The purpose of this COI Focus is to assess the security situation in the five states of Darfur, the Two Areas (the two southern provinces of South Kordofan and Blue Nile) and West Kordofan in Sudan. The report is particularly focused on the period from January 2022 to December 2022.
From 30 October to 10 November 2022, the Norwegian Country of Origin Information Centre (Landinfo) and Cedoca conducted a joint fact-finding mission in Sudan. Information collected during meetings with sources in Khartoum is also included in this report.
On April 11 2019, the army put an end to the regime of president al-Bashir after months of civilian protests. In October 2020, the Sudanese transitional authorities and a number of rebel groups signed the Juba Peace Agreement, but one year later the Sudanese military staged a new coup. As the political struggle in Khartoum deepened, the violence in the peripheral states resumed, fueled by a power vacuum and the divided loyalties of the security forces. Episodes of mass violence in West Darfur left hundreds dead, thousands displaced, and hundreds of homes destroyed. Violence also spread to areas that had remained relatively stable in recent years, including Kulbus (West Darfur), Ed Damazin and Rusayris (Blue Nile). Ceasefires between the two rebel groups, SLM/A-AW and SPLM/A-N al-Hilu, and the Sudanese authorities were largely respected.
In the last decade, irregular ethnic militias and paramilitary groups have played a growing role in the violence in Darfur and the Two Areas compared to the long-established rebel groups. Various armed communal militias - organized along tribal lines and difficult to control - were active in Darfur and the Two Areas in 2022. While conflict triggers varied from place to place, outbreaks of violence usually follow a certain pattern. They are often triggered by individual disputes and criminal incidents. There was a trend of Arab militias attacking non-Arab communal militias and civilians alike in the aftermath of such incidents. State security forces hold back, intervening belatedly or even retreating because they are no match for the attackers. In other cases, members of state security forces have joined the attacks in a private capacity, bringing their weapons and choosing sides according to their ethnicity. Meanwhile, tribal self-defense units, formed by non-Arab communities, were increasingly organizing themselves. Fighters from the signatory rebel groups, who have returned from Libya, also posed a security threat to the population. Impunity for violations by any of these armed actors persisted.
For the period 1 January 2022-31 December 2022, ACLED registered 659 events in Sudan, of which 391 events occurred in Darfur and 153 events in the Two Areas and West Kordofan. There was an increase in violent incidents in Darfur in 2022, and to a lesser extent in the Two Areas and West-Kordofan, compared with the previous year. In Two Areas and West-Kordofan, the fatalities linked to violence doubled compared with 2021. Attacks made up the bulk of the violent incidents. They mostly targeted IDPs and farmers, resulting in killings, looting, destruction and burning of villages. Most of the armed clashes took place between different communal militias.
For the period 1 January 2022-31 December 2022, ACLED registered 1,930 fatalities in Sudan. More than 85 % of these fatalities were recorded in Darfur, the Two Areas and West Kordofan. Most of these fatalities are linked to confrontations between communal militias. During fighting, civilians were often attacked due to their imputed affiliation or because they were “in the wrong place at the wrong time”.
In Darfur, most of the violence occurred in the southern part of the districts Tawila, El Fasher, Melit, Kutum, and Dar As Salam (North Darfur), the districts El Geneina, Kreinik, Kulbus and Jebel Moon (West Darfur) and the different districts of South Darfur. Regional capital cities in Darfur, with the exclusion of El Geneina (West Darfur), were less affected by the insecurity than other parts of the region. Violence in Blue Nile was mainly centered in the east of the region, in the districts Wad al-Mahi, Rusayris, Geissan, and, to a lesser extent, in and around the capital city of Ed Damazin. In West Kordofan, most violent incidents happened in the districts Lagawa and Al Nuhud, and violence in South Kordofan was concentrated around Kadugli and the eastern part of the region.
Most IDPs in Sudan have been displaced multiple times, with periods of return followed by new displacement due to regular violence. Sudan housed 3,714,377 IDPs in July 2022. Darfur had an IDP population of 2,795,246 people out of a total population of 7.5 to 11 million. For the Two Areas and West Kordofan, the ratio was 536,722 IDPs out of a total estimated population of about five million people.
The policy implemented by the Commissioner General is based on a thorough analysis of accurate and up-to-date information on the general situation in the country of origin. This information is collated in a professional manner from various, objective sources, including the EUAA, the UNHCR, relevant international human rights organisations, non-governmental organisations, professional literature and coverage in the media. When determining policy, the Commissioner General does not only examine the COI Focuses written by Cedoca and published on this website, as these deal with just one aspect of the general situation in the country of origin. The fact that a COI Focus could be out-of-date does not mean that the policy that is being implemented by the Commissioner General is no longer up-to-date.
When assessing an application for asylum, the Commissioner General not only considers the actual situation in the country of origin at the moment of decision-making, he also takes into account the individual situation and personal circumstances of the applicant for international protection. Every asylum application is examined individually. An applicant must comprehensively demonstrate that he has a well-founded fear of persecution or that there is a clear personal risk of serious harm. He cannot, therefore, simply refer back to the general conditions in his country, but must also present concrete, credible and personal facts.
There is no policy paper for this country available on the website.