Find a Security Clearance Job!

Military


Darfur War - 2009

Conflict and human rights abuses in Darfur continued despite the 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) between the government and Minni Minawi's faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army. Civilians in Darfur continued to suffer from the consequences of genocide. Government forces and government-aligned militia continued to kill civilians; the government continued to bomb civilian areas. Women and girls experienced continued gender-based violence.

The government supported Chadian rebel groups. Darfur rebel groups committed serious abuses. According to the UN nearly 2.7 million civilians have been internally displaced, and over 250,000 refugees have fled to neighboring Chad since the conflict in Darfur began in 2003. The UN estimated in 2006 that 200,000 persons had died as a result of the conflict, and that by 2008 up to 100,000 more may have died.

On March 4, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for President Bashir as an indirect perpetrator or as an indirect coperpetrator of five counts of crimes against humanity--murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture, and rape--and two counts of war crimes--intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking part in hostilities, and pillaging in Darfur between March 2003 and July 2008.

Following the announcement, the government expelled 13 humanitarian nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from the country. The government also shut down three Sudanese NGOs in March. The expulsions and closures decreased the provision of humanitarian and development assistance, particularly in Darfur and the Three Areas (Abyei, Blue Nile, and Southern Kordofan).

In Darfur fighting involving government, government-aligned militias, rebel groups, and ethnic groups continued at lower levels than in previous years. Attacks and other acts of violence by all parties to the conflict resulted in civilian deaths and injuries, displacement, and property destruction. For example, the UN reported that between January and mid-May, approximately 137,000 persons in Darfur were displaced as a result of the conflict. Government forces provided support, weapons, and ammunition to government-aligned militias, and the government generally took no action against soldiers or militia members who attacked civilians. Rape and recruitment of child soldiers continued to be widespread.

On March 4, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for President Bashir as an indirect perpetrator or as an indirect coperpetrator of five counts of crimes against humanity--murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture, and rape--and two counts of war crimes--intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking part in hostilities, and pillaging in Darfur between March 2003 and July 2008. Following the announcement, the government expelled 13 humanitarian NGOs from the country. The government also shut down three Sudanese NGOs in March. The expulsions and closures resulted in significant gaps in food, shelter, health care, water, sanitation, and hygiene assistance. While some programs were able to continue utilizing local staff and government assistance, the expulsions dramatically decreased nonemergency humanitarian services.

On May 7, Ahmad Muhammad Haroun, for whom the ICC issued a warrant of arrest in 2007 when he was then state minister for humanitarian affairs, was appointed the governor of Southern Kordofan.

Ali Muhammad Abd al-Rahman, also known as "Ali Kushayb," a janjaweed militia commander, for whom the ICC issued a warrant of arrest in 2007, remained at large.

The African Union High-Level Panel on Darfur, led by former South African president Thabo Mbeki, conducted extensive meetings and hearings throughout the year in Khartoum and Darfur. In October the panel released a report with recommendations that included the creation of a hybrid court of Sudanese and international judges to prosecute the most serious crimes committed in Darfur and a truth and reconciliation commission.

Government forces and government-aligned militias engaged in the deliberate killing of civilians, including continued aerial bombardment of civilian areas. The aerial bombardment of villages was often followed by ground attacks by janjaweed.

In January in and around Muhajeria, South Darfur, fighting involving government forces and SLA/MM against the JEM resulted in deaths, injuries, and displacement of civilians. On January 14, the JEM attacked SLA/MM-controlled Muhajeria and took control of the town until February 3, when it withdrew. Government forces conducted aerial bombing of the area from January 22 to February 4. Two of the bombs hit an IDP site, killing a child. The fighting and bombing resulted in the almost complete displacement of the area's 30,000 residents.

On June 27 and 28, government aerial attacks and a subsequent ground assault on the village of Hashaba resulted in 38 deaths.

Beginning in early September, the SAF attacked SLA/Abdul Wahid (SLA/AW)-controlled Korma, North Darfur. On September 17, SLA/AW withdrew from Korma. Estimates on the number of civilians killed and displaced varied. A September 29 UNAMID assessment found that the fighting resulted in 13 civilian deaths and the displacement of 31,000 persons, extensive looting, and sexual violence.

Government security forces frequently fired on uniformed rebels in civilian areas, including those of DPA signatory SLA/MM. Conflicts between different government security forces and between government forces and militiamen resulted in civilian casualties. For example, on May 2, near Nyala, shots fired between NISS and CRP forces resulted in three civilian deaths. On May 9, in the main market area of El Fasher, shots fired between an SAF soldier and militiamen resulted in four civilian deaths.

Conflicts among different rebel groups and with militia in Darfur resulted in civilian casualties throughout the year. In May JEM attacked SLA/MM positions in Gorbora and east of Um Barro. Reportedly, 50 civilians were killed in the clash.

On February 8, in Wada'ah, North Darfur, fighting broke out between the SLA/MM and armed Mima militiamen, who opposed SLA/MM attempts to recruit them and to increase "taxes" on them. On February 10, SLA/MM forces attacked Wada'ah, destroying much of town and causing deaths and injuries. Government forces attacked SLA/MM forces on February 11 and gained control of the town.

There were developments in the ICC prosecutor's November 2008 sealed request for an arrest warrant for three rebel commanders for war crimes pertaining to the 2007 attack on African Union peacekeepers at Haskanita. On May 18, United Resistance Front in Darfur commander Bahr Idriss Abu Garba, alleged to have planned and executed the attack along with other persons, voluntarily appeared before the ICC in response to a summons. He was charged with three war crimes: violence to life in the form of murder, whether committed or attempted; intentionally directing attacks against personnel, installations, materials, units, and vehicles involved in a peacekeeping mission; and pillaging. On October 1929, the court held confirmation hearings for the case. The names of the two other rebel commanders were not announced publicly during the year, and they did not appear before the ICC.

Chadian armed groups, who operated openly in Darfur and were supplied and supported by Sudanese authorities, committed abuses in Darfur. According to an NGO report, in December Chadian rebels in North Darfur committed abuses including attacking villages, killing, raping, and looting from civilians. Intertribal fighting also resulted in the killings of civilians, particularly in South Darfur. For example, in March fighting between the Habaniya and Fallata tribes resulted in an unconfirmed number of civilian casualties. In North Darfur in late October, fighting between Birgit and Zaghawa tribesmen near Shangil Tobayi town killed 12 persons.

While civilian authorities in the north generally maintained effective control of the security forces and government-aligned militia outside of Darfur, there were frequent instances in which elements of the security forces and government-aligned militia acted independently in Darfur.

A UN report covering 2009 found that more than 14 Sudanese and foreign armed forces and groups in Darfur recruited and used children. The majority of such cases occurred in West Darfur. These groups included the SAF, police including the CRP and Border Intelligence Force, government-aligned militias, Chadian rebels, JEM, JEM (Peace Wing), Movement of Popular Force for Rights and Democracy, SLA/AW, SLA/Abu Gasim/Mother Wing, SLA/Free Will, SLA/MM, SLA/Peace Wing, and SLA/Unity. Darfur rebel groups also recruited child soldiers in the Sudanese refugee camps in Chad in 2009.




NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list