Gary Knight: Darfur, War Without End

Darfur, War Without Endwords and images by Gary Knight

Since 2003 a war has been raging in Darfur under the watchful eye of the world's political elite. Well-meaning politicians and celebrities have beaten a path to the refugee camps, been photographed with raped women and orphaned children, wrung their hands and called for something - anything - to be done. Little of any consequence has been.

Outmaneuvered by President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, Kofi Annan's United Nations has failed to adequately respond to the war crimes and humanitarian crisis committed in Darfur and has watched from the sidelines as what then U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell labeled a 'genocide' occurs right under its nose for the second time in Africa in the last decade.

Humanitarian agencies have chosen not to speak about about the war crime of rape perpetrated against their own staff for fear of being ejected from the country, and in many cases have abandoned the civilians living in camps with little or no medical facilities or meaningful humanitarian support.

Kofi Annan has capitulated to a hybrid peacekeeping compromise that, according to military commanders on the ground, will leave an area the size of France patrolled by a small force of UN and African Union soldiers hamstrung by political cowardice and ineptitude. The government of Sudan claims there is no rape, but the testimony of thousands of women suggest otherwise and its claims not to fight hand-in-hand with the Arab Janjaweed militia are ridiculed by diplomats, military commanders and humanitarian aid workers in Darfur and Khartoum.

01.Gmk.Sdn.064 Mg 2801-1 A Sudanese government Antonov aircraft, used to indiscriminately bomb villages in Darfur, returns to Al Fasher airbase early one morning.

 

02.Gmk.Sdn.061 Mg 4447-1 An aerial photograph of burned and abandoned villages in North Darfur.

 

03.Gmk.Sdn.033 Mg 3991-1 A burned-out settlement between Kutum and Fata Borno IDP Camp that was attacked and destroyed by Arab Janjaweed militias. Hundreds of thousands of African villagers have been displaced by the Janjaweed and their allies in the Sudanese government since the conflict in Darfur started in 2003.

 

04.Gmk.Sdn.034 Mg 3594-1 Displaced women ride from Kutum market to Fata Borno IDP Camp 15 kilometers through open territory under escort by South African soldiers of the African Union. The women are frequently attacked and raped by Sudanese government soldiers and the Janjaweed militia.

 

05.Gmk.Sdn.020Img 0080-1 Sudanese soldiers patrol Al Fasher, North Darfur.

 

06.Gmk.Sdn.032 Mg 3973-1 A woman flees Janjaweed militia who came close to where she was collecting wood under the protection of South African soldiers of the African Union.

 

07.Gmk.Sdn.052 Mg 4283-1 South African soldiers of the African Union prepare for patrol early in the morning at their base in Kutum.

 

08.Gmk.Sdn.037 Mg 2639-1 South African soldiers of the African Union prepare for patrol early in the morning at their base in Kutum.

 

09.Gmk.Sdn.036 Mg 2603-1 South African soldiers of the African Union patrol Northern Darfur. The soldiers' commander believes that 3,000 men would be required to successfully patrol this area, which has no paved roads and is the size of the Benelux countries. He has 500 at his disposal.

 

10.Gmk.Sdn.050 Mg 4249-1 South African soldiers of the African Union on watch in a bunker at their camp perimeter in Northern Darfur.

 

11.Gmk.Sdn.044 Mg 4144-1 Ten-year-old Moussa at a displacement camp. Moussa's parents were killed beside him when their home was hit by a bomb dropped from the back of a Sudanese government Antonov aircraft.

 

12.Gmk.Sdn.040 Mg 2721-1 From left to right, three sisters at a displacement camp, Ida 8, Nabila, 9, and Hanounie, 5. Their parents were killed outside a mosque by Arab Janjaweed militia.

 

13.Gmk.Sdn.038 Mg 4021-1 South African soldiers of the African Union patrol Northern Darfur. The soldiers' commander believes that 3,000 men would be required to successfully patrol this area, which has no paved roads and is the size of the Benelux countries. He has 500 at his disposal.

 

14.Gmk.Sdn.035 Mg 2644-1 Fata Borno IDP Camp, home to 4,000 displaced people whose homes were looted and burned by the Janjaweed militia. Hundreds of thousands of African villagers have been displaced and thousands raped and murdered by the Janjaweed and their allies in the Sudanese government since the conflict in Darfur started in 2003.

 

15A.Gmk.Sdn.003 Mg 2580-1 Mariam Achmed Mohamed Jadu, 15, photographed in Al Salam Refugee Camp at Al Fasher in North Darfur, was gang-raped in early December 2006 by six men from the Janjaweed and Sudanese Army in her village, Abu Sakim, in North Darfur. Four women from her family were raped during the incident, which was reported to the authorities. No action has been taken.

 

16.Gmk.Sdn.078 Mg 4490-1 The shadows of children cast in the sand at Greida IDP camp.

 

16A.Gmk.Sdn.089 Mg 3037-1 SLA (Sudanese Liberation Army) Militia in Greida. These men deny that their soldiers violently raped two French NGO workers in December 2006 despite all testimony from the NGO and evidence gathered by the African Union suggesting the contrary. The NGO were attacked at night by soldiers. The SLA are the only soldiers in the town.

 

17.Gmk.Sdn.045 Mg 4158-1 Women counselors who take care of children suffering from severe mental trauma and anxiety at the Kassab IDP Camp. Many of the children have witnessed their parents being killed by the Arab Janjaweed militia and Sudanese government soldiers.

 

18.Gmk.Sdn.049 Mg 3811-1 Displaced women ride from Kutum market to Fata Borno IDP Camp, 15 kilometers through open territory under escort by South African soldiers of the African Union. The women are frequently attacked and raped by Sudanese government soldiers and the Janjaweed.

 

19.Gmk.Sdn.066 Mg 2817-1 Displaced people living in Greida IDP camp gather outside the African Union base in the village to implore NGO's to return to the camp. The inhabitants of the camp have not been given food rations for five weeks since the NGO's left after SLA militia raped two women from a French NGO.

 

20.Gmk.Sdn.075 Mg 2895-1 A woman with a severe heart problem sleeps on the floor of Greida Hospital after giving birth.

 

21.Gmk.Sdn.077 Mg 2899-1 A woman with a severe heart problem sleeps on the floor of Greida Hospital after giving birth.

 

22.Gmk.Sdn.018 Mg 3211-1 Fatima Hussain, 36, photographed in Al Salam Refugee Camp at Al Fasher in North Darfur, was gang raped in early December 2006 by about 15 men from the Janjaweed and Sudanese Army in her village, Abu Sakim, also in North Darfur. Four women from her family were raped during the same incident, which was reported to the authorities. No action has been taken.

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