November 11, 2022 (EL-FASHER) – Displaced people in North Darfur state warned of famine and severe food shortage on Thursday, saying armed shepherds destroyed about 95% of agricultural areas, as the harvest season has just started.
The struggle between pastoralists and cattle-owning nomads over access to land led to the eruption of armed conflict for nearly 16 years.
Even after the end of the rebellion in vast areas of Darfur, farmers in various locations continue to complain that herders have damaged their harvests, amid accusations that military personnel have failed to protect civilians.
“We expect a large food gap that will affect most of the residents of the camp and surrounding villages in two months or more,” Haroun Bakheit the spokesman for the Zamzam refugee camp told Sudan Tribune.
Bakheit added that the armed cattle keepers “damaged about 95% of the areas they planted during the last rain season”.
He further accused the security forces of failing to protect civilians, leaving them vulnerable to attacks by armed militiamen.
“The armed shepherds deliberately introduce their livestock during the harvest season, damaging the crops. The farmers face death or arrest if they object.”
Last August, the residents of Zamzam camp for IDP organized a two-week sit and closed a vital highway linking North and South Darfur states to protest against the increasingly violent attacks by militias.
They lifted the blockade after pledges from the government to provide a security force and to services to the camp residents.
Haroun said the government did not fulfil its pledges to improve the security services and open police stations until now.
However, he admitted that the authorities started in September to support educations and repair flood-affected schools.