World in View: Ethnic Cleansing in the Darfur Region

May 7, 2024

by Eugene Walker

The genesis and the root of the war really is the revolution of 2018, 2019. It’s a war against the Sudanese people. The war has absolutely no legitimacy in civil society and no real constituency for either side.
Khalid Mustafa Medani,
chair of the African studies program, McGill University


The war in Khartoum is totally different from in Darfur. The war in Darfur is the Janjaweed attacking innocent people sitting in their own villages.
Man who escaped the Janjaweed


It has been more than a year since two authoritarian Sudanese generals—Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, head of the Sudanese army, and Mohamed Hamdan (Hemedti) Dagalo, head of the paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF, also known as the Janjaweed)—launched their forces against one another. But more specifically, both are warring against the Sudanese masses. The two generals worked together to destroy the Sudanese masses’ 2018-2019 revolution that overthrew the dictator Omar al-Bashir. Then they began to war against each other for control of Sudan. The result has been the devastation of the entire country.


Masalit women protest in UK (May 2022) denouncing the murder, rape, and displacement of their people in Darfur. Photo: Alisdare Hickson, CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED

More than eight million of Sudan’s population of 45 million have been displaced. Close to two million have fled the country, arriving primarily in Chad and South Sudan. Khartoum, the capital, has been one site of the fighting, with General Burhan’s Sudanese army bombing the RSF there. At the same time, the Darfur region, where some nine million people live, is a center of the conflict. It is where one can see that there are two wars going on simultaneously.

The second region of war is the ongoing ethnic cleansing approaching outright genocide against African community people, particularly the Masalit. This war is being carried out by Arab troops linked to Hemedti’s RSF, who control the majority of Darfur’s regions. Tragically, it is a continuation of the genocidal war the Janjaweed began almost two decades ago. The RSF’s origins are linked to the Janjaweed.

Killing Masalit boys and men, raping Masalit girls and women and scorching the earth is the RSF’s mode of operating while it fights the Sudanese army. The army’s bombing only strikes terror in the population. There are numerous refugee camps in Darfur. At the ZamZam camp, it is estimated that a child dies every couple of hours, as aid organizations fled as the war rages on. The situation in the camp is desperate, with drinking water, few medical supplies, and meager food stores.

Dengue fever and malaria are sweeping through the camp. Beyond its perimeters roam militiamen who kidnap or attack women who venture out to collect firewood or grass for their donkeys.” (The Guardian, Feb. 21)

While the RSF is committing these atrocities in Darfur, the Sudanese army hardly has clean hands. The choice cannot be limited to these two. Only a reigniting of the Sudanese revolution from below can provide a viable pathway forward.

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