Since January 2021, the numbers are at an all-time high. According to UN data, at least 440,500 people were displaced in 2018, which is five times more than in 2020.
Aid workers worry about a crisis of displacement similar to the one brought on by the Darfur conflict in the early 2000s.
In order to put down a rebellion led by mostly African agriculturalists who felt they were being treated unfairly by Khartoum, Sudan’s government sought the assistance of Arab tribal militias commonly known as Janjaweed, later formalised as the Popular Defence Forces. This led to an increase in violence in Darfur after 2003.
At least 2.5 million people were displaced and 300,000 were killed in the violence. The government denied arming and supporting the Janjaweed and using them against the tribal rebels.
A peacekeeping force mandated by a 2020 peace agreement has yet to be deployed widely. Finance minister and rebel group leader Jibril Ibrahim said raising money to implement the agreement has been difficult.
June violence included fighting in the Kulbus locality in West Darfur, where 125 people were killed and 50,000 displaced when Arab militias attacked villages belonging to the Gimir tribe.
“Before we finish responding to one emergency or major attack, another two have already happened,” said Will Carter of the Norwegian Refugee Council. “So far, nothing is averting this from becoming a new large-scale displacement emergency.”
In South Kordofan state, home to a separate long-term civil conflict, fighting this month between the Hawazma and Kenana tribes in Abu Jubayhah killed 19 and displaced 15,150 after more than 4,000 homes were burned, said UNOCHA.
In a statement on Wednesday, Human Rights Watch said Sudan’s transitional government and military rulers who seized power in October failed to provide adequate protection after international peacekeepers left in 2021 or to address underlying causes of the conflict, including land and resource disputes.
Such attacks come as the country remains mired in a wider crisis following an October military coup. The takeover upended Sudan’s transition to democracy after a popular uprising forced the removal of longtime President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019.
The violence has raised questions over whether Sudanese military leaders are capable of bringing security to Darfur.
In 2020, the UN Security Council ended its peacekeeping mission there. Local aid workers have now called on the UN to redeploy peacekeepers to the region amid a surge in tribal violence.
Al-Bashir, who has been in prison in Khartoum since he was overthrown in 2019, was indicted more than 10 years ago by the International Criminal Court for genocide and crimes against humanity perpetrated in Darfur.