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Darfur's Armed Groups

The Darfur conflict features a dizzying array of armed opposition groups, factions, and alliances that are in constant flux. Many opposition groups have joined the government or endorsed peace agreements only to later rejoin the rebellion. Rebel groups are divided not only in terms of their ideological and political objectives, but according to tribal and geographical representation. In addition to native distinctions, foreign governments have sought to create or support coalitions of opposition forces for the purposes of pursuing peace talks. But these coalitions, and their constituent groups, have not always enjoyed popular support or legitimacy within Darfur.

On the other side of the conflict, the government has armed and supported counter-insurgency groups, in particular of Arab fighters, almost since the eruption of the war in 2003. These groups, too, have experienced significant internal upheaval, especially since the 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement, which many Arabs perceived as a betrayal. Fighting between Abbala and Baggara Arab groups in 2010 led to a second distinct ''phase" of the Darfur conflict. Some Arab armed groups have turned to the opposition.

Since 2006, the HSBA project has documented the ongoing evolution of armed groups--both state and non-state--and their roles in the Darfur conflict, and continues to report on new developments. HSBA fieldwork on armed groups in Darfur is document in Issue Briefs, Working Papers, and Facts and Figures reports, collected here.

Click below for information on armed groups in the following areas: