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Sudan’s troubles

  • 28 July, 2020

  • 8 Min Read

Sudan’s troubles


  • The massacre of over 60 people over the weekend in Sudan’s Darfur region marks a further escalation in the violence blighting the territory since the 2019 ouster of the country’s dictator Omar al-Bashir.

Arab emperors vs. African ethnic groups

  • About 500 armed men targeted the Masalit community in west Darfur’s Masteri town, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
  • On Friday, 20 people, including women and children, were gunned down in a South Darfur town when displaced farmers were returning to the region under a recent government-backed agreement with the original landowners.
  •  Days earlier, Khartoum declared an emergency in the North Darfur region after a police station was burned down and vehicles set on fire by protesters in a small town and militias attacked another.
  • These incidents are a reminder of the unfinished task of restoring stability in Darfur racked by a conflict between the nation’s dominant Arab rulers and the African ethnic communities demanding greater autonomy from Khartoum.
  • Nertiti town in central Darfur has become the epicentre of the growing opposition in the region.
  • The mass sit-ins since June have attracted wider support from the professional classes that spearheaded the 2019 popular uprising that led to the fall of the autocratic regime of Mr. Bashir.

Demands of the Masalit community

  • In response to demands from women’s groups for basic protection following the violence, Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has announced the deployment of additional security forces.
  • But the continuing tensions merely reinforce concerns that the government’s assurances at the beginning of this month have not translated into concrete measures.
  • Another key demand is the hand-over of Mr. Bashir to The Hague to be tried for genocide and atrocities in Darfur.
  • While some officials have sounded positive on the question, top military officials in the transitional government are said to be concerned about the risk that others close to him could be implicated.

Way ahead

  • Meanwhile, extraditing Mr. Bashir — now imprisoned in Khartoum — could serve as a useful trade-off for the government to restore ties with the West, have sanctions removed and attract investment.
  • At any rate, securing the peace in the nation’s west is critical for Sudan’s broader democratic transition that was set in motion last year.
  • Restoration of normalcy is also the only route to the timely conduct of democratic elections.


Source: TH


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