UNAMID Joint Mission Analysis Centre’s “Monthly Incident Statistics” report for September shows 98 victims consisting of one international, 63 civilians and 34 combatants. Forty one were in North Darfur, 43 in South Darfur and 14 in West Darfur states respectively. Of the 63 civilians, 53 were IDPs, of whom 52 were victims of criminal acts (murder). Of the combatants, 30 were killed in inter-tribal clashes and four were members of SAF or the Armed Movements. Other incidents on the JMAC list include 40 IDP issues, 58 cases of banditry, 8 cases (with 11 victims) of sexual and gender based violence and exploitation, 35 cases of GoS activity, 8 instances of restrictions, 18 incidents of livestock theft, seven tribal issues, two cases of factions/armed movement incidents, and four cases of carjacking (two attempted and two successful).
According to the data gathered by UNAMID, there were 144 fatalities due to violence during July 2010. Each of the last few months has followed its own distinctive pattern and July was different again. Usual caveats apply. The majority of fatalities (112) were due to armed conflict, of which 107 were in North Darfur, principally a major battle between JEM and SAF. Whether this prefigures a resurgent continuing regular armed conflict between government and armed movements, or whether this is (as the government claims) a step in degrading JEM’s military capacity, to the point at which it is no longer a threat, remains to be seen. Significant has been the near absence of inter-tribal conflict. Only a single fatality was recorded (in West Darfur) for this kind of violence (although, seven ‘tribesmen’ were recorded among the dead overall). Again, it is unclear whether this is merely a lull of a single month or whether government measures to rein in inter-tribal clashes are being successful. There were 31 incidents of criminal homicide, evenly spread among the three states. Twenty seven civilians were killed during the month, including eleven fatalities among IDPs. There were no fatalities among UNAMID or international humanitarian workers.
The number of confirmed violent fatalities, according to UNAMID figures, in Darfur during June was 221. Though a marked decline on the nearly 600 deaths during May, this is still well above the average for the last two and a half years. The major cause of fatalities was intra-Arab fighting in West Darfur state, which accounted for 139 fatalities. Fifty two combatants were confirmed killed, 51 government soldiers and one from the rebel side, implying a probable undercount of rebel fatalities. Twenty civilians died in violence, in all instances classified by UNAMID as criminal attacks, as well as two tribesmen, two soldiers and three rebel fighters who were victims of crime. Three UNAMID personnel were killed. These figures show that the intensity of fighting between JEM and the Government has subsided. The data show that the epicenter of Arab-Arab fighting has shifted from South Darfur to West Darfur. Whereas the South Darfur violence was mostly among the Baggara, this violence is between Baggara and Abbala. It is interesting that although intra-Arab fighting has killed more people in Darfur over the last three years than any other source of violence, it is still below the international radar screen, and does not […]
The year 2009 and early months of 2010 witnessed consistent trends by some analysts and beneficiaries to describe the Darfur problem as a “low-intensity conflict” or a war that is already “over.” This is false: the war is not over. The former UNAMID Joint Special Representative Rodolph Adada used the term ‘Low-intensity conflict,” while briefing UN Security Council on 27th April 2009 about the security status in Darfur. The statement was based on data compiled by UNAMID relying upon information provided by the Joint Mission Analysis Centre (JMAC) on estimates of people killed in violent incidents in previous months. There were no compelling evidences to support the accuracy and authenticities of the reports. The term became a subject of considerable political debate and several schools of interpretations. Mr. Adada failed to indicate what to do with the reports of the downward trends of fatalities in the region. He left the door open for different readings. UNAMID has continuously failed over the course of its deployment to protect itself let alone the people it was dispatched to protect. Five Rwandese soldiers were killed late in 2009 together with two Egyptians in May 2010 and others either injured or kidnapped in Darfur […]
May 2010 saw the largest number of recorded violent fatalities in Darfur since the arrival of UNAMID in January 2008. According to the figures compiled by the Joint Mission Analysis Centre (JMAC), there were 491 confirmed fatalities and 108 unconfirmed but very probable fatalities during the month, about five times higher than the average for the last year. The reason for the increase in violence is fighting between JEM and the Sudan Armed Forces, which accounts for 440 deaths. At the time of the ceasefire agreement signed in N’djamena in February (and subsequently in Doha), JEM was required to relocate inside Darfur and joint Sudanese and Chadian forces began patrolling the border. A large and well-equipped JEM force established itself at Jebel Moon. The ceasefire lasted two months, and after it collapsed, with no additional progress in the Doha talks, the fighting rapidly resumed, alongside GoS efforts to prevent Khalil Ibrahim from returning to the field. Unwilling to fight defensively, JEM preferred to go on the offensive. It was forced out of Jebel Moon and instead dispersed across Darfur and into parts of Kordofan, taking the war to these areas. The largest number of clashes has been in south-east Darfur […]
The Human Security Report has published its response to the critique (especially by Les Roberts on this blog) of its “Shrinking Costs of War” report, which is available here: www.humansecurityreport.info. In the ‘Overview’ of the debate the HSR focuses on two main issues. The detailed responses to the IRC and to Les Roberts are in separate documents. The first two surveys––there were five in toto––were not based on representative samples and the evidence suggests that the excess death tolls that were derived from them were way too high. When the HSR plotted the increase in the IRC’s child mortality rate for the first two survey periods and compared it with the child mortality trend data from a Demographic and Health Survey that covered the same period, it was clear that something was seriously wrong. The IRC’s under five mortality trend is sharply variant from other sources of data, for example from the Demographic and Health Surveys, which show much lower and slowly declining mortality trends. The DHS uses a readily replicable and verifiable method, and both it and the IRC estimates cannot be correct. The second major problem raised by HSR was that the IRC researchers used the sub-Saharan African […]
A survey of surveys of Darfur mortality since 2003 in the latest issue of The Lancet, by the reputable analysts Olivier Degomme and Debarati Guha-Sapir, provides the most reliable estimates yet for not only the extent, but the pattern of mortality in Darfur since September 2003. The authors find that the pattern of deaths “matched well with previously described general mortality patterns in complex emergencies,” giving further confidence in their conclusions. It shows that in the initial period, the majority of deaths were attributable to violence, but that this rapidly fell away, with excess deaths attributable to disease taking much longer to fall, and accounting for about 80% or so of the overall excess death toll. The total deaths attributable to violence are estimated at 62,305 (95% confidence interval 32,229 to 139,142) and the total, including those attributable to hunger and disease at 211,000-298,000 depending on the baseline. The lower baseline mortality assumption (derived in part from a survey I did in 1986) gives a mean of 298,271 (95% CI: 178,000- 462,000). If a more standard baseline mortality for sub-Saharan Africa is used it is 210,607 (95% CI 91,000-374,000). The survey is a significant update on earlier surveys insofar as […]
I was sorry to see the Human Security Report (HSR) released today. I was sorry because this report draws unjustified conclusions and will leave the world more ignorant and misguided for its release. There are four very weak aspects of this report that led to this opening line which I find most problematic, “this report reveals that nationwide mortality rates actually fall during most wars”: 1) This and many other conclusions are solely a function of the low threshold chosen to define “war,” considering it to be ongoing with just 25 killings per year. If war was instead defined as occurring in a population where 0.1% was violently killed in a year, I strongly suspect almost all of the HSR conclusions would reverse. This definition would be closer to the public image of war and to where humanitarian aid dollars flow. 2) The report is rife with profound inconsistencies of logic. Moreover, the report completely contradicts a main theme of the last Human Security Report (“War-related diseases kill and disable far more people than bombs and bullets”). The conclusions about giving up on surveys to directly measure war-time excess deaths contradicts the conclusion from the meeting you hosted in March, […]
The Human Security Report has become well-known for its argument, backed up by careful statistical analysis, that wars are becoming less common since the early 1990s, and also becoming less lethal. The new HSR study, ‘The Shrinking Costs of War’, brings new data to bear on this question, and makes stronger claims than in previous editions. In particular, the Human Security Report argues that population death rates actually fall in many protracted wars, because improved health care for the general population outweighs the deaths caused by violence and disruption. This is sure to be controversial, and it would have been useful if the Report made a clear distinction between smaller and larger wars and clarified whether this claim holds for both. Another striking and controversial claim, is that the very high levels of estimated excess mortality in the Democratic Republic of Congo (5.4 million) are exaggerated by a factor of three. If correct, this would compel a rethinking of Congo — but would still make it Africa’s most costly conflict in terms of human life over the last decade. The Human Security Report press release is available here: Shrinking Costs of War Press Release. The full report is available on […]
Here’s a paradox: declining levels of worldwide conflict and increasing violence against aid workers. The Human Security Report has documented a worldwide decline in the number and intensity of armed conflicts since 1992. This is a dramatic and consistent, though the decline has slowed recently. Meanwhile, analysis of data by the Overseas Development Institute indicates that attacks on aid workers have risen even sharply, from about 4 per 10,000 aid workers in the field in 1997 to 9 per 10,000 in 2008 (268 incidents in which humanitarian workers were killed, seriously injured or kidnapped). (For ongoing discussion of violence against aid workers, also see Patronus Analytical.) Currently, the worst places for violence against aid workers are Somalia and Afghanistan, which account for a disproportionate number of attacks, and where belligerents have ceased to respect the neutrality of humanitarians. Whether these two extreme cases account for the whole phenomenon, is not clear. Sudan ranks in third place. It’s now clear that the level of lethal violence against civilians in Darfur is down. But that is not the only index of insecurity: there is also forced displacement, sexual violence and robbery as well—and attacks against aid workers and peacekeepers. Anecdote suggests that […]