The War In Darfur: The Lasting Scars And Suffering From The Darfur Conflict

Two decades ago, in the early 2000s, a devastating conflict erupted in the region of Darfur, located in western Sudan. This conflict occurred as non-Arab tribes rebelled against the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum, the capital city of Sudan. The root causes of this uprising can be traced back to long-standing grievances related to marginalization and underfunding, which were further Worsened after Omar al-Bashir seized power in a 1989 military coup, with backing from the National Islamic Front.

Sudanese children orphaned by attacks from government troops and the Janjaweed militia sit outside their home in Kidingir, southern Darfur. [File: stringer/Reuters]
Tensions escalated in 2002 with the establishment of the Darfur Liberation Front, which later evolved into the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM). The conflict reached a critical point on February 26, 2003, when the SLM claimed responsibility for an attack on Golo in the Jebel Marra area of Darfur. Subsequently, the Justice and Equality Movement joined the rebellion, leading to a full-scale conflict.

Displaced women stand in line for food distribution by World Vision at the Seraif camp in southern Darfur. [File: Reuters]
In response to the uprising, the government in Khartoum provided support to local Arab militias, known as the Janjaweed, to counter the African tribes involved in the rebellion. These militias, infamous for their brutal tactics, were eventually integrated into Sudan’s official forces under al-Bashir’s leadership. The resulting violence led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and the displacement of over two million individuals, both internally and across the border into neighboring Chad.

A Sudanese refugee resides in a tent at the Oure Cassoni Refugee Camp in Bahai, Chad, in November 2006. At that time, the UN estimated over 26,000 people were living in the camp. However, the refugees remained unsafe due to ongoing conflicts between Chadian rebels and the government, as well as attacks from Chadian Arabs and Sudanese militias crossing the border. [Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images]
Although a peace agreement was signed in 2020, the people of Darfur still face many challenges as they try to recover from the devastating conflict. The scars and trauma of the war are deeply rooted in their lives, and the path to healing and rebuilding is filled with obstacles and hardships.

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