Khartoum, 8 December: Save the Children is deeply concerned for the wellbeing of children in Sudan's Darfur region after nearly 50 people were killed and at least 2,000 children and adults displaced in violence over the past weekend. This incident is the latest in an outbreak of violence in the region which has killed about 100 people over the past three weeks.
Tensions escalated in the early hours of 5 December in Kereneik market, in the Kereneik locality of Darfur, with violence quickly spreading to the nearby villages and camps for internally displaced people. Houses were burned and people brutally attacked, with survivors coming away with horrific injuries.
The violence comes on the back of a year of increasing clashes between communities in Darfur, the result of multiple factors including poverty, arms proliferation, political instability, and a prolonged and severe economic crisis. Between January and July 2021, intercommunal violence in Geneina town, West Darfur, killed at least 163, injured 217, and displaced 105, 000 people, among them about 31,500 children. In Jebel Moon, West Darfur, around 9,600 people were displaced after clashes in October.
Save the Children is deeply concerned that the situation will continue to deteriorate. We call on all stakeholders to work together to protect civilians and children to close the security gap that was created by the withdrawal of the UNAMID peace keeping mission in December 2020, and was further exacerbated by slow and fragmented implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement.
Save the Children's Sudan Country Director Arshad Malik said:
"We are deeply concerned about this uptick in violence and its impact on children. Thousands have been forced to flee their homes to seek safety, while others have seen loved ones lost in the most violent fashion. Children are seeing horrors they should never have to see. Some children, already living in displacement camps, have been forced to flee these camps to a new uncertain destination. This is an unacceptable situation for any child to be in.
"Children in Darfur are the ones who have the most to lose from this violence. Children exposed to violence can suffer from long-lasting psychological trauma and are exposed to severe physical risks. After displacement, children also face an increased risk of child labor, early marriages and recruitment into armed forces. All children have a right to protection and education."
Across Sudan, 2021 has seen a dramatic increase in internal displacements, with at least 430,000 people displaced between January and September 2021, compared to 100,000 in 2020. Save the Children calls on all parties to the conflict in Sudan to prioritise the protection of vulnerable groups, such as women and children. The government of Sudan must ensure the protection of civilians at all times. Early response by donors and government can help in avoiding long-term displacement, lack of education and the exploitation of children.
For further enquiries please contact:
Emily Wight, Emily.Wight@savethechildren.org;
Daphnee Cook, Daphnee.Cook@savethechildren.org
Our media out of hours (BST) contact is firstname.lastname@example.org / +44(0)7831 650409