Darfur: Radio Dabanga, News Digest No. 11 | 10 May 2015‏

This is the eleventh installment of a digest containing what I believe to be the most important stories reported by Radio Dabanga in the previous week. Radio Dabanga continues to be by far our most important and reliable source of information about what is occurring in Darfur, and provides a great deal more than the UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and the largely worthless quarterly reports of the UN Secretary-General.

OVERVIEW

In the further wake of Sudan's electoral travesty, this week has again been particularly dense with detailed news about violence and the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Darfur. Per usual, there are ten primary stories, with related stories in subsidiary positions in the text.  Of particular note are the reports on growing water shortages in several locations, a problem that has threatened Darfur for years, given the high concentration of populations in areas without adequate aquifers. Also of note is the explosive and highly dangerous rise in tensions between the Rizeigat and Ma'aliya (Arab) tribes in South Darfur. Assaults on civilians by the Rapid Support Forces, Khartoum's "militia of choice," continue throughout Darfur but are concentrated in East Jebel Marra. Indiscriminate aerial bombardment of civilians and sexual assaults on girls and women continue to be standard weapons of war.

I continue to emphasize in this digest that what is now called "Central Darfur" was formerly part of West Darfur (and to a lesser extent South Darfur). The further division of Darfur by the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party (NIF/NCP) regime in 2012 was arbitrary and entirely politically motivated; it has also worked to encourage geographical confusion (the western part of "Central Darfur," for example, borders eastern Chad). Similarly, "East Darfur" was also created arbitrarily in 2012 from parts of South Darfur. Geographically, it designates the southeastern region of Darfur.

This emphasis on geographical clarification derives from the fact that while North Darfur and eastern Jebel Marra continue to be the site of the greatest violence in Darfur, reports from West Darfur (including what is now "Central Darfur") as well as South Darfur (including what is now "East Darfur") are increasing alarmingly.

The UN has said no more about Khartoum's refusal to allow the medical flight evacuation (medevac) of a badly injured UNAMID peacekeeper in West Darfur (the Ethiopian soldier later died of his injuries, perhaps for lack of access to a trauma center because of the denied medevac). Such denial is not without precedent (see Digest No.10 http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Gt ).

Together these incidents, along with Khartoum's complicity in multiple deadly attacks on UNAMID, provide the context for a decision that is imminent in the negotiations between the UN, the African Union, and the Khartoum regime about the re-authorization of UNAMID; current authorization expires in less than two months (June 30, 2015). What we are seeing is Khartoum's effort to create significant "facts on the ground."

Even as the NIF/NCP regime is pushing for UNAMID's "exit," there are growing signs of civil unrest, especially in universities in several locations around the country. Darfuri students-and as indicated below even families of Darfuri students-are being detained, threatened, and beaten because of their prominence in the strengthening civil society movement that clearly will not end without a change in the regime. But it is not simply Darfuris: people from all over Sudan are growing increasingly restive, angry, and demanding of change. This is what accounts for the astonishing figure that Radio Dabanga provides in the first dispatch that appears here: 66 print runs of Sudanese newspapers have been confiscated in the past year alone. Print journalists-all broadcast resources in Sudan are completely under the control of the regime-know that there are many "red lines" they must cross, but even a tentative testing of these restrictions provokes action by security forces.

Another Radio Dabanga dispatch notes the tremendous costs the international community incurs responding to the needs of a country that has been ravaged by the regime, an economy that has been plundered by the regime, and an agricultural sector that the regime has allowed to collapse-obliging imports that cannot be paid for because the regime has no Forex with which to pay.   There have been acute shortages of imported wheat-which is made into flour and then bread, a food staple for most people in Sudan.  This shortage of imported wheat is the reason we repeatedly see reports of bread lines and bread shortages all over the country, even in the Khartoum/Omdurman areas.

All dispatches have again been edited to some degree for length; any editorial comments on my part appear italicized in [brackets] and in blue; all emphases within the cited texts have been added.

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 1 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1CD

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 2 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1De

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 3 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Dt

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 4 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Ei

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 5 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1EL

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 6 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Fp

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 7 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1FL

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 8 | http://sudanreeves.org/2015/04/19/6452/

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 9 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Gi

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 10 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Gt

Darfur: Radio Dabanga Digest, Number 11 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Hq

​​Eric Reeves, 10 May 2015

​Full digest, including all photographs and all links, at: http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Hq​ ... ​

 

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Eric Reeves 
Smith College
Northampton, MA  01063
       413-585-3326
       ereeves@smith.edu

       Skype: ReevesSudan 

 

       Website:   www.sudanreeves.org

Compromising With Evil: An archival history of greater Sudan, 2007-2012   www.CompromisingWithEvil.org