Darfur Explained

This video documentary attempts to have the situation in Darfur explained and in many respects events there reflect the unbalanced nature of Sudan after its independence and the effective unification of its diverse ethnic groups in 1956. Essentially, North Sudan is inhabited by Muslim Arabs, whilst the south and eastis inhabited by black African Christians. Janjaweed Militia in DarfurThe Arab Muslims saw themselves as slave masters, whilst they looked down on black Africans as slaves. The Darfur area was already suffering from desertification leading to diminishing arable land on which to scratch out a living, and the indigenous ethnic groups there (the Fur, the Zaghawa and the Masalit) found themselves being increasingly sidelined and encroached upon by Muslim Arabs led by the Janjaweed (right), Arab tribesmen who operated as bandits in the area who would made raids in attempts to steal non-Arab land and cattle. (The word Janjaweed itself actually means "a man with a gun on a horse.")

In February 2003 the tensions erupted into armed conflict when the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) together with the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) took up arms against the government in an attempt to repel Muslim Arabs and seek recognition of the area as an equal and valued partner within Sudan, if not an independent state. The government responded by bombarding the area in support of Janjaweed militias who turned from banditry activity to become a well equipped and organised fighting force that has been accused of war crimes against the sedentary population of the area burning down entire villages and carrying out many acts of violence against them. Today it is estimated that around 25,000 Janjaweed are active in Darfur; a number swelled by the bounty allegedly offered by the Sudanese government to horse owning local Arabs as an incentive to join up. The extent of the atrocities are covered up to some extent with state censorship of Sudan's media and President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan often making it impossible for journalists to report from the area.

The current conflict in Darfur is estimated to have taken the lives of between 200-300,000 people with nearly five million out of the area's population of 6.2 million affected by the troubles. Just a few years ago a further 310,000 were displaced bringing the known total to nearly three million. More recently the Janjaweed have started operating in eastern Chad creating further instability in the region prompting Chad to establish a joint border monitoring force with Sudan in 2010, which has helped to reduce some of the cross violence. It should be noted that the situation in Darfur is distinct and separate from the other conflict between North and South Sudan.

The background to the conflict in Darfur is explained in greater detail in this video by a humanitarian aid worker who spend time there.



 
 
 
 
 

Darfur Explained

Darfur Explained

Darfur Explained

Darfur Explained

Darfur Explained

 


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Darfur Explained

Darfur Explained

The complex situation in Darfur is explained in this brief video documentary detailing the background to the ongoing humanitarian crisis.

 
 


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