Terrified Sudanese on the run from Arab militias in Darfur again

The Sudanese refugees crossing into Chad are not new to fleeing for their lives from Arab militias on the rampage; their worn-out faces capture the destruction and suffering they have endured for decades.

Mahmoud Adam Hamad said to the BBC, “We barely managed to return home and start a new life when this war forced us to escape again.

Another round of ethnic fighting has broken out in Sudan’s western Darfur region as a result of the confrontation between the country’s two top generals that erupted on April 15.

More than 100,000 people, according to UN estimates, have left the ongoing country-wide fighting, with the majority going to Chad, which is directly across the border from Darfur.

Terrified Sudanese on the run from Arab militias in Darfur again

Darfur has been in turmoil for years with violence between its various African and Arab communities.

When non-Arabs took up arms against the government in 2003, complaining about discrimination, the government retaliated by mobilising and arming mostly Arab militias. Known as the Janjaweed, they were accused of widespread atrocities.

Many of those Janjaweed fighters morphed into the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the paramilitary group that is now battling the army

Arab militias connected to the RSF seem to be exploiting the security void in Darfur by committing acts of violence that have driven residents out of the area.

Some, like Mr. Hamad and his family, have ended up in the chadian village of Koufroune’s temporary refugee camp.

An estimated 8,000 people are at the camp, having managed to flee with a few of their belongings and livestock, a valuable asset that could help ease the hardship.

Mr Hamad made two dangerous trips last week across the border to bring his two wives and eight children from Darfur.

“I made my journey mainly at night. I brought them in, moving from one location to another with my family until we arrived.

“I was nearly robbed on the second trip,” he says as he stands next to his temporary shelter made up of sticks and plastic sheeting.

His village was previously attacked in Darfur. He lost his farm and animals and some of his relatives were killed by the Janjaweed.

“We were beaten and lashed. We begged them for our release.”

Mr Hamad speaks about how, at the time, he fled from village to village and crossed into Chad.

He later returned to Darfur with his family thinking it was safe, but he now finds himself back again


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