The issuance of an arrest warrant for Sudan’s sitting head of state for crimes against humanity offers the Obama administration a chance to catalyze multilateral efforts to bring about a solution to Sudan’s decades-long cycle of warfare. One of the crucial missing ingredients to conflict resolution efforts has been some form of accountability for the horrific crimes against humanity that have been perpetrated by the warring parties in Sudan, primarily the Khartoum regime. Peace without justice in Sudan would only bring an illusion of stability, without addressing the primary forces driving the conflict.
Contact: Jonathan Hutson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Darfur's Gold Rush Spurs Violence, Instability, and Humanitarian Crisis
WASHINGTON – The Sudanese government's interest the unprecedented level of gold production from the Jebel 'Amer area of North Darfur – where workers and rescuers recently died in multiple mine collapses – has spurred state-sponsored violence and displacement, argues a new report by the Enough Project and the Satellite Sentinel Project.
The report, which draws on extensive interviews and DigitalGlobe satellite imagery, challenges Khartoum's characterization of violence in the region as "inter-tribal" battles.
Report co-author Omer Ismail, a Sudanese activist on Darfur and a senior adviser to the Enough Project, stated:
"The Sudanese government asserts that Darfur is beset by 'inter-tribal' tensions that inevitably result in violence. However, the evidence shows that Khartoum systematically spurs these clashes by sponsoring militias and taking sides. This year alone, we've seen government forces exacerbate clashes by backing the Abbala versus the Beni Hussein; the Beni Halba versus the Gimr; and the Taaysha versus the Salamat. Government-armed Abbala militias' recent power play to control North Darfur's gold mines represents a continuation of state-sponsored atrocity and plunder."
Co-author Akshaya Kumar, an Enough Project policy analyst, stated:
"Ten years after the genocide began; state-sponsored violence has once more taken hold of the region. Cash-strapped and dollar-starved, Sudan sees gold as its new oil. The recent gold discoveries are fueling atrocities again in Darfur. More than five times as many people were displaced in the first few months of 2013 than in the entirety of 2012."
DigitalGlobe satellite imagery featured in the report illustrates the major influx of thousands of artisanal miners into Jebel 'Amer, North Darfur, between February 2012 and January 2013, as well as confirming major displacement, consistent with U.N. reports that by April 2013, more than 150,000 people have been displaced due to the recent fighting. In December 2012, Sudan's minerals ministry declared that 4,000 new gold mines, which yielded approximately $2.2 billion in 2012, are operating in the Jebel Amir area.
"Most of the gold from Darfur has been produced by unlicensed, artisanal mines, which are difficult for Khartoum to tax," explained Kumar. "This helps explain the government's drive to consolidate control over the mines."
Following the regional violence in January and February, which displaced some 150,000 miners and their families, the governor of North Darfur banned mining in the Jebel 'Amer area. However, many mines continued to operate.
On April 29, Sudanese officials – including Jebel 'Amer District Chief Haroun al-Hassan -- initially reported that at least 60 workers died there in two collapses of a gold mine shaft that descended 131 feet (40m). On May 6, Sudan's state-owned SUNA news agency sharply revised the estimated number of casualties downward to five deaths and five injuries. However, miners who had been on the scene during the disaster and failed rescue efforts reported to the Agence France-Presse wire service that more than 100 workers were trapped and killed when several mines close together collapsed, and that nine rescuers also disappeared when the ground crumbled underneath them.
Darfur is suffering its worst humanitarian crisis in years. Since the beginning of 2013, over 200,000 people have been displaced by what the government of Sudan dismisses as “inter-communal” violence. Ten years after the first reports of genocide trickled out of Darfur, an eerie echo of the past is sweeping across the region. The government of Sudan would like the world to believe that Darfur is plagued by intractable inter-tribal hatreds that inevitably lead to violent destabilizing conflict. But in a new report, “Darfur's Gold Rush: State-Sponsored Atrocities 10 Years After the Genocide,” Enough Project Senior Advisor Omer Ismail and I challenge that descriptive framework. Our research shows that government-armed Abbala militias’ recent power play to displace the Beni Hussein people and thereby gain control North Darfur’s gold mines is not the product of inter-tribal rivalries. Instead, the Abbala offensive must be understood as a continuation of Khartoum’s campaign of state-sponsored atrocity and plunder in the region. Read More »
A joint report by the Enough Project and Satellite Sentinel Project examines the Abbala militias' recent power play to gain control over lucrative gold mines in North Darfur and makes the case that these actions are a continuation of state-sponsored atrocity and plunder.
A new report from the Satellite Sentinel Project, or SSP, confirms that Sudan and South Sudan have violated recent peace agreements by positioning troops in what is supposed to be a 12-mile (20-kilometer) demilitarized buffer zone along their contested border. Neither the joint border-verification mechanism established by both countries, nor the United Nations peacekeeping mission tasked with monitoring the demilitarized buffer zone has detected these violations. Read More »
As we gather to mark April as Genocide Awareness month, to recognize atrocities across the world and throughout history, it's important not just to recognize the past, but to learn from it. Read More »
On Friday, April 26, The Resolve LRA Crisis Initiative released a report “Hidden in Plain Sight,” documenting the renewal of Sudan’s support to the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, from 2009 until February 2013. Read More »
Contact: Jonathan Hutson, email@example.com
Report Confirms Recent Renewal of Sudan’s Support to LRA Leader Joseph Kony
New report uses satellite imagery and testimony from Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) defectors to document the renewal of Sudan’s support to the LRA from 2009 until at least early 2013, and to pinpoint the likely location of rebel leader Joseph Kony’s recent camp in Sudanese-controlled territory
Eyewitnesses testify that elements from Sudan’s military actively provided Kony and other LRA leaders with periodic safe haven in Sudanese-controlled territory from 2009 until at least February 2013
Satellite imagery shows likely location of Kony’s recently abandoned camp
Sudan also provided limited material support to the LRA and has failed to fully cooperate with African Union and United Nations initiatives to arrest Kony
WASHINGTON -- A new report confirms Sudan’s renewal of support to the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel group from October 2009 through at least February of 2013. The report includes satellite imagery of a likely LRA encampment in Sudanese-controlled territory where rebel leader Joseph Kony was last sighted in late 2012 and reportedly remained for several more weeks. The imagery indicates the camp was abandoned by March 2013, but Kony reportedly remains nearby in neighboring Central African Republic and could seek to reestablish his presence in Sudanese-controlled territory in coming months.
“As long as Kony is able to find a safe haven in Sudan, he can avoid pursuit by Ugandan forces by simply crossing the border whenever they get close,” said Michael Poffenberger, Executive Director of The Resolve LRA Crisis Initiative and one of the report’s primary authors. “Sudan should not be allowed to harbor one of the most brutal and notorious war criminals in the world with impunity.”
The report, Hidden in Plain Sight: Sudan’s Harboring of the LRA in the Kafia Kingi Enclave, 2009-2013, documents how Kony’s forces first reestablished contact with the Sudanese military in late 2009. LRA fighters then periodically used the area as a safe haven for more than three years, as pursuing Ugandan forces, authorized by the African Union, were not allowed access to the area. Kony himself was first sighted there in 2010 and was reportedly based in the area for significant portions of 2012.
“The LRA’s abandonment of their camp in Sudanese-controlled territory presents an opportunity for Sudan to definitively cut ties to the group,” said Paul Ronan, Director of Policy at The Resolve and another primary author. “International efforts to arrest Kony and stop LRA attacks are likely to fail unless the African Union and regional leaders secure Sudan’s full cooperation.”
The Resolve’s Poffenberger and Ronan co-authored the report, which is co-produced by Invisible Children and the Enough Project.
“Current international efforts to stop LRA violence are making significant gains, but they can only go so far as long as Sudan allows Kony and his fighters safe haven,” said Ben Keesey, CEO of Invisible Children. “If regional and international leaders are serious about ending LRA violence once and for all, they must address this issue with Sudan and seek a solution.”
The safe haven and limited material support Sudan provided to the LRA from 2009-2013 represent the latest upswing in a long history of cooperation between the two actors. Sudan previously provided safe haven, arms, and training to the LRA from 1994 until 2004 before ties were rekindled again in 2009.
“For years, Sudanese support transformed the LRA into a significant threat to civilians and regional stability,” said Mark Quarterman, Research Director of the Enough Project. “At a time when US and regional operations to arrest Kony are more concerted than ever before, renewed support from Sudan seriously undermines these efforts. The Obama administration should work with the African Union and the United Nations to ensure that Khartoum does not provide safe haven or material assistance to the LRA.”
This paper provides the most definitive documentation to date of Sudan’s renewed ties to the LRA. It cites interviews with eight LRA defectors who were eyewitnesses to LRA movements into Sudanese-controlled territory, four of whom provided separate accounts of Kony’s presence and activities there. These testimonies are corroborated by satellite imagery analysis conducted by DigitalGlobe and commissioned by Amnesty International USA, as well as independent reports from government and other sources in the region.
Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, the Enough Project focuses on crises in Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas of Africa affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a“3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises. For more information, please visit www.enoughproject.org.
A report co-produced by The Resolve, Invisible Children, and the Enough Project uses satellite imagery and testimony from Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) defectors to document the renewal of Sudan’s support to the LRA from 2009 until at least early 2013, and to pinpoint the likely location of rebel leader Joseph Kony’s recent camp in Sudanese-controlled territory.
By The Resolve, Invisible Children and the Enough Project | Apr 26, 2013
On April 24, 2013, Rep. Wolf (R-VA) and Rep. McGovern (D-MA), along with 22 other co-sponsors, introduced H.R. 1692 – the Sudan Peace, Security, and Accountability Act of 2013. The bill comes at a critical moment: with a humanitarian crisis rapidly unfolding in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, continued unrest in Darfur and Abyei, and instability widespread throughout the country, immediate attention that addresses both the dire fallout and the root causes of these issues is essential. Read More »