Darfur

Darfur

Overview
Darfur is a region in western Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

. An independent sultanate
Sultanate of Darfur
The Sultanate of Darfur was a pre-colonial East African state in what is today Sudan. It functioned independently from 1603 to October 24, 1874.-Origins:...

 for several hundred years, it was incorporated into Sudan by Anglo-Egyptian forces
Anglo-Egyptian Sudan
Anglo-Egyptian Sudan referred to the manner by which Sudan was administered between 1899 and 1956, when it was a condominium of Egypt and the United Kingdom.-Union with Egypt:...

 in 1916. The region is divided into three federal states
States of Sudan
Below is a list of the 15 states of Sudan, organized by their original provinces during the period of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Arabic language versions are, as appropriate, in parentheses. States that were not provinces before 1994 are marked with . Transliterations from Arabic to English may vary;...

: West Darfur
West Darfur
West Darfur is one of the 15 states of Sudan, and one of three comprising the Darfur region. It has an area of 79,460 km² and an estimated population of approximately 1,007,000 . It borders North and South Darfur to the east. The Chadian prefectures of Biltine and Ouaddaï lie to the west,...

, South Darfur
South Darfur
South Darfur is one of the 15 wilayat or states of Sudan. It is one of the three states that compose the region of Darfur in western Sudan. It has an area of and an estimated population of approximately 2,890,000 . Nyala is the capital of the state. The State was affected by the 2010 Sahel...

, and North Darfur
North Darfur
North Darfur is one of the 15 wilayat or states of Sudan. It is one of the three states composing the Darfur region. It has an area of 296,420 km² and an estimated population of approximately 1,583,000 . Al-Fashir is the capital of the state...

. Because of the war in Darfur
War in Darfur
The Darfur Conflict was a guerrilla conflict or civil war centered on the Darfur region of Sudan. It began in February 2003 when the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army and Justice and Equality Movement groups in Darfur took up arms, accusing the Sudanese government of oppressing non-Arab Sudanese in...

 waged by the Sudanese government against the non-Arab indigenous population, the region has been in a state of humanitarian emergency since 2003.

Darfur covers an area of some 493180 square kilometres (190,417.9 sq mi)—approximately the size of Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

.
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Encyclopedia
Darfur is a region in western Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

. An independent sultanate
Sultanate of Darfur
The Sultanate of Darfur was a pre-colonial East African state in what is today Sudan. It functioned independently from 1603 to October 24, 1874.-Origins:...

 for several hundred years, it was incorporated into Sudan by Anglo-Egyptian forces
Anglo-Egyptian Sudan
Anglo-Egyptian Sudan referred to the manner by which Sudan was administered between 1899 and 1956, when it was a condominium of Egypt and the United Kingdom.-Union with Egypt:...

 in 1916. The region is divided into three federal states
States of Sudan
Below is a list of the 15 states of Sudan, organized by their original provinces during the period of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Arabic language versions are, as appropriate, in parentheses. States that were not provinces before 1994 are marked with . Transliterations from Arabic to English may vary;...

: West Darfur
West Darfur
West Darfur is one of the 15 states of Sudan, and one of three comprising the Darfur region. It has an area of 79,460 km² and an estimated population of approximately 1,007,000 . It borders North and South Darfur to the east. The Chadian prefectures of Biltine and Ouaddaï lie to the west,...

, South Darfur
South Darfur
South Darfur is one of the 15 wilayat or states of Sudan. It is one of the three states that compose the region of Darfur in western Sudan. It has an area of and an estimated population of approximately 2,890,000 . Nyala is the capital of the state. The State was affected by the 2010 Sahel...

, and North Darfur
North Darfur
North Darfur is one of the 15 wilayat or states of Sudan. It is one of the three states composing the Darfur region. It has an area of 296,420 km² and an estimated population of approximately 1,583,000 . Al-Fashir is the capital of the state...

. Because of the war in Darfur
War in Darfur
The Darfur Conflict was a guerrilla conflict or civil war centered on the Darfur region of Sudan. It began in February 2003 when the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army and Justice and Equality Movement groups in Darfur took up arms, accusing the Sudanese government of oppressing non-Arab Sudanese in...

 waged by the Sudanese government against the non-Arab indigenous population, the region has been in a state of humanitarian emergency since 2003.

Geography


Darfur covers an area of some 493180 square kilometres (190,417.9 sq mi)—approximately the size of Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

. It is largely an arid plateau with the Marrah Mountains
Marrah Mountains
The Marrah Mountains or Marra Mountains is a range of volcanic peaks created by a massif that rises up to 3,000 m. It is located in the center of the Darfur region of Sudan, specifically within Dar Zagahawa and neighboring areas. The highest point is Deriba Caldera...

 (Jebel Marra), a range of volcanic peaks rising up to 3042 metres (9,980.3 ft) of topographic prominence
Topographic prominence
In topography, prominence, also known as autonomous height, relative height, shoulder drop , or prime factor , categorizes the height of the mountain's or hill's summit by the elevation between it and the lowest contour line encircling it and no higher summit...

, in the center of the region. The region's main towns are Al Fashir, Nyala
Nyala, Sudan
Nyala is the capital of South Darfur state in the western part of the Sudan. Nyala is located at elevation 2,208 feet in the Darfur historical region.- History :...

, and Geneina
Geneina
Geneina is the capital of West Darfur state in Sudan....

.

There are four main features of the physical geography. The whole eastern half of Darfur is covered with plain
Plain
In geography, a plain is land with relatively low relief, that is flat or gently rolling. Prairies and steppes are types of plains, and the archetype for a plain is often thought of as a grassland, but plains in their natural state may also be covered in shrublands, woodland and forest, or...

s and low hill
Hill
A hill is a landform that extends above the surrounding terrain. Hills often have a distinct summit, although in areas with scarp/dip topography a hill may refer to a particular section of flat terrain without a massive summit A hill is a landform that extends above the surrounding terrain. Hills...

s of sandy soils
Sand
Sand is a naturally occurring granular material composed of finely divided rock and mineral particles.The composition of sand is highly variable, depending on the local rock sources and conditions, but the most common constituent of sand in inland continental settings and non-tropical coastal...

, known as goz, and sandstone
Sandstone
Sandstone is a sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-sized minerals or rock grains.Most sandstone is composed of quartz and/or feldspar because these are the most common minerals in the Earth's crust. Like sand, sandstone may be any colour, but the most common colours are tan, brown, yellow,...

 hills. In many places the goz is waterless and can only be inhabited where there are water reservoirs or deep borehole
Borehole
A borehole is the generalized term for any narrow shaft bored in the ground, either vertically or horizontally. A borehole may be constructed for many different purposes, including the extraction of water or other liquid or gases , as part of a geotechnical investigation, environmental site...

s. While dry, goz may also support rich pasture and arable land
Arable land
In geography and agriculture, arable land is land that can be used for growing crops. It includes all land under temporary crops , temporary meadows for mowing or pasture, land under market and kitchen gardens and land temporarily fallow...

. To the north the goz is overtaken by the desert sands of the Sahara
Sahara
The Sahara is the world's second largest desert, after Antarctica. At over , it covers most of Northern Africa, making it almost as large as Europe or the United States. The Sahara stretches from the Red Sea, including parts of the Mediterranean coasts, to the outskirts of the Atlantic Ocean...

. A second feature are the wadi
Wadi
Wadi is the Arabic term traditionally referring to a valley. In some cases, it may refer to a dry riverbed that contains water only during times of heavy rain or simply an intermittent stream.-Variant names:...

s
, which range from seasonal watercourses that flood only occasionally during the wet season
Wet season
The the wet season, or rainy season, is the time of year, covering one or more months, when most of the average annual rainfall in a region occurs. The term green season is also sometimes used as a euphemism by tourist authorities. Areas with wet seasons are dispersed across portions of the...

 to large wadis that flood
Flood
A flood is an overflow of an expanse of water that submerges land. The EU Floods directive defines a flood as a temporary covering by water of land not normally covered by water...

 for most of the rains and flow from western Darfur hundreds of miles west to Lake Chad
Lake Chad
Lake Chad is a historically large, shallow, endorheic lake in Africa, whose size has varied over the centuries. According to the Global Resource Information Database of the United Nations Environment Programme, it shrank as much as 95% from about 1963 to 1998; yet it also states that "the 2007 ...

. Many wadis have pans of alluvium
Alluvium
Alluvium is loose, unconsolidated soil or sediments, eroded, deposited, and reshaped by water in some form in a non-marine setting. Alluvium is typically made up of a variety of materials, including fine particles of silt and clay and larger particles of sand and gravel...

 with rich soil that are also difficult to cultivate. Western Darfur is dominated by the third feature, basement rock
Basement Rock
Basement or Basement Rock music was a sub-genre coined in 2006 in an article by music magazine TGR. This was first in relation to the existence of underground record label Criminal Records but more for the independent bands they represent. The roots of the sub-genre are noted to be as far back as...

, sometimes covered with a thin layer of sandy soil. Basement rock is too infertile to be farmed, but provides sporadic forest cover that can be grazed by animals. The fourth and final feature are the Marrah Mountains
Marrah Mountains
The Marrah Mountains or Marra Mountains is a range of volcanic peaks created by a massif that rises up to 3,000 m. It is located in the center of the Darfur region of Sudan, specifically within Dar Zagahawa and neighboring areas. The highest point is Deriba Caldera...

, volcanic plugs created by a massif
Massif
In geology, a massif is a section of a planet's crust that is demarcated by faults or flexures. In the movement of the crust, a massif tends to retain its internal structure while being displaced as a whole...

, that rise up to a peak at Deriba crater
Deriba Crater
Deriba Crater is at the highest point of Jebel Marra at an elevation of 3,042 m , in Darfur in the western part of Sudan. The caldera rim became Sudan's new highest point, after the independence of South Sudan. It is between 5 km and 8 km in diameter across the outer crater...

 where there is a small area of temperate climate, high rainfall and permanent springs of water.
Remote sensing
Remote sensing
Remote sensing is the acquisition of information about an object or phenomenon, without making physical contact with the object. In modern usage, the term generally refers to the use of aerial sensor technologies to detect and classify objects on Earth by means of propagated signals Remote sensing...

 has detected the imprint of a vast underground lake under Darfur. The potential water deposits are estimated at 19110 square miles (49,494.7 km²). The lake, during epochs when the region was more humid, would have contained about 2500km3 (607 cubic miles) of water. It may have dried up thousands of years ago.

History




Darfur is conjectured to have been part of the Proto-Afro-Asiatic Urheimat in distant prehistoric
Prehistory
Prehistory is the span of time before recorded history. Prehistory can refer to the period of human existence before the availability of those written records with which recorded history begins. More broadly, it refers to all the time preceding human existence and the invention of writing...

 times (c. 10,000 BC), though there are numerous other theories that exclude Darfur.

Most of the region is a semi-arid plain and thus insufficient for supporting a large and complex civilization
Civilization
Civilization is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to the material and instrumental side of human cultures that are complex in terms of technology, science, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally...

. While the Marrah Mountains
Marrah Mountains
The Marrah Mountains or Marra Mountains is a range of volcanic peaks created by a massif that rises up to 3,000 m. It is located in the center of the Darfur region of Sudan, specifically within Dar Zagahawa and neighboring areas. The highest point is Deriba Caldera...

 offer plentiful water, the Daju people created the first known Darfurian civilization based in the mountains, though they left no records beside a list of kings. The Tunjur
Tunjur
The Tunjur, or Tungur, are a Muslim people estimated around 176,000 people, living mainly in central Darfur, a province of Sudan. They are farmers and live closely associated with the Fur, even if differently from these they speak Arabic as their native language...

 displaced the Daju in the fourteenth century and introduced Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. The Tunjur sultan
Sultan
Sultan is a title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic language abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and "dictatorship", derived from the masdar سلطة , meaning "authority" or "power". Later, it came to be used as the title of certain rulers who...

s intermarried with the Fur
Fur people
The Fur are an ethnic group from western Sudan, principally inhabiting the region of Darfur where they are the largest tribe....

 and sultan Musa Sulayman (reigned c.1596 to c.1637) is considered the founder of the Keira dynasty
Keira dynasty
The Keira dynasty were the rulers of the Sultanate of Darfur from the seventeenth century to 1916. Originally the Keira clan were perhaps regional rulers in the Tunjur state, with Sulayman traditionally seen as the founder of the Darfur state...

. Darfur became a great power of the Sahel
Sahel
The Sahel is the ecoclimatic and biogeographic zone of transition between the Sahara desert in the North and the Sudanian Savannas in the south.It stretches across the North African continent between the Atlantic Ocean and the Red Sea....

 under the Keira dynasty, expanding its borders as far east as the Atbarah River
Atbarah River
The Atbarah River in northeast Africa rises in northwest Ethiopia, approximately 50 km north of Lake Tana and 30 km west of Gondar. It flows about 805 km to the Nile in north-central Sudan, joining it at the city of Atbarah...

 and attracting immigrants from Bornu
Bornu Empire
The Bornu Empire was an African state of Nigeria from 1396 to 1893. It was a continuation of the great Kanem Empire founded centuries earlier by the Sayfawa Dynasty...

 and Bagirmi
Kingdom of Baguirmi
The Kingdom of Baguirmi, also known as the Baguirmi Sultanate , was an Islamic kingdom or sultanate that existed as an independent state during the 16th and 17th centuries southeast of Lake Chad in what is now the country of Chad. Baguirmi emerged to the southeast of the Kanem-Bornu Empire. The...

. During the mid-18th century the country was wracked by conflict between rival factions, and external war with Sennar and Wadai
Ouaddai Kingdom
The Ouaddai Empire was originally a non-Muslim kingdom, located to the east of Lake Chad in present-day Chad...

. In 1875, the weakened kingdom was destroyed by the Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

ian ruler set up in Khartoum
Khartoum
Khartoum is the capital and largest city of Sudan and of Khartoum State. It is located at the confluence of the White Nile flowing north from Lake Victoria, and the Blue Nile flowing west from Ethiopia. The location where the two Niles meet is known as "al-Mogran"...

, largely through the machinations of Sebehr Rahma, a slave-trader, who was competing with the dar
DAR
Dar may refer to:* Dar, Azerbaijan, a village* Dar es Salaam * Dar , a Kashmiri tribe in India and Pakistan* Dar, Russian title of Vladimir Nabokov's book The Gift...

over access to ivory
Ivory
Ivory is a term for dentine, which constitutes the bulk of the teeth and tusks of animals, when used as a material for art or manufacturing. Ivory has been important since ancient times for making a range of items, from ivory carvings to false teeth, fans, dominoes, joint tubes, piano keys and...

 in Bahr el Ghazal
Bahr el Ghazal
The Bahr el Ghazal is a region of western South Sudan. Its name comes from the river Bahr el Ghazal.- Geography :The region consists of the states of Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Western Bahr el Ghazal, Lakes, and Warrap. It borders Central African Republic to the west...

 to the south of Darfur.

The Darfuris were restive under Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

i an rule, but were no more predisposed to accept the rule of the self-proclaimed Mahdi
Mahdi
In Islamic eschatology, the Mahdi is the prophesied redeemer of Islam who will stay on Earth for seven, nine or nineteen years- before the Day of Judgment and, alongside Jesus, will rid the world of wrongdoing, injustice and tyranny.In Shia Islam, the belief in the Mahdi is a "central religious...

, Muhammad Ahmad
Muhammad Ahmad
Muhammad Ahmad bin Abd Allah was a religious leader of the Samaniyya order in Sudan who, on June 29, 1881, proclaimed himself as the Mahdi or messianic redeemer of the Islamic faith...

, when in 1882 his Emir
Emir
Emir , meaning "commander", "general", or "prince"; also transliterated as Amir, Aamir or Ameer) is a title of high office, used throughout the Muslim world...

 of Darfur, who was from the Southern Darfur Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 Rizeigat
Rizeigat
The Rizeigat, or Rizigat, or Rezeigat are a Muslim and Arabic tribe of the nomadic Bedouin Baggara people in Sudan's Darfur region. The Rizeigat belong to the greater Baggara Arabs fraternity of Darfur and Kordofan and speak Sudanese Arabic...

 tribe led by Sheikh Madibbo, defeated the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 forces led by Slatin Pasha (that had just invaded Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 earlier that year) in Darfur. When Ahmad's successor, Abdallahi ibn Muhammad
Abdallahi ibn Muhammad
Abdullah Ibn-Mohammed or Abdullah al-Taaisha, also known as "The Khalifa" was a Sudanese Ansar General and ruler.-Early years:Abdullah was born into the Ta'aisha Baqqara tribe in Darfur around 1846 and was trained and educated as a preacher and holy man.He became a follower of Mohammed Ahmed "the...

, himself an Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 of Southern Darfur from Ta’isha
Ta’isha
Ta’isha is one of the Baqqara tribes, these nomads originated from the Guhayna group, a clan of Bedouin Arabs who came across the Sinai Peninsula from Arabia. They eventually moved into the Nile region of Upper Egypt and then into Sudan in the beginning of the 16 century around 1504. They settled...

 tribe, demanded that the pastoralist tribes provide soldiers, several tribes rose up in revolt. Following the overthrow of Abdallahi at Omdurman
Omdurman
Omdurman is the second largest city in Sudan and Khartoum State, lying on the western banks of the River Nile, opposite the capital, Khartoum. Omdurman has a population of 2,395,159 and is the national centre of commerce...

 in 1899 by the Anglo-Egyptian forces, the new Anglo-Egyptian government
Anglo-Egyptian Sudan
Anglo-Egyptian Sudan referred to the manner by which Sudan was administered between 1899 and 1956, when it was a condominium of Egypt and the United Kingdom.-Union with Egypt:...

 recognized Ali Dinar as the sultan of Darfur and largely left the Dar to its own affairs except for a nominal annual tribute. During World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, the British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, being concerned that the sultanate might fall under the influence of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, invaded and incorporated Darfur into the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan in 1916. Under colonial rule, financial and administrative resources were directed to the tribes of central Sudan near Khartoum
Khartoum
Khartoum is the capital and largest city of Sudan and of Khartoum State. It is located at the confluence of the White Nile flowing north from Lake Victoria, and the Blue Nile flowing west from Ethiopia. The location where the two Niles meet is known as "al-Mogran"...

 to the detriment of the outlying regions such as Darfur.

Conflict




This pattern of skewed development
Urban planning
Urban planning incorporates areas such as economics, design, ecology, sociology, geography, law, political science, and statistics to guide and ensure the orderly development of settlements and communities....

 continued following national independence
Independence
Independence is a condition of a nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over its territory....

 in 1956. To this was added an element of political instability caused by the proxy wars between Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

, Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

 and Chad
Chad
Chad , officially known as the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west...

. The influence of an ideology
Ideology
An ideology is a set of ideas that constitutes one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things , as in common sense and several philosophical tendencies , or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to...

 of Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 supremacy propagated by Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

n leader Muammar al-Gaddafi
Muammar al-Gaddafi
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar Gaddafi or "September 1942" 20 October 2011), commonly known as Muammar Gaddafi or Colonel Gaddafi, was the official ruler of the Libyan Arab Republic from 1969 to 1977 and then the "Brother Leader" of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya from 1977 to 2011.He seized power in a...

 that began to be acted upon by Darfurians, including those identified as "Arab" and "African". A famine
Famine
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, overpopulation, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every continent in the world has...

 in the mid-1980s disrupted many societal structures and led to the first significant fighting amongst Darfuris. A low level conflict continued for the next 15 years, with the government co-opting and arming Arab Janjaweed
Janjaweed
The Janjaweed is a blanket term used to describe mostly gunmen in Darfur, western Sudan, and now eastern Chad...

 militias against its enemies. The fighting reached a peak in 2003 with the beginning of the Darfur conflict
Darfur conflict
The Darfur Conflict was a guerrilla conflict or civil war centered on the Darfur region of Sudan. It began in February 2003 when the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army and Justice and Equality Movement groups in Darfur took up arms, accusing the Sudanese government of oppressing non-Arab Sudanese in...

, in which the resistance coalesced into a roughly cohesive rebel movement. The conflict
Darfur conflict
The Darfur Conflict was a guerrilla conflict or civil war centered on the Darfur region of Sudan. It began in February 2003 when the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army and Justice and Equality Movement groups in Darfur took up arms, accusing the Sudanese government of oppressing non-Arab Sudanese in...

 soon came to be regarded as one of the worst humanitarian disasters
Humanitarian crisis
A humanitarian crisis is an event or series of events which represents a critical threat to the health, safety, security or wellbeing of a community or other large group of people, usually over a wide area...

 in the world. The insurgency
Insurgency
An insurgency is an armed rebellion against a constituted authority when those taking part in the rebellion are not recognized as belligerents...

 and counter-insurgency
Counter-insurgency
A counter-insurgency or counterinsurgency involves actions taken by the recognized government of a nation to contain or quell an insurgency taken up against it...

 has led to 480,000 deaths, though the numbers are disputed by the Khartoum
Khartoum
Khartoum is the capital and largest city of Sudan and of Khartoum State. It is located at the confluence of the White Nile flowing north from Lake Victoria, and the Blue Nile flowing west from Ethiopia. The location where the two Niles meet is known as "al-Mogran"...

 government. Over 2.8 million people have been displaced
Internally displaced person
An internally displaced person is someone who is forced to flee his or her home but who remains within his or her country's borders. They are often referred to as refugees, although they do not fall within the current legal definition of a refugee. At the end of 2006 it was estimated there were...

 since the beginning of the conflict
Darfur conflict
The Darfur Conflict was a guerrilla conflict or civil war centered on the Darfur region of Sudan. It began in February 2003 when the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army and Justice and Equality Movement groups in Darfur took up arms, accusing the Sudanese government of oppressing non-Arab Sudanese in...

. Many of these refugee
Refugee
A refugee is a person who outside her country of origin or habitual residence because she has suffered persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or because she is a member of a persecuted 'social group'. Such a person may be referred to as an 'asylum seeker' until...

s have gone into camps where emergency aid
Emergency management
Emergency management is the generic name of an interdisciplinary field dealing with the strategic organizational management processes used to protect critical assets of an organization from hazard risks that can cause events like disasters or catastrophes and to ensure the continuance of the...

 has created conditions that, although extremely basic, are better than in the villages, which offer no protection against the various militia
Militia
The term militia is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service. It is a polyseme with...

s that operate in the region.

Darfur Peace Agreement



A Darfur Peace Agreement
Darfur Peace Agreement
There have been two Darfur Peace Agreements that have been signed between the Government of Sudan and Darfuri rebel groups which have intended to end the conflict that is taking place in the Darfur region of the Republic of Sudan.-Abuja Agreement :...

 between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan Liberation Movement
Sudan Liberation Movement
The Sudan Liberation Movement/Army or is a Sudanese rebel group...

 of Minni Minnawi
Minni Minnawi
Suliman Arcua Minnawi known as "Minni Minnawi" is the leader of the what once was the largest faction of the Sudanese Liberation Army until it was weakened by dissention and infighting...

 was signed in 2006. The agreement was only signed by one rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Movement, and rejected by the Justice and Equality Movement
Justice and Equality Movement
The Justice and Equality Movement is a rebel group involved in the Darfur conflict of Sudan, led by Khalil Ibrahim. Along with other rebel groups, such as the Sudan Liberation Movement , they are fighting against the Sudanese Government, including the government's proxy militia, the Janjaweed...

 resulting in continuation of the conflict. The agreement includes provisions for wealth sharing, power sharing and established a Transitional Darfur Regional Authority
Transitional Darfur Regional Authority
The Darfur Regional Authority is an interim governing body for the Darfur region of the Republic of Sudan. It was established as the Transitional Darfur Regional Authority in April 2007 under the terms of the 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement signed in May 2006.The Transitional Darfur Regional...

 to help administer Darfur until a referendum could be held on the future of the region. The leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement, Minni Minnawi, was appointed Senior Assistant to the President of Sudan and Chairman of the transitional authority in 2007.

In December 2010 the Sudan Liberation Movement withdrew from the peace agreement and the regional authority. Its leader Minni Minnawi fled to Southern Sudan and has since been dismissed as Senior Assistant to the President of Sudan and as Chairman of the Transitional Darfur Regional Authority. The new Chairman Shartai Jaafar Abdel Hakam
Shartai Jaafar Abdel Hakam
Shartai Jaafar Abdel Hakam is a Sudanese politician who is currently governor of West Darfur and Chairperson of the Transitional Darfur Regional Authority . He became Chairperson of the authority in December 2010 following the withdrawal of the Sudan Liberation Movement from the Darfur Peace...

 subsequently dismissed 10 other members of the Sudan Liberation Movement from the authority.

Doha peace forum


In December 2010, representatives of the Liberation and Justice Movement
Liberation and Justice Movement
The Liberation and Justice Movement is a rebel group involved in the Darfur conflict in Sudan, led by Dr Tijani Sese. The Liberation and Justice Movement is an alliance of ten smaller Darfuri rebel organisations which formed a new grouping on 23 February 2010...

, an umbrella organisation of ten rebel groups formed in February 2010, started a fresh round of talks with the Sudanese Government in Doha
Doha
Doha is the capital city of the state of Qatar. Located on the Persian Gulf, it had a population of 998,651 in 2008, and is also one of the municipalities of Qatar...

, Qatar
Qatar
Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...

. A new rebel group, the Sudanese Alliance Resistance Forces in Darfur, has also been formed and the Justice and Equality Movement
Justice and Equality Movement
The Justice and Equality Movement is a rebel group involved in the Darfur conflict of Sudan, led by Khalil Ibrahim. Along with other rebel groups, such as the Sudan Liberation Movement , they are fighting against the Sudanese Government, including the government's proxy militia, the Janjaweed...

 is planning further talks. The talks ended on December 19 without a new peace agreement but basic principles were agreed, these included a regional authority and a referendum on autonomy for Darfur. A Darfuri Vice-President was also discussed.

In January 2011, the leader of the Liberation and Justice Movement, Dr Tijani Sese, stated that the movement had accepted the core proposals of the Darfur peace document proposed by the joint-mediators in Doha. The proposals include a $300,000,000 compensation package for victims of atrocities in Darfur and special courts to conduct trials of persons accused of human rights violations. Proposals for a new Darfur Regional Authority were also included, this authority would have an executive council of 18 ministers and would remain in place for five years. The current three Darfur states and state governments would also continue to exist during this period. In February 2011, the Sudanese Government rejected the idea of a single region headed by a vice-president from the region.

On 29 January 2011, the leaders of the Liberation and Justice Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement issued a joint statement stating their commitment to the Doha negotiations and agreed to attend the Doha forum on 5 February 2011. The Sudanese government has not yet agreed to attend the forum on that date and instead favours an internal peace process without involvement of rebel groups. Later in February 2011, the Sudanese Government agreed to return to the Doha peace forum with a view to complete a new peace agreement by the end of that month. On 25 February 2011, both the Liberation and Justice Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement announced that they have now rejected the peace document proposed by the mediators in Doha. The main sticking points were the issue of a darfuri vice-president and compensation for victims. The Sudanese government has not commented on the peace document.

In June 2011, a new Darfur Peace Agreement (2011) was proposed by the Joint Mediators at the Doha Peace Forum. This agreement will supersede the Abuja Agreement of 2005 and if signed, preparations for a Darfur status referendum will be stopped. The proposed document included provisions for a Darfuri Vice-President and an administrative structure that includes both three states
States of Sudan
Below is a list of the 15 states of Sudan, organized by their original provinces during the period of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Arabic language versions are, as appropriate, in parentheses. States that were not provinces before 1994 are marked with . Transliterations from Arabic to English may vary;...

 and a strategic regional authority, the Darfur Regional Authority, to oversee Darfur as a whole. The new agreement was signed by the Government of Sudan and the Liberation and Justice Movement on 14 July 2011. The Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement did not sign the new document but have three months in which to do so if they wish.

Government


The region is divided into three federal states
States of Sudan
Below is a list of the 15 states of Sudan, organized by their original provinces during the period of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Arabic language versions are, as appropriate, in parentheses. States that were not provinces before 1994 are marked with . Transliterations from Arabic to English may vary;...

: West Darfur
West Darfur
West Darfur is one of the 15 states of Sudan, and one of three comprising the Darfur region. It has an area of 79,460 km² and an estimated population of approximately 1,007,000 . It borders North and South Darfur to the east. The Chadian prefectures of Biltine and Ouaddaï lie to the west,...

, South Darfur
South Darfur
South Darfur is one of the 15 wilayat or states of Sudan. It is one of the three states that compose the region of Darfur in western Sudan. It has an area of and an estimated population of approximately 2,890,000 . Nyala is the capital of the state. The State was affected by the 2010 Sahel...

, and North Darfur
North Darfur
North Darfur is one of the 15 wilayat or states of Sudan. It is one of the three states composing the Darfur region. It has an area of 296,420 km² and an estimated population of approximately 1,583,000 . Al-Fashir is the capital of the state...

. The Darfur Peace Agreement
Darfur Peace Agreement
There have been two Darfur Peace Agreements that have been signed between the Government of Sudan and Darfuri rebel groups which have intended to end the conflict that is taking place in the Darfur region of the Republic of Sudan.-Abuja Agreement :...

 established a Transitional Darfur Regional Authority
Transitional Darfur Regional Authority
The Darfur Regional Authority is an interim governing body for the Darfur region of the Republic of Sudan. It was established as the Transitional Darfur Regional Authority in April 2007 under the terms of the 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement signed in May 2006.The Transitional Darfur Regional...

 as an interim authority for the region. The agreement states that a referendum on the status of Darfur should be held no later than 2011. Minni Minnawi
Minni Minnawi
Suliman Arcua Minnawi known as "Minni Minnawi" is the leader of the what once was the largest faction of the Sudanese Liberation Army until it was weakened by dissention and infighting...

 was the first chair of this authority, holding that office from April 2007 until December 2010 when he was succeeded by Shartai Jaafar Abdel Hakam
Shartai Jaafar Abdel Hakam
Shartai Jaafar Abdel Hakam is a Sudanese politician who is currently governor of West Darfur and Chairperson of the Transitional Darfur Regional Authority . He became Chairperson of the authority in December 2010 following the withdrawal of the Sudan Liberation Movement from the Darfur Peace...

. A new peace agreement signed in 2011 saw the Transitional Darfur Regional Authority reconstituted as the Darfur Regional Authority with executive and legislative functions. The current chairperson of the Darfur Regional Authority is Tijani Sese, assuming the post on 20 September 2011.

In March 2011, it was proposed that two more states could be established in the Darfur region: Central Darfur around Zalingei
Zalingei
Zalingei or Zalinjay is a town in western Sudan, located in the state of West Darfur. It is known for its white cheese Gibna Bayda. As of 2009 it had an estimated population of 27,258....

 and Eastern Darfur around Ed Daein. The presidential decree making this official has not yet been released.

External links