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Now You Know: Darfur Conflict in Sudan

At least 200,000 people have died, and more than 2.5 million have been displaced as a result of the Darfur conflict in Sudan. In 2004, the Sudanese government troops, as well as independent, Arab, pro-government militias, began targeting discontent rebel forces and the black African population. The rebels sought to resist a Muslim central government, accusing them of neglecting the black African residents of the region in favor of the Arabs. It's thought that the government supports one of the militia groups fighting against the rebels, the Janjaweed, known for brutal acts of theft, rape, and slaughter, though the government denies this link. Since the beginning of this conflict, the region's black population has been the target of unthinkable atrocities and destruction carried out by the Arab, pro-government militias.


While international leaders condemned the government's campaigns as genocide and called for the presence of United Nations peacekeepers, the Sudanese government resisted UN forces. On May 29, 2007, President Bush announced that Sudan would suffer new unilateral sanctions. Three weeks later, Sudan reached a deal with the UN to allow a force of 20,000 troops to bolster the struggling 7,000 member African Union (AU) force. But things have not gone well for the UN/AU peacekeepers. Just this month, rebels open fired on a UN/AU supply convoy.

Some believe the situation has moved from genocide to anarchy. Save Darfur, a leading advocacy group, does not see it that way. They believe that the conditions in Darfur are not evidence of an end to genocide and the onset of a new war—but are instead echoes of genocide. And where are they getting the weapons? A lot of them are supplied by China. How? Well, read more.

According to the New York Times, Amnesty International USA reports that:

In exchange for access to Sudanese oil, Beijing is financing, diplomatically protecting and supplying the arms for the first genocide of the 21st century. China is the largest arms supplier to Sudan, officially selling $83 million in weapons, aircraft and spare parts to Sudan in 2005.

This summer, the 2008 Olympics may be the stage for protests at Chinese embassies, and athletes and spectators may call attention to the genocide, too.

For more information on Darfur, check out these sites:

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