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The New Humanitarian: In Darfur’s rebel-held mountains, the war is far from over

April 25 - 2021 EL GENEINA / JEBEL MARRA
Woman walks through El Geneina following violent attacks in January (RD)
Woman walks through El Geneina following violent attacks in January (RD)

The (wali) governor of West Darfur, Mohamed El Doma, appealed this week for urgent help from the federal government and opened the door for organisations to provide health and water services to El Geneina to tackle the humanitarian fallout from clashes earlier this month between Arab and non-Arab Masalit communities. 

The clashes on January 16 and 17 left 163 people dead, according to the West Darfur Doctors Committee, and hundreds of thousands homeless. The violence in El Geneina was reportedly instigated by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), drawn largely from the former Janjaweed militia held responsible for war crimes in the region.

El Doma declared the city a distaster area, explaining that his administration was unable to cope with the scale of the displacement.

In a report by The New Humanitarian from the area in Darfur held by Sudan Liberation Movement under the leadership of Abdelwahid El Nur (SLM-AW), residents say the December withdrawal of an UN-AU peacekeeping mission has made a fragile situation worse.

Rebels offered insights into the mindset of the insurgent group as it navigates Sudan’s political transition with deep distrust, according to the report. The SLM-AW argues the killing of non-Arabs has continued and, rather than dropping its weapons, is training new recruits. 

Read the full report here, which is the third in a series of stories based on three weeks of interviews with displaced people, aid workers, UN officials, and communities in rebel-held territory.

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