By Jacqueline Sewornu, Asiedua Akoto, Kwesi Acheamong, Ekow Addoquaye and Makani Mweembe
Machetes slay, bullets fly, blood spills, legs, limbs and heads rot: the land lay in ruins with more than 2.3 million people living in squalid (filthy, dirty, wretched) camps in the region and others in neighouring Chad.
How did this become the story of Darfur?
Two rebel groups, the Sudan Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement accused the Sudanese government of wilful neglect of the Darfur region and decided to take action. The non – Arab or African population of Sudan concentrated in the Darfur region has been marginalized as the government favours the Arabs and refuses to protect the rights and interests of the people. The conflict began in two “thoosin” and three AD when the SLA and JEM attacked the Sudanese government’s airbase in El Fasher destroying multiple Antonov bombers and helicopter gunships and seized a larger amount of ammunition and heavy. The government responded by conducting an ethnic cleansing campaign carried out by the Devil’s on horseback popularly known as the Janjaweed. The government promised to give them land in exchange for their military allegiance. Killings, abduction, rape, looting villages, poisoning wells were some of the activities carried out by the Janjaweed.
The Darfur war had a number of participants. The main participants were the government of Sudan,under the leadership of the then President Omar al-Bashir. Janjaweed a group of Arab militia also participated in the war. Abdul Wahid al-Nur led the Sudan Liberation Movement and its military wing the Sudan Liberation Army in the Darfur war. The Justice and Equality Movement also participated in the war under the leadership of Khalil Ibrahim Muhammad.
By 2004, there was increased international attention towards the humanitarian crises. Multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions were passed concerning the conflict but failed and the U.S. government had found enough evidence to call the conflict in Darfur a genocide. These efforts resulted in the N’Djamena Humanitarian Ceasefire Agreement in April 2004, signed by the Government of Sudan, the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A), and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), as well as Chad and the AU. Between 2004 and 2006 a number of peace agreements were signed which failed in one way or the other such as the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (Jan 2005) and the Darfur Peace Agreement (May 2006) in an attempt to resolve the conflict.
The ICC issued arrest warrants for one Sudanese government official, one Janjaweed leader and President Omar al-Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
By 2011, the population of Southern Sudan voted to support secession from Sudan, allowing South Sudan to become independent in July 2011. The Sudanese Government and a newly-formed rebel coalition Liberty and Justice Movement (LJM) sign the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) after the most powerful and militarily active of the rebel groups, JEM, dropped out of the peace process in May 2011. By October, South Sudan and Sudan agreed to set up several committees tasked with resolving their outstanding disputes. By September 2012, the presidents of Sudan and South Sudan agree on plans for a demilitarized buffer zone and resuming oil sales after days of talks in Ethiopia, but fail to resolve border issues.
There are a number of factors that made the Darfur conflict hard to resolve which definitely explains why it is still ongoing. One of these which is quite interesting is the hesitance on the part of the UN Security Council. The council outlines all these beautiful and grandiose plans it wants to carry out to aid in ending the conflict but at the end of the day let’s face facts, the council is not made up of some supreme beings. It is made up of countries, countries that have individual interests to protect! If China on the one hand does not want to overstep boundaries with one of its oil suppliers and together with Russia allegedly sell ammunition to the supplier in question, then really it comes as no surprise that the Security Council cannot fully intervene. Darfur needs effective international aid, a country like the US that publicly supported the Save Darfur campaign ACTIVELY, key word here being actively now treads carefully as Sudan helped with the war on terror. Like a suitor pursues a lady delicately, cautious of his actions so as to not fumble, so does the US handle ‘the case of Darfur’. As a result they offer humanitarian support, which by the way helps tremendously and saves lives, instead of dealing with causes of the conflict. The government of Sudan itself has really not done much to solve the problem once and for all. After all the Janjaweed’s actions places them on the side of the government, so as to the question of why the government has not attacked the problem like it should, little is left to the imagination.