“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a Janjaweed to enter the kingdom of God,” writes Sudanese author Abdelaziz Baraka Sakin in his book The Darfur Messiah. The Janjaweed, or armed horsemen, are a paramilitary group that represents one of the main actors in the conflict in Darfur, a region in western Sudan. Nomads and ranchers of Arab ethnicity, they have been fighting for years against the “non-Baggara”, blacks and farmers, against those who fight for the resources of the area. Two different ways of life that collide giving rise to a racial conflict that is perpetuated over time and that this weekend has claimed the lives of 168 people.
According to Adam Regal, spokesman for the General Coordination for Refugees and Displaced Persons in Darfur, the Janjaweed stormed into the town of Kreinik yesterday, burning and looting properties. Regal, whose group provides food and assistance to displaced people in the region, shared images of destroyed homes in the area, with some showing pickup trucks armed with machine guns.
The struggle of the Janjaweed has been supported by the Sudanese government
Sudan, the first country in Africa to achieve independence after World War II, has been from 1993 to 2019 under the regime of dictator Omar al-Bashir, accused by the International Criminal Court of having committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. during the Darfur conflict. The Janjaweed militias, who have been killing the black population of Sudan for years, were not acting on their own: they had the support of the government, which provided them with weapons to fight against the rebel groups of the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement. .
Al-Bashir was overthrown in 2019 after months of popular protests
After months of popular protests against rising food prices and against the Al-Bashir regime, the dictator was overthrown in 2019 following a military coup. Then, a transitional government was established that sought to improve the political and economic situation of the country and move towards democracy. Even so, the unrest continued to grow, which led to a new coup in October of last year. The military came back to power, with General Abdelfatah al-Burhan at the helm.
Recent violence raises questions about whether the military is capable of maintaining security in Darfur
The events of this weekend, which in addition to the deaths have left numerous wounded and displaced people, raise questions about whether the military leaders are capable of bringing security to Darfur, where the conflict continues with upsurges in violence, common since 2003.