Constant conflicts concerning land were common practice in Sudan, but usually settled by traditional reconciliation methods. In February 2003 two rebel groups, the Sudan Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement drawn from members of the Fur, Masalit, and Zaghawa ethnic groups, demanded an end to chronic economic marginalization and sought power-sharing within the Arab-ruled Sudanese state. They also sought government action to end the abuses of their rivals, Arab pastoralists who were driven onto African farmlands.
Gaining only negative responses, a civil war unfolded on the divided country. Several factors such as severe drought, combined with intense clashes concerning grazing, arable land and water resources also played a major role in creation of the negative sentiments on behalf of the local communities toward Sudanese government.
Start of the conflict
One of the main issues which triggered the actual crisis was the government decision to arm Arab militia groups in Darfur. The government has responded to this armed and political threat by targeting the civilian populations from which the rebels were drawn. The response included ethnic manipulation in the form of a military and political partnership with Arab nomadic tribes which comprising the Janjaweed units. They were armed, trained, organized units with effective immunity for all crimes committed.
The government-Janjaweed partnership was characterized by joint attacks on civilians rather than on the rebel forces that participated in the conflict. These attacks were typically carried out by members of the Sudanese military accompanied with Janjaweed units wearing uniforms that were virtually indistinguishable from the standard army. Most of the attacks were frequently supported by the Sudanese air force, against which the civilians had no chance.
Numerous assaults have resulted in decimated small farming communities. Everything that can sustain life such as livestock, food stores, wells, blankets or clothing had been looted or destroyed. Villages were torched systematically, often not just once, but rather twice. The uncontrolled presence of Janjaweed units in the burned countryside and in abandoned villages has driven civilians into refugee camps and improvised settlements outside of the larger towns.
The violence had spread over the border to Chad with the same devastating effect. Innocent civilians died at the hands of factions, countless women and girls were raped and murdered without mercy, large numbers of men were tortured or killed, while children suffered severely from malnutrition and violence.
United Nations intervention
Finally, in July 2007 the United Nations agreed to pass Resolution 1769 which authorized the deployment of 26,000 peacekeeping forces in Darfur. The foundations for Darfur Peace Agreement were set and in 2011 it was reached in Doha. A peace agreement was signed between the two sides - the Government of Sudan and the Liberation and Justice Movement.
This agreement includes establishment of a compensation fund for victims of the Darfur conflict, allows the President of Sudan to appoint a Vice-President from Darfur and to establish a new Darfur Regional Authority as a overseer in the troubled region until a referendum can determine its permanent status within the Republic of Sudan.