Sudan: May 3, 2004

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The five million people in the Darfur region of western Sudan have never seen much control from the Sudanese, or any other, government. Darfur is truly in the middle of nowhere. But the government is allowing pro-government (ethnic Arab) tribal militia to drive black African tribes off land that the Arab tribes have long wanted. This will give the government more control over this region.

Darfur is in the Sahel region, a belt of land just south of the Sahara desert that is very dry. Water, and grazing or farming land is in limited supply. The Arab dominated government is backing the Arab tribes in their efforts to grab most of the good land and push the black African tribes into less desirable land.. So far, about a million refugees have been pushed out of their villages and into wilderness areas. About 110,000 people have fled across the border to Chad. Some 10,000 people, mainly non-Arabs, have been killed so far. But it is feared that hundreds of thousands more will die from lack of food and water if peace is not restored and foreign aid allowed into Darfur. 

The government has agreed to a 45 day truce with the two rebel organizations (that oppose the governments pro-Arab policy) in Darfur, and called for foreign aid for the refugees in the region. But the government continues to deny that it is supporting, arming and supplying the Arab tribal militias in Darfur. The government is under great diplomatic pressure from African, Arab and Western governments to stop supporting the ethnic cleansing and killings in Darfur. The government is sort of responding.

 

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