Darfur is a region in western Sudan.


Darfur is a region in western Sudan. An independent sultanate for several hundred years, it was incorporated into Sudan by Anglo-Egyptian forces in 1916. The region 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 non-Arab indigenous population, the region was in a state of humanitarian emergency between 2003 and 2010.

Capital Al-Fashir
Official language(s) Arabic and English
Demonym Darfuri
- Executive Chairman Tijani Sese
- Total 493,180 km2
190,418 sq mi
- estimate 6,000,000 (pre-conflict) (2004)

-Liberation and Justice Movement
-Justice and Equality Movement
- Sudan Liberation Movement

Peace process
Darfur Peace Agreement-2006
Doha peace forum-2010

Darfur covers an area of some 493,180 square kilometers (190,420 sq mi—approximately the size of Spain. It is largely an arid plateau with the Marrah Mountains (Jebel Marra), a range of volcanic peaks rising up to 3,042 meters (9,980 ft) of topographic prominence, in the center of the region. The region's main towns are Al Fashir, Nyala, and Geneina.

There are four main features of the physical geography. The whole eastern half of Darfur is covered with plains and low hills of sandy soils, known as goz, and sandstone hills. In many places the goz is waterless and can only be inhabited where there are water reservoirs or deep boreholes. While dry, goz may also support rich pasture and arable land. To the north the goz is overtaken by the desert sands of the Sahara. A second feature are the wadis, which range from seasonal watercourses that flood only occasionally during the wet season to large wadis that flood for most of the rains and flow from western Darfur hundreds of miles west to Lake Chad. Many wadis have pans of alluvium with rich soil that are also difficult to cultivate. Western Darfur is dominated by the third feature, basement rock, sometimes covered with a thin layer of sandy soil. Basement rock is too infertile to be farmed, but provides sporadic forest cover that can be grazed by animals. The fourth and final feature are the Marrah Mountains, volcanic plugs created by a massif, that rise up to a peak at Deriba crater where there is a small area of temperate climate, high rainfall and permanent springs of water.

This pattern of skewed development continued following national independence in 1956. To this was added an element of political instability caused by the proxy wars between Sudan, Libya and Chad. The influence of an ideology of Arab supremacy propagated by Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi began to be acted upon by Darfurians, including those identified as "Arab" and "African" people. A famine in the mid-1980s disrupted many societal structures and led to the first significant fighting amongst Darfuris. A low level conflict continued for the next 15 years, with the government co-opting and arming Arab Janjaweed militias against its enemies. The fighting reached a peak in 2003 with the beginning of the Darfur conflict, in which the resistance coalesced into a roughly cohesive rebel movement. The conflict soon came to be regarded as one of the worst humanitarian disasters in the world. The insurgency and counter-insurgency have led to 480,000 deaths, though the numbers are disputed by the Khartoum government. Over 2.8 million people have been displaced since the beginning of the conflict. Many of these refugees have gone into camps where emergency aid has created conditions that, although extremely basic, are better than in the villages, which offer no protection against the various militias that operate in the region. Whilst nearly two thirds of the population is still struggling to survive in remote villages, their needs have been largely overlooked by the international community, and in the face of soaring inflation in Sudan many families are facing serious difficulties. Virtually no foreigners are able to visit the region because of the fear of kidnapping, and only organisations such as Kids for Kids are continuing to provide long-term grass roots assistance.

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