In 2014 the Darfur conflict appears far from resolution given the routine and widespread violence, massive civilian displacement (at least 250,000 displaced through February 2014), and ongoing aerial bombardments. Moreover, a new wave of violence involving security forces, armed movements, and inter-tribal conflicts has weakened internal security and hampered humanitarian access. The UN Panel of Experts continues to document violations of the UN embargo on arms and ammunition transfers to Darfur

The conflict continues despite the ongoing implementation of the 2011 Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) and the current ‘national dialogue’ (see Darfur Peace Process and Chronology). Internal divisions between and within the various armed opposition factions are delaying any prospects for implementing peace agreements.

The major active rebel movements, including the Sudan Liberation Army-Minni Minawi (SLA-MM), SLA-Abdul Wahid (SLA-AW), and mainstream Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), have repeatedly rejected participating in the Doha process. They advocate a new political vision based on a broad and inclusive national dialogue. The establishment of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) in November 2011 has led to rapprochement between the long-estranged SLA-MM and the Fur-dominated SLA-AW, as well as with JEM. As a consequence of the SRF’s establishment, the Darfur movements have conducted several joint operations against government forces outside Darfur—primarily in South Kordofan—but continue to operate independently in Darfur.

The dynamics of the Darfur conflict have continued to evolve in 2013-14. In particular, inter-tribal clashes have dramatically increased to include at least eight separate conflicts, leading to the forced displacement of more than 390,000 people in 2013. North Darfur is particularly affected. The conflicts have been triggered by issues of land ownership, political differences, and natural resources such as water, gold, and gum arabic. In addition those internally displaced in 2013, more than 30,000 refugees fled to neighboring Chad in 2013, and more than 250,000 people have fled the violence since February 2014. Beyond the displacement, inter-tribal fighting has further hindered DDPD implementation.

The increasingly uncontrolled involvement of government auxiliary forces—in particular the Central Reserve Police and the Border Guards—alongside the uniformed Popular Defense Forces and the Rapid Support Forces (including many former so-called ‘Jangaweed’ leaders) is also a hallmark of the evolving conflict. As it did in the early stage of the 2003 rebellion, the government is pursuing a strategy of supporting, financing, and arming militias to counter rebel incursion and operations, and is encouraging them to attack and destroy communities suspected of supporting or harboring rebels. The lack of government control allows these forces to operate with impunity, resulting in increased use of indiscriminate armed violence against the civilian population.

For more information on the Darfur conflict, including on specific armed groups as well as arms flows to the region, use the left-hand navigation bar.

August 2014