Western Sudan’s Darfur region is regarded as the first genocide site in the twenty-first century, with the climax occurring in 2003. But the media stopped independent coverage more than a decade ago under the weight of President Omar al-Bashir’s regime.
When an arrest warrant against him was issued on the 4th of March, 2009 by pre-trial chamber indicting him on accounts of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide, his administration furiously reacted by ordering the expulsion of more than a dozen international NGOs working in the field of internally displaced persons, alleging them of cooperating with the court in its investigation.
Catastrophic events are still recurring in Darfur as the media has lost interest in covering the region. Human rights violators excitedly continue their activities as the media is unable to access and assess them. The recent widespread violation of human rights in the Jebel Moon location of west Darfur state has moved every humane Sudanese. Since 11th November 2021, Janjaweed militias have caused great terror in the area by looting and carrying out grave human rights violations.
The Janjaweed forces assaulted Jebel Moon in western Darfur in large numbers between November 17th and December 8th, 2021. Residents of over 42 villages were displaced to mountain caves, and thousands went into neighbouring Chad in search of protection. The transnational Janjaweed militias of Chadian and Sudanese Nomadic herdsmen have attacked Jebel Moon’s surrounding villages more than five times this year alone with killing and looting properties of African peasants communities of the locality.
The modernized Janjaweed militias known as Rapid Support Forces, which came out of Janjaweeds in 2013, grew to the rank of paramilitary force whose leader Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, aka Hemeti, the second man in Sudan’s transitional military leadership is being accused by the residents of Jebel Moon to have upper hand in terrorizing citizens of the area.
The aim of RSF in using its advanced military machinery against defenseless innocent civilians of the area is to move the indigenous community out of its minerally rich land for mining and futuristic military use. Jebel Moon is a strategic mountainous area that borders Chad which RSF wants to use for several reasons, including extralegal mining as it took control of Jebel Amer mining fields by force, by displacing the local community.
The joint operation of Janjaweed and RSF in Jebel Moon led to the destruction of lives, property and looting of thousands of herds of the area. It is not the first time RSF has been accused or caught red-handed terrorizing, looting and killing the civilians in Darfur as its very foundation is built on genocidal ideals.
For the Sudanese holy blood to be saved, the military tyranny must end in Sudan. Any proposition of having steps towards reconstructing a socially harmonious community in Darfur without the dissolution of RSF will have its opposite as a result. It’s a must for the Sudanese to weed-out dictatorial militarism and dissolve all militia groups and start forming a professional military with non-prejudistic principles to serve the nation’s interests in defense and enforcing the rule of law rather than the rule of men. RSF has shown Sudanese how militia-minded military doctrines can cost the nations by always causing intercommunal violence, lootings, and spearheading scorched earth policy favoring groups with which they identify themselves.
Despite their scarcity in Darfur, the local and international organizations should tie up their belts and immediately head towards Jebel Moon to provide lifesaving relief items to the affected community members. The West Darfur governor Gen. Khamis Abaker’s speech on November 21, 2021, at the Goz-Ngono incident, shows how unserious the governor is towards ensuring the safety of lives and property of residents in the area despite being part of those who joined the government through the Juba Peace Agreement, with claims to provide security in the war-torn areas. Khamis’s distorted position proves the fears of critics raised long before signing, that JPA won’t achieve anything beyond sharing national cake by the elites in government and the rebels.
It is solely the obligation of the Sudanese government in general and the state of West Darfur, in particular, to bring the perpetrators to justice as soon as possible. The government bears the primary responsibility for public safety and must be held liable for every citizen’s life and property lost in the tragedy.
Mohammed Yagoub is a writing fellow at African Liberty.