Reported attacks in South Sudan in December 2021

Men with rifles, South Sudan Men with rifles, South Sudan Randy Fath on Unsplash

14 December

New wave of attacks has resulted in deaths, injuries and massive displacement in Darfur, South Sudan

According to Human Rights watch, there have been a series of attacks on civilians in Darfur since mid-November and December that demand urgent response from the United Nations (UN) to abate the situation in the region. Violence has been on the rise between armed groups since the withdrawal of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) last year. This escalation has been extremely devastating on the civilians. 

According to Mohammed Osman, a Sudanese researcher at Human Rights Watch, the resurgent violence in the region has led to deaths, injuries and mass displacement and international monitors should refocus their attention on Darfur. It was against this backdrop that the UN deployed a human rights monitoring group in the area to address harmful activities happening there, including expertise on gender-based crimes. It is interesting to state here that the authorities have not done enough to provide formidable protection and justice to the civilians. This has been one of the various localized factors to end violence in the region. It must be recalled that the UN Security Council terminated the mandate of UNAMID in December 2021 and called on the government to take over the responsibility for civilian security.

However, the new political mission — the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) —  whose mandate is to support the strengthening of the protection of human rights, has not abated the violence since its formation. Indeed, the known peacekeeping UNAMID was dropped and replaced with UNITAMS, which focuses more on institution building than on monitoring human rights violations and violence. The foregoing has not helped the civilians in the region as there have been new waves of attacks and internal displacement since the peacemakers' departure. Civilians in West Darfur have gruesomely experienced several attacks since the beginning of the year, resulting in deaths, injuries and massive internal displacement. The head of UNITAMS, Volker Perthes, told the Security Council on 10 December that the displacement of civilians has increased eightfold since 2020. 

Sadly, the UN refugee agency has drawn attention to the reports of sexual violence and destruction of villages, leaving the inhabitants homeless and fleeing across the border into Chad. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), if serious action is not taken now, 6.2 million people, half of Darfur’s population, will need humanitarian assistance in 2022. The glaring evidence is that since 2021 Darfur has been under attacks, with many people killed, injured and displaced. It is unfortunate that the violence against civilians has not ceased, nor have the atrocious crimes for which there is largely no accountability. 

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Author: Madu Chisom; Editor: Katherine Meunier


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