ are always on the prowl. The inhuman massacre of common masses revealed the ruthless intentions of the inhumane government in Khartoum.
To be continued…