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No, Darfur must not go to the dogs again

EDITORIAL
By Editorial | February 11th 2021

The killing of 470 people and displacement of thousands others in Sudan's Darfur region is alarming.

The bloodshed is reported to have been sparked by the stabbing to death of an Arab man by a suspected black man in Genena, the capital of West Darfur province, during a fight. The Arab man's family retaliated by attacking people in the camp, leading to widespread clashes.

Understandably, the killings evoked painful memories of early 2000s when attacks by Arab militias, known as janjaweed, left 300,000 people dead and 2.7 million others displaced. The janjaweed are said to have had the blessings of ousted president Omar al-Bashir, who is facing war crimes and genocide charges at the International Criminal Court.

Notably, the latest killings came after a United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission (UNAMID), that has been protecting the people in Darfur for the 10 years, ceased operations at the request of the transitional government.

By asking UNAMID to leave, one would have assumed that the government was fully prepared to take charge and plug the gap left by the peacemakers. But the bloodletting has clearly showed that that it is not. That is tragic.

The government must now pull up its socks and ensure that the life and property of each and every law-abiding Darfurian is protected. Above all, the government must be alert to ensure that Darfur does not slide back to the kind of anarchy that was witnessed in early 2000s. If Khartoum proves incapable of securing Darfur, the world must not stand by and watch as innocent lives are snuffed out.

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