Violence in Darfur triggers Sudan's highest conflict in six years

Refugee camp Refugee camp Photo by Anonymous on Albumarium

23 February 2021

Inter-communal attacks in West, South and North Darfur forced many to flee their homes, and many more continue to flee.

After a burst of violence from armed militias belonging to the Massalit and Arab communities from the 15th to the 18th of January, nearly 183,000 civilians have been newly displaced. This number is higher in three days than the number of civilians that were displaced in all of 2020. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs (OCHA) around 60 percent of the displaced population is under the age of 18.

Sudan has a long history with displaced civilians and in 2020 was still home to at least 2.1 million internally displaced people (IDPs), according to OCHA. This number is a vast improvement from the early 21st century with numbers as high as 6.1 million IDPs in 2005.

Displacement sites are overcrowded and lacking all the basic resources necessary for IDPs to have an adequate standard of living. Alexandra Bilak, the director of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), asserts that Darfur is close to falling back into a period of intense violence. Bilak believes that the tens of thousands of IDPs due to Janjaweed militias will not be permitted to return home anytime soon.

This wave of increased violence comes after a mandate from the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) ended on 31 December 2020. A new mandate from the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) was launched shortly after but is still proving to be ineffective in preventing violence in Sudan.


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Author: Gabriella Pavlakis; Editor: Sitara Sandhu

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