a country crippled by internal fractures

a country crippled by internal fractures

2023-04-27 13:16:24

► What are the community fractures?

Since its independence in 1956, Sudan has been weakened by strong tensions between its center (Khartoum and the Nile Valley) and its periphery. The inhabitants of the Centre, who tend to consider themselves the true natives of the country, define themselves as “Arabs”. Peripheral peoples feel despised by the Center, even when they themselves are Arabs.

This is the case with the nomadic herders of the East, the Bedjas. In the greater western region, in Darfur, the Furs, living on either side of the Chadian, Libyan and Sudanese border, are considered second-class Sudanese by Khartoum. This feeling of exclusion is shared by many other peoples.

If this racism is exploited by war contractors, it must not be generalized: during the pro-democracy revolution of 2019, a large part of the population rose up against the dictatorial regime of Omar El Bashir, beyond any community affiliation. Spearheads of this revolution, the resistance committees were formed on social, political and non-community criteria.

► What are the politico-economic divides?

The Center concentrates political, economic and military power. The army rules the country, as in Egypt, to which it is very close. It is mainly made up of officers from the Center and the North, such as its leader, General Abdel Fattah Al Burhan. The army has always controlled most of the country’s wealth and has been able to capture international aid for its own benefit.

His adversary, General Dagalo alias Hemeti, joined forces with the Russian Wagner militia to share and exploit the gold mines of Darfur and to control the routes of mineral trafficking in the sub-region. This gold ends up in Dubai, a city in the United Arab Emirates, but also in Moscow, as revealed by the American daily The New York Times in June 2022. The roads controlled by Hemeti are also used for all other traffic, from drugs to human beings. So that today he is considered by some observers as the richest man in Sudan.

► Is there a risk of the country breaking up?

The risk of a conflagration in Sudan is real. Firstly, because of the problem linked to resources, in the first place to land and water. The consequences of climate change, combined with the country’s endemic poverty and the collapse of the state, are likely to increase violent clashes between nomadic pastoralists and sedentary farmers. Among the most inflammable regions, Darfur, deeply bruised by the crushing of an uprising from 2003: this region is highly coveted for the control of its natural resources.

The Blue Nile region, on the border with Ethiopia, is for its part fractured by the conflict between the Hausa, one of the most numerous peoples in Africa, and the Bartas, for access to land. This land dispute has caused several hundred deaths in recent months. The Bartas have, in addition, a long tradition of armed opposition to the central power.

The state of West Kordofan (in the south) is also the scene of a land dispute between Nuba and Misseriya. And in the state of South Kordofan, a region completely abandoned by Khartoum, entire areas have come under the control of the rebels of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North.


Four years of political upheavals

3 avril 2019. Bloody repression by the army of a sit-in giant in Khartoum, a hundred militants killed.

11 avril 2019. Fall of Omar El Béchir, in power since 1989, after four months of demonstrations.

October 25, 2021. Coup against the transitional civilian government of Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok.

December 5, 2022. Agreement signed between the military and civilian representatives for a transition to a civilian government.

15 avril 2023. Start of clashes between the forces of General Al Burhane and the paramilitaries of General Dagalo (alias “Hemeti”).

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