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Darfur War - 2011

In Darfur fighting involving government forces, government-aligned militias, rebel groups, and ethnic groups continued in 2011. In Darfur and the Three Areas, government forces and government-aligned militias killed civilians, including by repeated aerial bombardment of civilian areas. Ground attacks often followed aerial bombardments. Rebel forces also killed civilians during attacks.

Darfur rebel factions, bandits, and unidentified assailants also killed, beat, and abducted civilians, humanitarian workers, and personnel of UNAMID. Interethnic violence was a severe problem and resulted in civilian deaths and displacement.

Clashes between the SAF, associated militias, and rebel forces, as well as tribal fighting and violent criminality, led to the killing of an estimated 939 people in Darfur during the year. In 2010, 2,321 confirmed killings occurred.

As a result of conflict, an estimated 1,945,000 civilians remained internally displaced, and approximately 274,640 refugees remained in Chad. According to UN estimates, as many as 70,000 persons were displaced between January and October in Darfur by government and rebel fighting as well as increased tribal violence. During the year the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) verified 110,000 returns of IDPs and 30,000 refugees, mostly to areas in West Darfur.

Fighting between government forces, irregular forces aligned with the government, and rebel groups particularly affected the area of Jebel Marra. Violence in Jebel Marra--a mountainous area that reaches into each of the Darfur states--killed and displaced numerous civilians. In eastern Jebel Marra, government forces and Arab militias launched offensives against rebel forces based in the mountains. In western Jebel Marra, the government also launched aerial bombardment campaigns against rebel-held towns.

Fighting between the SAF and rebel forces in eastern Jebel Marra particularly affected Feina, Suni, Jawa, Golombai, and Fanga Suk villages. In western Jebel Marra, the villages of Nertiti, Sortony, Kaguro, and Rockero suffered from heavy fighting.

In addition heavy fighting between government-supported militias and ethnic Zaghawa rebels, sometimes affiliated with the Sudan Liberation Movement/Minni Minnawi (SLM/MM), broke out in December 2010 and continued through May. Intercommunal violence continued during the year in North and South Darfur. Conflicts in IDP camps also resulted in deaths. Rape as well as recruitment of child soldiers continued to occur.

In January the SAF launched an aerial and ground offensive around Shangil Tobaya, North Darfur, that caused deaths and large-scale civilian displacement. In April and May, heavy fighting broke out between government forces and rebels in the area around Muzbat and Um Baru, North Darfur, traditionally held by the SLM/MM. Humanitarian organizations lacked access to Jebel Marra, with the government permitting only brief day-trips to certain areas, making it difficult to gather information on the fightings impact on civilians. UNAMID documented gender-based violence in connection with the fighting in Jebel Marra.

There were numerous reports of aerial bombardments. For example, on February 17, the government bombed Tukumare, North Darfur, killing at least three civilians and injuring three others. On April 10-12, the government launched numerous aerial bombardment campaigns around Muzbat, North Darfur, followed by ground attacks.

From January to March, in South Darfur, fighting between government and Sudan Liberation Army/Minni Minawi (SLA/MM) forces displaced tens of thousands of persons from Khor Abeche and Shaeria. Negeha and Jaghara villages, near Khor Abeche, were burned. Humanitarian staff was denied access to Khor Abeche. In North Darfur, fighting between government forces and rebel groups in Dar al-Salaam and Shangil Tobaya continued from December 2010 through March, and sporadically afterward. There were reports of civilian deaths, looting, and destruction of civilian property during the fighting in both North and South Darfur.

On May 31, progovernment militia attacked the predominantly Zaghawa town of Abu Zerega, North Darfur, and killed two civilians, looted livestock, and took at least 14 civilians hostage. The hostages, with their hands tied behind their backs, were taken to a field and executed. During the government-led investigation that followed, one Zaghawa resident of Abu Zerega who had been an eyewitness to the looting and killings on May 31 was reportedly taken out of his vehicle and shot.

Inter- and intratribal conflict continued during the year, fueled by growing competition for resources exacerbated by desertification and population growth, the weakening of traditional mediation mechanisms, and the proliferation of arms. However, inter-Arab fighting markedly decreased during the year compared with a spike in incidents in 2010.

The UN reported that between January and October, intertribal violence killed approximately 95 persons. This accounted for 11.5 percent of violence-related deaths in Darfur. According to UN reports, fighting erupted in June between the Salamat and Habaniya tribes in Buram, South Darfur. The Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) confirmed 70 people were killed and an estimated 1,500 households were displaced as a result of the clashes.

On August 5, a Sierra Leonean peacekeeper serving with UNAMID was killed and a second was seriously injured when their car was ambushed by four gunmen in Duma Village, northeast of Nyala, South Darfur. On October 10, unidentified assailants ambushed a UNAMID patrol in North Darfurs Zam Zam IDP camp. Two Rwandan soldiers, one Senegalese police advisor, and one attacker died during the ensuing firefight.

Sexual and gender-based violence continued during the year throughout Darfur. Authorities often obstructed access to justice for rape victims. IDPs reported that perpetrators of such violence were often government force members, militia members, or unidentified men. Assailants assaulted, raped, threatened, shot, beat, and robbed women.

According to UN and Radio Dabanga reports, both state and nonstate armed actors raped at least 115 Darfuri women between February and December. This number did not include several mass rapes reported by the UN and Radio Dabanga. In addition, two boys were reportedly raped in North Darfur. The majority of victims identified their perpetrators as belonging to government-affiliated militias.

During the year Operation Spring Basket, a UNAMID initiative in partnership with humanitarian organizations began, aimed at increasing secure access for humanitarian workers to Jebel Marra and areas of North Darfur previously inaccessible to them. The operation produced mixed results, as the NISS often denied flight permission to UN helicopters. Rebels also blocked access to areas under their control.

For example, access to the Darfuri Kalma IDP camp was granted on a case-by-case basis. On May 20, UNICEF staff were denied access while other organizations such as Care International Switzerland and OXFAM America were granted access the same month.

On February 10, security officials arrested 13 Medecins du Monde (MDM) local staff working in eastern Jebel Marra. By August all the employees were released. The government also expelled MDM from Darfur, allegedly for reporting false information regarding the security and humanitarian situations. On May 6, a UNAMID national staff member was arrested allegedly for proselytizing and being affiliated with the SLA/AW movement. She was released on July 12.

Policy discrepancies between Darfur state-level and Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) officials in Khartoum adversely affected humanitarian operations.

The HAC continued to require that NGOs refrain from interviewing or selecting staff unless they used a five-person government selection panel with HAC officials present, significantly delaying the hiring of new staff in Darfur. The HAC also continued to impose additional requirements on humanitarian organizations during the year on an ad hoc basis, often at the state level.

Rebel forces and bandits obstructed humanitarian assistance, regularly attacked the compounds of humanitarian organizations, and seized humanitarian aid and assets, including vehicles. Kidnappings and attacks on humanitarian convoys continued during the year. Instability forced many international aid organizations to reduce their operations in Darfur.

Government forces provided support, including weapons and ammunition, to government-aligned militias, and the government seldom took action against soldiers or militia members who attacked civilians. During the year the government began to provide weapons to African tribes to fight other African tribes; in past years the government primarily provided Arab tribes with weapons to fight against African tribes. Rebel forces reportedly received financial support from foreign sources during the year.

A state of emergency, which allowed for arrest and detention without trial, remained in place in Darfur and was extended to Blue Nile State. The special courts from 2010 ceased to exist; however, the Ministry of Justice appointed a series of three special prosecutors for Darfur during the year. The judiciary was inefficient and subject to corruption. In Darfur judges were often absent from their posts, delaying trials.




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