Sudan has been plagued by increasing violence for almost 20 years, the New York Times reports. Darfur, in the western region of Sudan, has been the target of genocidal violence since the early 2000s which has led to over 300,000 deaths.
Violent attacks against African communities have been on the rise in the past year, with over 420,000 people fleeing their homes in 2021, according to Sudan’s United Nations humanitarian affairs office.
While most of the world is focused on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the humanitarian crisis in Darfur has almost been forgotten.
“The world has forgotten about Darfur once again,” said Rebecca Hamilton, an associate professor of law at the American University in Washington and the author of Fighting for Darfur.
Duncan Riddell, the Darfur area manager for the Norwegian Refugee Council aid agencies has seen minimal fundraising for Darfur which once had celebrities from across the world protesting and raising money for the cause.
One of the reasons for the massive increase in violence is when the United Nations contingent withdrew from the Darfur region 15 months ago.
An estimated 700 people were killed or wounded in armed attacks in Darfur last year, while other organizations say the number is even greater.
Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan, currently the second most powerful person in Sudan, has reemerged in the turmoil. Back in the early 2000s, he was a commander of the Arab militia known as the Janjaweed, which led some of the worst attacks against ethnic African communities. Recently, he appeared in Moscow on the first day of the war in Ukraine seeking aid from the Russian government.
Although he had fostered a peace agreement in October 2020 with rebel factions in Darfur, eventually, the violence resumed, sometimes stoked by Hamdan’s own military personnel.
In the aftermath of ongoing attacks, the United Nations has called Sudanese authorities to end the fighting but the call is said to have come too late.
Magdi el-Gizouli, a fellow at the Rift Valley Institute, a research group, noted that any small disagreement in the region results in violent responses.
“Even the most petty of infractions or disagreements are now sorted out with a round of warfare,” she said.
Awatif Fadl, who experienced the immeasurable loss of nine members of her family due to the escalating violence in the region, spoke about the grim reality of the situation.
“Nobody came to save us,” Fadl said.
“They keep killing us,” she added. “But we are one people and we can live together.”