(AFP) – The United States on Tuesday marked 10 years of war in Darfur, warning that without political talks the Sudan region may face another decade of the devastating conflict.
“The United States is deeply concerned that, 10 years after the outbreak of war in Darfur, the Darfuri people continue to suffer from increased insecurity, human rights abuses, and sexual violence,” State Department acting deputy spokesman Patrick Ventrell said in a statement.
Attacks by government forces, rebels and militia had left 300,000 people dead, mostly civilians, and caused some two million people to flee their homes.
“Reversing the cycle of violence and impunity requires accountability for the perpetrators,” Ventrell said in a statement, calling on all sides to work for an end to the violence with no pre-conditions.
“An effective and inclusive political process is urgently needed to avoid another decade of war and to address the crisis of governance that fuels Sudan’s civil wars.”
Darfur, a vast arid region of Sudan the size of France, has been wracked by civil war since February 2003, which broke out when rebels revolted against what they call the political and economic marginalization of the region’s black ethnic groups by the Arab-dominated Khartoum regime.
Khartoum responded by unleashing the Janjaweed, a militia of mounted gunmen dubbed “devils on horseback,” who have been blamed for atrocities including murder, rape, looting and burning villages.
In July 2011, the government signed the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur with the Liberation and Justice Movement, an alliance of rebel splinter factions. But the main rebel groups did not sign.
Instead they, along with the SPLM-North rebel group from outside Darfur, ratified documents forming the new Sudanese Revolutionary Front dedicated to “popular uprising and armed rebellion” against the National Congress Party regime in Khartoum.