Rape, shooting and murder as government, PDF and Janjaweed forces engage
The simplistic view of the Sudan conflict is summed up by the stories about the Janjaweed Arab militia attacking ethnic African tribes in the Darfur region of south-west Sudan. Add to this attacks on government forces by the PDF and SLM/A rebels, whose support comes from these tribes and bloodthirsty retaliation by the Sudanese Armed Forces, and we have a clearer picture of the chaos that continues to spell the story of a living nightmare for the people caught in the middle. As usual, innocent civilians trying to survive.
The United Nations Organization has reported numerous cases of violence against civilians, particularly sexual violence against women and girls, who are terrified to leave their IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps.
Jose Luis Diaz, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, declared to the press yesterday that there have also been various cases of military activity in which civilians have been caught up - one such case being the shelling of the village of Masteri, West Darfur, by government troops in response to an attack by rebel forces.
Since 2003, tens of thousands of civilians have been killed or raped by Janjaweed militia and 1.7 million people have been forced to leave their homes, making this, according to the official description by the UN, the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
Despite peace agreements signed in Abuja, Nigeria, in November, after which the focus of the international community turned back towards Iraq, fighting continues. The agreements were signed between the two main rebel groups, the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) which had demanded a greater share of the region's resources and the Sudanese government, which has been accused of backing the Janjaweed militia, or at least turning a blind eye to its infractions, in an attempt to intimidate the local population in this oil-rich area.
The violence today is between the government forces, the Janjaweed and the Popular Defence Forces and there are also reports of abductions of civilians by the SLM/A.