Conflict continues to rage in the Darfur region of Sudan even though the conflict began 13 years ago and the Darfur Peace Agreement was signed 5 years ago. Since mid-January, the Sudanese government has conducted air raids and military attacks, which have ravaged the Jebel Marra region of Darfur.
On 16 March, witnesses reported that the Sudanese Air Force dropped 9 barrel bombs on one Jebel Marra town, destroying 25 homes. Following the bombing, activists in Jebel Marra reported that the sustained military offensive against the armed rebels has resulted in the torching of 150 villages. 100,000 civilians have been displaced as a result of these bombings
Rebel fighters of the Sudan Liberation Movement responded to the attacks in southwestern Jebel Marra. The group’s leader, Abdel Wahid El Nur, reported that his forces killed 13 army soldiers and militiamen in the days following the bombing.
Darfur captured the world’s attention in 2003 when two rebel movements–the Sudan Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement–revolted against the government, complaining of government oppression of Darfur’s non-Arab population. The government responded with a campaign of ethnic cleansing against non-Arabs in Darfur.
Civilians say that the violence has not stopped since the conflict began. “Since the war erupted in Darfur in 2003, we have never had a rest from the [bombings],” one man said. Additionally, villagers in Jebel Marra have now learned to recognize the sound of Air Force planes and avoid the explosions. One man explained, “By the time it is comes near the ground you can see it, run to the opposite direction, and hide.”Activists and witnesses of last month’s attacks appealed to the United Nations Security Council to pressure Sudan’s government to stop the attacks.