There’s more violence in Darfur now, not less

Niemat Ahmadi

In reference to Sudanese Ambassador, Khalid Mustafa’s letter, stating “violence in Darfur is much reduced.”

I find Mr. Mustafa’s letter dismaying and far from reality. As a survivor of the genocide in Darfur, millions of Darfuris and I long for peace and absence of violence. However, it’s not the type of fictional peace portrayed by Mr. Mustafa and his government for the sake of rebuilding international relations or ending their self-imposed isolation.

Let us set the facts straight.  The condition in Darfur has never been about the fighting between rebel and the Sudanese forces.  It’s about the Sudanese government’s systematic burning of villages, the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent women, men and children, and ordering of rape of women and girls. These acts resulted in the International Criminal Court’s indictment of President al-Bashir and three officials who have yet to face justice.

In 2016, Darfur witnessed the worst attacks in its 14-year of genocide, including allegations, brought by credible sources, of chemical weapons attacks and rape, which continues at an alarming rate. Just this past week, a camp in Kiraning was burned, three people were killed, including a woman and a seven-year-old boy and many were injured. These attacks were perpetrated by Sudanese Armed Forces against helpless IDPs, women, and children.

The statement made by the current head of UNAMID is the same statement made by former UNAMID leader, Rudolph Adada, in 2007, “the war in Darfur is over.” UNAMID’s failure has led its leadership to falsify success, disregarding the suffering of the people whom they are supposed to protect.

Today over 3 million genocide victims who have been languishing in camps for nearly 14 years, their land has been reallocated to new settlers, as a reward for implementing Khartoum’s plan in Darfur.

The Janjaweed and the notorious Rapid Support Forces are integrated into the armed forces. They continue to commit atrocities to silence civilians for Khartoum.

Khartoum continues to isolate Darfur. Its intention is noted in the arrests of Dauod, a Darfuri-American, and Mr. Cox, a British journalist. If Darfur is accessible for international reporting, why did the British journalist and the Darfuri-American need to sneak into Darfur? This incident alone questions the credibility of Mr. Khalid Mustafa and his government.

We believe, to validate its rhetoric. Ambassador Mustafa and his government at least allow the 13 NGOs expelled in 2009 to return and open full access to Jabel Marra, for investigation into allegations of chemical weapons, return confiscated lands, and to disarm the violent and terrorizing Rapid Support Forces, Janjaweed and other militias, or President al-Bashir turn himself into The Hague, as the minimum basis for peace with justice.

A shorter version of this letter was published in The Guardian