An article "Darfur Liberation Front" at GlobalSecurity.org states:
- In February 1953, the United Kingdom and Egypt concluded an agreement providing for Sudanese self-government and self-determination.
- However, the Arab-led Khartoum government reneged on promises to southerners to create a federal system, which led to a mutiny by southern army officers that launched 17 years of civil war (1955-72).
- In May 1969, a group of communist and socialist officers led by Colonel Gaafar Muhammad Nimeiri, seized power. A month after coming to power, Nimeiri proclaimed socialism (instead of Islamism) for the country and outlined a policy of granting autonomy to the south.
- In 1983, Nimeiri abolished the southern region, declared Arabic the official language of the south (instead of English) and transferred control of southern armed forces to the central government. This was effectively a unilateral abrogation of the 1972 peace treaty.
- The second Sudan civil war effectively began in January 1983 when southern soldiers mutinied rather than follow orders transferring them to the north.
- In April 1985, while out of the country, Nimeiri was overthrown by a popular uprising in Khartoum provoked by a collapsing economy, the war in the south, and political repression.
- Meanwhile, the period of the 1990s saw a growing sense of alienation in the western and eastern regions of Sudan from the Arab center.
- In 1996, the U.N. imposed sanctions on Sudan for alleged connections to the assassination attempt on Egyptian President Mubarak.
- In July 2002, the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) reached a historic agreement on the role of state and religion and the right of southern Sudan to self-determination. This agreement, known as the Machakos Protocol and named after the town in Kenya where the peace talks were held, concluded the first round of talks sponsored by the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD).
- In 2003, while the historic north-south conflict was on its way to resolution, a rebellion broke out in Darfur, in western Sudan, led by two rebel groups--the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).
- On November 19, 2004, the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) signed a declaration committing themselves to conclude a final comprehensive peace agreement by December 31, 2004, in the context of an extraordinary session of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in Nairobi.
The government of Sudan maintains that conflict in this region of Darfour is primarily a tribal one, centred around the competition for land between pastoralists and crop farmers in the area. However, leaders of the Four tribe insist that the depopulation of villages and consequent changes in land ownership are part of a government strategy to change the whole demography of the region of Darfour.
Fighting between two main opposition groups -- the Sudanese Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) -- the Government of Sudan (GOS) military, and GOS-supported militia groups collectively known as Janjaweed intensified in the three states of Darfur, the western region of Sudan, during late 2003. Insecurity has steadily increased since the Darfur-based opposition SLM/A attacked GOS military forces at El Fasher, North Darfur, on April 24 and 25, 2003. The humanitarian emergency in Darfur is a direct result of violence toward the Fur, Zaghawa, and Massalit civilian groups by GOS forces and the Janjaweed. Conflict-affected populations describe recurrent and systematic attacks against towns and villages, burning of buildings and crops, arbitrary killings, gang rape, and looting. The GOS has used aerial bombardments to terrorize civilians who the GOS claims are harboring SLM/A or JEM forces.
As of December, 2006 no one had an accurate count of the number who had died. Extimates ranged from 250,000 to 390,000. The higher number counted those who have died from malnutrition and disease.
Darfur Liberation Front at GlobalSecurity.org
Sudan at state.gov
Sudan Research, Analysis, and Advocacy at sudanreeves.org
Darfur's Death Toll: Worst Fears Are True Newsweek Sept. 2006
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last updated 4 Dec 2006