Darfur Conflict Deepened
The conflict in Darfur has deepened despite the new government of national unity in Khartoum and the increasing number of African Union Peace keeping force presence in the region. It is estimated that between 200,000 and 400,000 innocent civilians in Darfur have been brutally murdered in an on-going military campaign, which the United States Congress and State Department have labelled as "genocide". More than 200,000 people have been driven out of their homes and many fled to neighbouring Chad, and more than 1,600,000 people have been internally displaced. The United Nations Commission of Inquiry declared on January 25, 2005 "government forces and militias conducted indiscriminate attacks, including killing of civilians, torture, enforced disappearances, destruction of villages, rape and other forms of sexual violence, pillaging and forced displacement, throughout Darfur. These acts were conducted on a widespread and systematic basis ... The vast majority of the victims of all of these violations have been from the Fur, Zaghawa, Massalit, Jebel, Aranga and other so-called 'African' tribes".
While the Abuja negotiations are taken place in the presence of the international community going and international to end the brutal war in Darfur, the rebel fighters appear to be in disarray. In fact, the main rebel movement Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) have reach stage of fighting each other. The SLM has now split into two after one faction held a congress and elected Mani Arko Minawi, one of the group's founding military commanders, as their new leader.
The power struggle inside the SLM has been going on for sometimes and this is jeopardising the prospect of peace in Darfur. Commander Minawi was elected by 486 votes out of 633 delegates, in a meeting reported to be attended by thousands of Darfurians and by rebel delegates. The vote took place at the close of a five-day deliberations in the eastern Darfur town of Haskanita, which was initially tipped as a reconciliation conference but was boycotted by SLM Chairman Abdul Wahid Mohammed Nur.
US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick who had recently been appointed as Deputy Secretary in US State Department and during this period he visited Sudan four times. In his last visit at the beginning of this month, he described the situation in Darfur has worsened. He said," If people are determined to kill each other, there's not a lot the United State can do".
The Darfur rebel hold much of the responsibility for the surge in violence, though American officials say the government typical response is brutal and indiscriminate, leading to deaths of hundreds of civilians not involved in the conflict.
Ambassador Zoellick efforts to promote peace in Darfur by brining all factions fighting in Darfur to Nairobi for reconciliation did not succeed. Abdel-Waheed came but Minawi did not attend but sent a delegation of low key who walked out of the meeting when AdelWaheed entered the hall. Again the meeting organised in al-Fasher ended with no reconciliation.
Currently, the government is proposing a regional conference, to bring all parties involved in Darfur conflict into a round table conference. "The solution to the root causes of the problem lies with the people of Darfur themselves, said President al- Bashir.
It is no doubt that the people of Darfur are the victims of themselves of, engineered internal ethnic conflict caused by the government and the involvement of forces from the outside Sudan who have their own agenda in Darfur.