ACAPS Briefing Note - Sudan: Increased violence in Darfur region, 12 August 2022



Since December 2020, there has been a significant increase in resource-based intercommunal violence between Arab and non-Arab tribes in the Darfur region, located in western Sudan (Reuters 23/06/2022; VOA 13/06/2022; HRW 22/06/2022; IDMC accessed 08/08/2022). Between January– July 2022, more than 470,000 people were internally displaced in Darfur, with violence cited as the main reason (IOM 16/01/2022 and 13/07/2022). In 2021, violence resulted in the displacement of around 442,000 people, which is more than five times higher than the number of displaced in 2020 (IDMC accessed 08/08/2022). As at July 2022, there were 3,095,210 IDPs across the five states of Darfur (North, Central, South, East, and West Darfur), representing 83% of the total 3.7 million IDPs across Sudan (IOM 13/07/2022). The region of Darfur is estimated to have a population of 11.01 million people (OCHA accessed 10/08/2022).

Ethnic tensions between Arab and non-Arab ethnic groups in Darfur go back as far as 1939.
Clashes remained sporadic until non-Arab ethnic minorities, who complained of discrimination, established armed groups in 2003. The Government in Khartoum responded by mobilising a non-government armed group, referred to as ‘Janjaweed’ (BBC 26/04/2022; Government of Sudan 19/01/2005).

The African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) was established in 2007 to stop violence that had been ongoing in the region since 2003 between government forces and Janjaweed and rebel forces (UN 13/12/2009; ISS 24/06/2019; Reuters 27/04/2015). The conflict killed around 300,000 people and displaced 2.7 million people between 2003–2007 (UN 13/12/2009).

A surge in violence in late 2020 is linked to UNAMID ceasing operations in the area. UNAMID stopped patrolling in Darfur on 1 January 2021 (Al Jazeera 06/02/2022; Reuters 18/01/2021; BBC 21/07/2021) ahead of a complete withdrawal on 30 June 2021 (UN 27/07/2021 and 30/12/2020), leaving the Government of Sudan to take charge of maintaining peace in the region (UN 27/07/2021). The decision to withdraw UNAMID came after the Sudanese authorities and two armed groups in Darfur reached the Juba peace agreement in October 2020 (UN 30/12/2020 and 08/12/2020).

Intercommunal violence in Darfur intensified further after the military coup in October 2021 (OHCHR 15/06/2022), when the Sudanese military seized power from the transitional government who had been running the country following a popular uprising that forced former president Omar al-Bashir from power in 2019 (CFR 25/10/2021; France 24 25/10/2021). The Sudanese Government has been slow in implementing the Juba peace agreement, which entails the disarmament and integration of non-government armed forces into government forces and the formation of joint forces for Darfur. This has increased civilians’ exposure to violence (HRW 14/12/2021).


The escalating political tension and the worsening economic crisis in Sudan are likely to limit the Government’s ability to dedicate enough resources to tackling the increasing violence in the region (TNH 15/04/2022; UNSC 24/01/2022).

Intercommunal violence is likely to increase during the post-rainy season (harvest season), between November 2022 and January 2023 (FEWS NET 16/07/2022), as conflicts in Darfur are mostly a result of competition over land and natural resources (HRW 22/06/2022; FEWS NET 16/07/2022). Acts of violence during the harvest season include the destruction of crops, which affects people in the region and increases humanitarian needs (UNSC 24/01/2022)