Sudan (MNN) — 2021 is off to a brutal start in Sudan. Renewed tribal violence is surging in Darfur with little to no government intervention.
A Christian leader* working in the region says that militia riding horses, camels, and motorcycles began wreaking havoc in West and South Darfur in mid-January. They’ve expanded since then, pursuing villages in North Darfur this week.
He says the fighters target unarmed civilians, raiding, pillaging, and burning villages in their bloody conquest. Victims meet a graphic end as Janjaweed and Rapid Support Forces use decapitation and mutilation to terrorize onlookers.
“Militias armed with all kinds of weapons continued to loot, plunder and terror[ize] with coverage by the Rapid Support Forces,” the leader explains, explaining how the assailants enter and attack villages.
Describing what he calls a “massacre” near the capital of West Darfur, where militants killed 160 people and injured 200, our contact says:
The situation continues to cast a shadow over the entire city. The sounds of bullets are heard from time to time, and the security authorities are completely unable to protect civilians. The seriously wounded have not yet been evacuated. [There is a] need for urgent intervention to provide health services, food, shelter, and psychological support for the displaced, whose number is estimated at tens of thousands.
One community leader told this news outlet the events reminded him of 2003 when rebel groups began fighting government control. The government responded with violent ethnic cleansing targeting Sudan’s non-Arab population.
The ongoing conflict was declared “genocide” by United States Secretary of State Colin Powell on September 9, 2004. Five years later, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for then-President Omar al-Bashir for crimes against humanity. Last year, Sudan’s transitional government made history by agreeing Bashir should stand before the ICC.
Today, civilians still pay the highest price for conflict in Darfur.
“All the killed and injured [were] women and children,” the leader says of recent attacks.
Thousands of people have been displaced in the last two weeks, driven into harsh conditions with no food or water. Some have found shelter in public schools or government buildings, but aid organizations cannot reach everyone who needs help.
Although the Darfur violence is not rooted in religion, Christians are part of the targeted community. Our contact says believers help in whatever ways they can, whether by finding food and shelter for displaced communities or tending to injuries.
Pray for protection and ask the Lord for mercy in this situation. It looks entirely hopeless, but we serve a God who saves. Ask Him to intervene.
*–Name withheld for security purposes.
Header image depicts armed militia riding camels through a town in West Darfur. (Photo courtesy of a Christian leader working in this region.)