Albert González Farran, UNAMID

Why There’s a New Outbreak of Violence in Darfur

Violence has re-ignited in Darfur in recent weeks, with civilians continuing to bear the brunt of the complex relationships between paramilitary forces and other armed groups.

Over 500,000 that have been forced to flee their homes over the past year as violence has aggravated.  Armed groups and paramilitaries that had been receiving funding, training and arms from the government in Khartoum are seeing that support dry up due to a stagnating Sudanese economy.  The armed proxies and other bands have subsequently split off from the government, forming various new factions that are now wreaking havoc on civilian territories in Darfur. These added layers, including inter-Arab fighting over land and resources, has caused the once isolated conflict to raise the ire of greater Sudan.

Last Wednesday U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, referred to one of these militias, the Rapid Support Forces, that are unleashing terror on the people of Darfur. The Rapid Response Forces are reported to be one of the paramilitary forces that had received money, training and weapons from the government that are now creating chaos.”We condemn the most recent attacks in South Darfur by Rapid Support Forces supported by the Government of Sudan,” she said in a  statement. ” Continued violence in the region, including recent clashes in North Darfur … has displaced approximately 120,000 people since January.”

Sudan lost the majority of its oil revenues after South Sudan’s secession in 2011. Since then, the country’s economy has adulterated, with a steady rise in inflation and unemployment. These economic troubles have added to the already crackling tensions in a war-torn nation.

Last week, Sudanese police killed a Darfuri Arab student from the University of Khartoum who was participating in a protest over the Darfur bloodshed. In the past the people of Khartoum have not heavily mobilized around the conflict. The student’s burial became a political affair, with chants of “Revolution is the people’s choice!” Sudanese police teargassed numbers of demonstrators at the burial. Immediately following last week’s events, the University of Khartoum was closed indefinitely.

Though ICC-indicted President Bashir has called for a “national dialogue,” it seems that the economic slide, which has led to divisions in the once unified government ranks, is further splintering the already fractured nation. More violence, not less, is likely in Sudan’s future.