2020 Darfur attacks

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2020 Darfur attacks
Part of the War in Darfur
Map of Darfur 2011.png
Location of Darfur (light green) and the rest of Sudan (pale yellow)
Location Darfur, Sudan
Date12–26 July 2020
Attack type
Mass shootings
MotiveLand conflicts relating to farming rights

The 2020 Darfur attacks were three mass shootings that occurred in July 2020 in Darfur, Sudan. Sudan's leadership and the joint United Nations and African Union mission in Darfur (UNAMID) have connected the massacres to land conflicts relating to farming rights, typically between non-Arab tribal farmers, such as the Masalit people, and Arab Bedouin tribes, [1] whom the government believes to be the attackers. [2]



Since 2003, a civil war has been taking place in Darfur, in the west of Sudan. During the violence, various ethnic groups were driven out of their land. Other people moved in and took over the land; in the 2010s, the original landowners returned and contested ownership. [3]

According to reports by Radio Dabanga: [4]

"The Unregistered Lands Act of 1970 entitled the government to use force in safeguarding land and encouraging the accumulation of land by a minority of rich investors (local or foreign), causing the alienation of agro-pastoralists from their traditional homelands and denying any formal legitimacy or juridical status to traditional property rights." [5]

Farming in the region largely ceased during the conflict, and in early 2020 the Sudanese government intervened to return land to its original owners. [6] [7] [3] [5]


12 July: Kutum, North Darfur

On 12 July 2020, at least 9 people were killed and 20 injured in an armed attack on protesters carried out by unidentified armed militiamen riding motorbikes, camels and horses in the Fata Borno area of the Kutum locality, in North Darfur. The government, in reaction, decided to impose a state of emergency throughout the state. The witnesses further stated that the militias used light and heavy weapons and looted the town's market, after the withdrawal of the police forces. [8]

24 July: Aboudos, South Darfur

On 24 July 2020, gunmen stormed the village of Aboudos in South Darfur, Sudan, according to local tribal leaders. [9] [6] The attack left at least 20 people dead and another 22 were injured. [7] The victims included children, according to Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. He connected the violence to farmers in the area returning to their fields, and pledged to send troops to Darfur to "protect citizens and the farming season". [10] These troops would be spread across all of the Darfur region, and consist of both police and military units. [10]

25–26 July: Masteri, West Darfur

On 25 and 26 July 2020, another massacre occurred in West Darfur involving around 500 gunmen who attacked Masteri near Beida, a Masalit community, killing more than 60 people. [6] Masteri is a border village with Chad. [11] The United Nations (UN) said that another 60 people were injured in the attack, and that the attackers also looted and burned down villages. [12] A UN statement said it was "one of the latest of a series of security incidents reported over the last week", saying other communities in the region had been destroyed [6] and reporting at least seven deadly attacks in West Darfur since 19 July. [11] The UN have suggested the conflict relates to disputes over land ownership: after displacement in Darfur in the early 2000s, groups took over abandoned land. In recent years, persecuted groups have attempted to return to their land. No group has claimed the attacks. [3]

See also

Related Research Articles

Darfur region of Sudan

Darfur is a region of western Sudan. Dār is an Arabic word meaning "home [of]" – the region was named Dardaju while ruled by the Daju, who migrated from Meroë c. 350 AD, and it was renamed Dartunjur when the Tunjur ruled the area. Darfur was an independent sultanate for several hundred years until it was incorporated into Sudan by Anglo-Egyptian forces in 1916. As an administrative region, Darfur is divided into five federal states: Central Darfur, East Darfur, North Darfur, South Darfur and West Darfur. Because of the War in Darfur between Sudanese government forces and the indigenous population, the region has been in a state of humanitarian emergency since 2003.

Islam in Sudan

Islam is the largest religion in Sudan, and Muslims have dominated national government institutions since independence in 1956. According to UNDP Sudan, the Muslim population is 97%, including numerous Arab and non-Arab groups. The remaining 3% ascribe to either Christianity or traditional animist religions. Muslims predominate in all but Nuba Mountains region. The vast majority of Muslims in Sudan adhere to Sunni Islam of Maliki school of jurisprudence, deeply influenced with Sufism. There are also some Shia communities in Khartoum, the capital. The most significant divisions occur along the lines of the Sufi brotherhoods. Two popular brotherhoods, the Ansar and the Khatmia, are associated with the opposition Umma and Democratic Unionist Parties respectively. Only the Darfur region is traditionally lacking the presence of Sufi brotherhoods found in the rest of the country.

African Union Mission in Sudan

The African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) was an African Union (AU) peacekeeping force operating primarily in the country's western region of Darfur with the aim of performing peacekeeping operations related to the Darfur conflict. It was founded in 2004, with a force of 150 troops. By mid-2005, its numbers were increased to about 7,000. Under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1564, AMIS was to "closely and continuously liaise and coordinate ... at all levels" its work with the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS). AMIS was the only external military force in Sudan's Darfur region until UNAMID was established. It was not able to effectively contain the violence in Darfur. A more sizable, better equipped UN peacekeeping force was originally proposed for September 2006, but due to Sudanese government opposition, it was not implemented at that time. AMIS' mandate was extended repeatedly throughout 2006, while the situation in Darfur continued to escalate, until AMIS was replaced by UNAMID on December 31, 2007.

War in Darfur Ongoing genocidal conflict in Southwestern Sudan

The War in Darfur, also nicknamed the Land Cruiser War, is a major armed conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan that began in February 2003 when the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) rebel groups began fighting the government of Sudan, which they accused of oppressing Darfur's non-Arab population. The government responded to attacks by carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Darfur's non-Arabs. This resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of civilians and the indictment of Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court.

International response to the War in Darfur

While there is a consensus in the international community that ethnic groups have been targeted in Darfur and that crimes against humanity have therefore occurred, there has been debate in some quarters about whether genocide has taken place there. In May 2006, the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur organized by United Nations "concluded that the Government of the Sudan has not pursued a policy of genocide ... [though] international offences such as the crimes against humanity and war crimes that have been committed in Darfur may be more serious and heinous than genocide." Eric Reeves, a researcher and frequent commentator on Darfur, has questioned the methodology of the commission's report.

United Nations–African Union Mission in Darfur military operation

The African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur is a joint African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission formally approved by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1769 on 31 July 2007, to bring stability to the war-torn Darfur region of Sudan while peace talks on a final settlement continue.

Ali Kushayb Sudanese fugitive

Ali Muhammad Ali Abd-Al-Rahman, commonly known as Ali Kushayb, is a senior Janjaweed commander who supported the Sudanese government against Darfur rebel groups during the Omar al-Bashir presidency. He was indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes. He was known as aqid al oqada and was active in Wadi Salih, West Darfur. On 27 February 2007, Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo charged Kushayb with crimes against civilians in Darfur during 2003 and 2004, accusing him of ordering killings, rapes, and looting. An ICC arrest warrant was issued for him and Ahmed Haroun, his co-defendant, on 27 April 2007. In April 2008, he was released from Sudanese custody. Sudanese authorities re-arrested Kushayb in October 2008. In early 2013, Kushayb was commander of the Central Reserve Forces in Rahad el-Berdi in South Darfur. Reports on his activities continued sporadically from 2013 to 2017

Sudan–United States relations Diplomatic relations between Sudan and the United States

Sudan–United States relations are the bilateral relations between Sudan and the United States. The United States government has been critical of Sudan's human rights record and has dispatched a strong UN Peacekeeping force to Darfur.

Sudanese nomadic conflicts non-state conflicts between rival nomadic tribes taking place in the territories of Sudan and South Sudan

Sudanese nomadic conflicts are non-state conflicts between rival nomadic tribes taking place in the territory of Sudan and, since 2011, South Sudan. Conflict between nomadic tribes in Sudan is common, with fights breaking out over scarce resources, including grazing land, cattle and drinking water. Some of the tribes involved in these clashes have been the Messiria, Maalia, Rizeigat and Bani Hussein Arabic tribes inhabiting Darfur and West Kordofan, and the Dinka, Nuer and Murle African ethnic groups inhabiting South Sudan. Conflicts have been fueled by other major wars taking place in the same regions, in particular the Second Sudanese Civil War, the War in Darfur and the Sudanese conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

Sudanese conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile ongoing conflict in Sudan

The Sudanese conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, also referred to by some media as the Third Sudanese Civil War, is an ongoing armed conflict in the Sudanese southern states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile between the Sudanese Army (SAF) and Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), a northern affiliate of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) in South Sudan. After some years of relative calm following the 2005 agreement which ended the second Sudanese civil war between the Sudanese government and SPLM rebels, fighting broke out again in the lead-up to South Sudan independence on 9 July 2011, starting in South Kordofan on 5 June and spreading to the neighboring Blue Nile state in September. SPLM-N, splitting from newly independent SPLM, took up arms against the inclusion of the two southern states in Sudan with no popular consultation and against the lack of democratic elections. The conflict is intertwined with the War in Darfur, since in November 2011 SPLM-N established a loose alliance with Darfuri rebels, called Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF).

International Criminal Court investigation in Darfur

The International Criminal Court investigation in Darfur or the situation in Darfur is an ongoing investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) into criminal acts committed during the War in Darfur. Although Sudan is not a state party to the Rome Statute, the treaty which created the ICC, the situation in Darfur was referred to the ICC's Prosecutor by the United Nations Security Council in 2005. Charges against Bahar Abu Garda were dropped on the basis of insufficient evidence in 2010 and those against Saleh Jerbo were dropped following his death in 2013. In mid-April 2019, Haroun, al-Bashir and Hussein were imprisoned in Sudan as a result of the 2019 Sudanese coup d'état. As of June 2019, five suspects remained under indictment by the court: Ahmed Haroun, Ali Kushayb, Omar al-Bashir, Abdallah Banda and Abdel Rahim Mohammed Hussein. In early November 2019, the Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC) and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok stated that al-Bashir would be transferred to the ICC. One of the demands of the displaced people of Darfur visited by Hamdok prior to Hamdok's statement was that "Omar Al Bashir and the other wanted persons" had to be surrendered to the ICC.

The Rapid Support Forces is a paramilitary force of Sudan operated by the Sudanese Government. The RSF grew out of, and is primarily composed of, the Janjaweed militias which fought on behalf of the Sudanese government during the War in Darfur, killing and raping civilians and burning their houses. The RSF's actions in Darfur qualify as crimes against humanity according to Human Rights Watch.

The following lists events that happened during 2011 in Sudan.

Darfur genocide Genocide in western Sudan in the early 21st Century.

The Darfur genocide is the systematic killing of Darfuri men, women, and children which has occurred during the ongoing conflict in Western Sudan. It has become known as the first genocide of the 21st century. The genocide, which is being carried out against the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa tribes, has led the International Criminal Court (ICC) to indict several people for crimes against humanity, rape, forced transfer and torture. According to Eric Reeves, more than one million children have been "killed, raped, wounded, displaced, traumatized, or endured the loss of parents and families".

The Khartoum massacre occurred on 3 June 2019, when the armed forces of the Sudanese Transitional Military Council, headed by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the immediate successor organisation to the Janjaweed militia, used heavy gunfire and teargas aiming at dispersing a sit-in by protestors in Khartoum, killing more than 100 people, with difficulties in estimating the actual numbers. At least forty of the bodies had been thrown in the River Nile. Hundreds of unarmed civilians were injured, hundreds of unarmed citizens were arrested, many families were terrorized in their home estates across Sudan, and the RSF raped more than 70 women and men. The Internet was almost completely blocked in Sudan in the days following the massacre, making it difficult to estimate the number of victims.

The Sudanese peace process consists of meetings, written agreements and actions that aim to resolve the War in Darfur, the Sudanese conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, and armed conflicts in central, northern and eastern Sudan.

The Khartoum massacre investigation is an official investigation of the 3 June 2019 Khartoum massacre and other human rights violations of the Sudanese Revolution, mandated under Article 7.(16) of the Sudanese August 2019 Draft Constitutional Declaration, to cover "violations committed on 3 June 2019, and events and incidents where violations of the rights and dignity of civilian and military citizens were committed." The men-only investigation committee of the massacre, rapes and other human rights violations is headed by human rights lawyer Nabil Adib. The No to Oppression against Women Initiative protested against the men-only composition of the commission.

The late-2019 Sudanese protests consisted of street protests in Sudan starting from mid-September 2019 during the 2019 Sudanese transition to democracy, on issues that included the nomination of a new Chief Justice of Sudan and Attorney-General, killings of civilians by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the toxic effects of cyanide and mercury from gold mining in Northern state and South Kordofan, protests against a state governor in el-Gadarif and against show trials of Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) coordinators, and for officials of the previous government to be dismissed in Red Sea, White Nile, and South Darfur. These protests followed the sustained street protests and civil disobedience of the Sudanese Revolution and the early September 2019 transfer of executive power to the Sovereignty Council of Sudan, civilian prime minister Abdalla Hamdok and his cabinet of ministers. Hamdok described the 39-month transitional period as being defined by the aims of the revolution.

The Sudanese National Human Rights Commission has been headed by Hurriya Ismail, appointed by former president Omar al-Bashir, since March 2018 or earlier and continued under her leadership during the 2019 Sudanese transition to democracy.

Events in the year 2020 in Sudan.


  1. "Sudan deploys security forces after 120 dead, injured in attack in Darfur". Middle East Monitor. 28 July 2020. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  2. Soudan : le gouvernement envoie l'armée au Darfour en proie à une flambée de violences [Sudan: the government sends the Army to Darfur after an eruption of violences] (in French), France TV info, Khartoum veut stopper les milices arabes proches de l'ancien président Omar el-Béchir qui terrorisent les populations dans l'ouest du pays [Cartum wants to stop the arab militias aligned with the old president Omar el Bechir who are terrorizing the West of the country.
  3. 1 2 3 "Sudan to send more troops to Darfur after attacks". BBC News. 27 July 2020. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  4. "About us Radio Dabanga". www.dabangasudan.org. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  5. 1 2 "Unamid conference addresses land ownership in Darfur". Radio Dabanga. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  6. 1 2 3 4 "Sudan sending troops to Darfur after 60 killed". 27 July 2020.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. 1 2 "Gunmen kill at least 22 villagers in South Darfur, locals say". 25 July 2020 via Reuters.
  8. UN condemns deadly violence in Sudan's North Darfur
  9. "Attackers kill at least 20 in Sudan's Darfur, says tribal chief". Al Jazeera English . 25 July 2020.
  10. 1 2 "Sudan to deploy troops to Darfur after killings: PM Hamdok". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  11. 1 2 "Dozens killed in renewed violence in Sudan's Darfur: UN". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  12. Deutsche Welle (www.dw.com). "More than 60 killed in fresh attacks in Sudan's Darfur region | DW | 27.07.2020". DW.COM.