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‘War in Darfur has led to chaos’: Ansar leader

June 3 - 2015 OMDURMAN
Abbala tribesmen in Kereinik, West Darfur (Didier Ruef)
Abbala tribesmen in Kereinik, West Darfur (Didier Ruef)

What is happening in Darfur these days can be classified as aggression, destruction, corruption, and most of all, chaos, according to the secretary-general of the Ansar, the religious arm of the opposition National Umma Party (NUP).

The situation developed to the extent that “neither the killer nor the slain know anymore why the killing occurred,” Ansar leader Abdelmahmoud Abbo told Radio Dabanga.

Abbo pointed out that the fighting began because of conflicts over grazing land and resources, exacerbated by the flow of arms from war-torn neighbouring countries. “It developed into a full-fledged war between the ruling party and the rebels, which in turn led to the outbreak of multiple tribal clashes.”

He wondered what the Darfuris “have achieved with this war, as ethnic hatred has spread throughout the region, resources have been destroyed, corruption has entered all levels of government, and the door has been opened to foreign interference.

“What are the people of Darfur fighting for?  For land? Power? For development or justice? Or for all these things? Has this war achieved the people’s demands? Or has the situation gone from bad to worse?”, he asked, stressing that “humans have been created to cooperate to maintain the earth, and not to fight each other, and mess it all up”.

‘Uncontrolled forces’

In April, the International Crisis Group (ICG), released a report on “The Chaos in Darfur”, warning for the growing number of attacks by “increasingly uncontrolled forces”, and the rise of tribal and intra-tribal conflicts.

Militias and paramilitaries deployed by the Sudanese government to counter the rebellion have proved no more effective than the regular army in ending the insurgency.  “In Darfur, the militia strategy was counter-productive from the start,” the report reads, as “abuses drove civilians to support and join rebel movements, causing them to grow quickly from hundreds to thousands of combatants.

“Moreover, militias often pursued their own local and tribal agendas, rather than the government’s – in recent years, leading Arab militias to increasingly fight each other, and in some cases regular forces, or even to join the rebellion. Given the chaos, Arab and non-Arab communities demand arms and their own militias for protection.”

Furthermore, the estimated 200,000 Arab militia members in Darfur partly integrated into official paramilitary forces. They have increasingly felt abandoned by the government, ICG states. With the creation of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), paramilitaries under National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) command, in 2013, Khartoum’s inability to protect Arab civilians from attacks by militias of other Arab communities has further increased anti-government animosity.

The ICG researchers also point to the government’s creation of numerous, increasingly mono-ethnic administrative units, with officials from dominant local tribes, and of new positions in the native administration, “rewarding government allies, but also triggering new conflicts”. Three main intra-Arab conflicts have been a main cause of recent deadly violence in Darfur.

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