As UNAMID deploys out of Darfur: ethnically-targeted violence continues on a wide scale

The failed UN/African Union “hybrid” Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)—which has shamelessly and with gross inaccuracy celebrated its success for the almost ten years in which it has been charged with protecting civilians and humanitarians—is (per its most recent reauthorization by the UN Security Council | June 2017) drawing down its forces on a scale ensuring that what exceedingly limited protection the Mission has offered will be greatly reduced. 44 percent of military personnel are being deployed out of Darfur and 30 percent of the policing personnel. The knock-on effects of withdrawing this hopelessly misconceived, demoralized, ill-equipped, and badly led Mission are many.

Some of the greatest consequences will be a reduction in humanitarian access; for example, since the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) flies only to areas militarily protected, locations abandoned by UNAMID troops will no longer be accessible. This is especially perverse since a condition for the permanent lifting of U.S. economic sanctions by the Trump administrationwas the improvement of humanitarian access in Darfur. The UN’s current estimate of the number of people in Darfur in need of humanitarian assistance is 3 million.

Tragically, the greatest consequence of UNAMID’s deployment out of Darfur are the continuation, and in some places acceleration, of daily ethnically-targeted attacks on civilians throughout Darfur, primarily by Arab militias controlled or sanctioned by Khartoum. Non-Arab (African) civilians continue to be—as they have been for more than fourteen years—subject to murder, rape, displacement, and loss of property and goods.

There is good reason to believe that we will see in the reports from Darfur (conveyed primarily by Radio Dabanga) continuation, and most likely acceleration, of these attacks. Only the fact of previous vast destruction of African villages and the violent expropriation of farmlands, and the massive concentration of displaced persons (some 2.7 million in Darfur itself, another320,000 in eastern Chad refugee camps) limits the scale of attacks.

Moreover, we should remember that some 600,000 people have been killed as a direct or indirect result of violence over the past fourteen years: this approaches ten percent of the pre-war population in Darfur (see | http://sudanreeves.org/2017/01/05/quantifying-genocide-darfur-mortality-update-august-6-2010/).

As a crude barometer of the scale of violence, I will be assembling weekly a brief compendium of foreshortened dispatches (all with sources on the ground). For surveys covering more extensive periods the violent expropriation of African farmlands (November 2014 – November 2016) and the rape of girls and young women (for the years 2014 and 2015), see:

http://sudanreeves.org/2016/02/17/changing-the-demography-violent-expropriation-and-destruction-of-farmlands-in-darfur-november-2014-november-2015/

http://sudanreeves.org/2017/03/07/continuing-mass-rape-of-girls-in-darfur-the-most-heinous-crime-generates-no-international-outrage-january-2016/

Herewith the second weekly compendium of violence reported from Darfur during the withdrawal of UNAMID; I also include the most revealing medical news of the past week, particularly about the continuing cholera epidemic, denied to exist by the regime, even when labeled “Acute Watery Diarrhea,” the medical euphemism of choice by both the regime and the UN’s key humanitarian agencies, WHO and UNHCR. All emphases in bold are mine; the emphases in red bold are of particularly significant passages:

VIOLENCE IN DARFUR

• USA renews Sudan travel warning | Radio Dabanga | October 19, 2017 | WASHINGTON | https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/usa-renews-sudan-travel-warning

The US Department of State today issued a new travel warning to US Citizens of the risks of travel to Sudan. “US citizens should avoid all travel to the Darfur states, Blue Nile state, and South Kordofan state and consider carefully before planning travel to other areas of Sudan due to the risks of terrorism, armed conflict, and violent crime.”

The latest warning replaced one issued at the end of March. It states that “the US Embassy’s ability to provide services outside of Khartoum is extremely limited. Terrorist groups are present in Sudan and have stated their intent to harm Westerners and Western interests through suicide operations, bombings, shootings, and kidnappings. Violent crimes targeting Westerners, including kidnappings, armed robberies, home invasions, and carjacking can occur anywhere in Sudan, but are particularly prevalent in the Darfur states. Several aid workers and private citizens have been kidnapped and held hostage for ransom in the Darfur states over the last year.”

“Significant reduction in conflict”

“Despite a significant reduction in the past year in military conflict between the Government of Sudan and opposition forces in Darfur, Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states, tensions in the Darfur states, along the border between Chad and Sudan, and in areas that border South Sudan, including the disputed area of Abyei‎ remain high and violence continues. In addition to risking injury or death, US citizens who go to these areas without the permission of the Sudanese government may be detained by security forces.

Armoured vehicles

The Embassy warning instructs “US government personnel in Sudan to use armoured vehicles for official travel, and prohibits most travel outside of Khartoum without advance permission and extra security precautions.

• U.S. warns citizens against travel to Sudan’s Two Areas, Darfur | Sudan Tribune | October 19, 2017 (KHARTOUM)

| http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article63794

The United States warned its citizens on Thursday against the risk of terrorist and criminal attacks in Sudan troubled areas, saying should avoid travelling to the Darfur states, Blue Nile state, and South Kordofan. “Terrorist groups are present in Sudan and have stated their intent to harm Westerners and Western interests through suicide operations, bombings, shootings, and kidnappings,” said the State Department in a travel warning released on Thursday.

• Market dealer killed, three Darfuri students wounded in West Kordofan armed robbery | Radio Dabanga | October 19, 2017 | EL FULA | https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/market-dealer-killed-three-darfuri-students-wounded-in-west-kordofan-armed-robbery

A man was shot dead El Hadi El Tijani Abdallah was shot dead and three others were wounded in an armed robbery in a house in El Fula in West Kordofan on Wednesday morning. One of the wounded, Abu Bakr Yahyaa, who hails from Garasila in Central Darfur and is a student at El Salam University told Radio Dabanga that they were surprised while they were sleeping at 4 am on Wednesday by four armed men, three of them in military uniform, in the rented house where he lives with seven other students. He explained that the gunmen asked El Hadi El Tijani Abdallah who is from Thawani area in east Jebel Marra, a graduate and a dealer at El Fula market, to hand them all of his money. When Abdallah told the gunmen that he had no money they shot himand killed him instantly. Yahyaa said the gunmen continued to fire, wounding him in his leg, while his colleagu

e Ibrahim Mohamed Nur from El Fasher was wounded too.

• 25 dead as Chad camel raiders clash with West Darfur posse | Radio Dabanga | October 19, 2017 | KULBUS / KABKABIYA

| https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/25-dead-as-chad-camel-raiders-clash-with-west-darfur-posse

At least 25 people were killed and an unknown number wounded when armed camel rustlers from Chad clashed with a local rescue team in West Darfur this week. The situation in the area is reportedly still tense. Sources told Radio Dabanga that the incident began on Monday when gunmen from neighbouring Chad stole camels belonging to Mattar Midkheir Awad at El Hatata area north of Kulbus in West Darfur.

A local rescue team managed to recover the camels on Tuesday after a clash that resulted in the death of three of the raiders. The thieves then launched a counter-attack; 15 raiders were killed, as well as eight members of the rescue posse. Callers for the area say the situation as dangerous and tense, as there is no a large gathering and mobilisation of armed men in the area, but no government forces have responded. Th