Sudan: April 19, 2004

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Despite the ceasefire (in place since October, 2002) fighting between the government supported Arab militias and the southern rebels continues. The violence has increased in the past few weeks and some 50,000 people have fled their homes to avoid the raids and pillaging by the Arab militias. The government wants peace, but the Arab tribal militias have been fighting the black Sudanese tribes for centuries. Actually, the "fighting" has been more in the from of raids by the mounted Arabs to obtain loot and slaves and to drive the black Sudanese farther south. This has been going on for centuries. The Sudanese Arab tribes live farther north and keep coming south looking for grazing land for their herds.. But the southern tribes are  now better armed and organized than they have ever been in the past. The fighting is basically over control of the land. The Arabs tend to be herders, while the black Sudanese are farmers. The Arabs want to graze their animals, the blacks want to plant crops. Added to the mix is religion, with the southerners being largely Christian while the Arabs are Moslem. 

 

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