UN peacekeeping chief says Darfur war over
The departing commander of UN and African Union forces in the region said the conflict now needs to be resolved politically. Advocacy and rebel groups dispute his claims.
• A daily summary of global reports on security issues.
The departing commander of the joint UN-African Union peacekeepers in Darfur says that the war there has ended, though rebel groups rebut the claims and UN and relief groups warn that the region's people still need help.
The Darfur conflict began in 2003, when rebel groups began fighting the Sudanese government and its Arab militias. Since then, some 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million have been displaced, according to the UN, although the Sudanese government claims that the death toll is 10,000. But General Agwai pointed out that the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), the only rebel group that is still capable of attacks against the government, has not launched any military operations in months.
But the Sudan Tribune reports that rebel groups slammed Agwai's comments, which they said smacked of the view of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who has long denied the magnitude of the Darfur conflict.
Other experts warn that the fighting in Darfur could still be rekindled. Sudan analyst Gill Lusk told the BBC that while the present decrease in fighting is "undoubtedly a good thing for the people... it is the government that turns the tap on and off – they can restart the violence whenever they want." And The New York Times writes that while UN officials agree with Agwai's assessment, they remain worried about the region's displaced civilians.