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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

10/9/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Scramble for precious metal has killed hundreds of tribesmen

It's a land of stark contrasts, that says a lot about worldly goods and earthly possessions. The Jebel Amer area in Darfur, western Sudan from outward appearances is a place of devastating poverty. Unpaved roads and mud huts dot the landscape. Underneath its scorched earth, however, lies a precious commodity that the world craves: gold. This disparity has led to hundreds of local tribesmen being killed in the mad scramble to mine it.

More than double the number of all people killed by fighting between the army, rebels and rival tribes in Darfur in 2012,  the fight for gold has left a heavy toll in this African nation.

More than double the number of all people killed by fighting between the army, rebels and rival tribes in Darfur in 2012, the fight for gold has left a heavy toll in this African nation.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/9/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Darfur, gold, conflict, Sudan, South Sudan


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Darfur has been a highly unstable and bloody land torn apart by conflict. In the past year or so, however, that has changed from ethnic and political fighting to one over gold.

Rival tribes have fought over the Jebel Amer gold mine, that stretches six miles beneath the sandy hills of North Darfur. More than 800 people have been killed and 150,000 more people have been displaced since January. Arab tribes, once heavily armed by the government to suppress insurgents, have turned against each other in the scramble for material wealth. Rebel groups that oppose the government also want the metal.

More than double the number of all people killed by fighting between the army, rebels and rival tribes in Darfur in 2012,  the fight for gold has left a heavy toll in this African nation.

According to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's quarterly reports to the Security Council, the government has been complicit in the violence by encouraging at least one militia group to seize control of mines, a charge the government denies.

The Darfur conflict, until last year was between the government and its Arab militias, against three large rebel groups. The Jebel Amer attack changed that, dividing Arab tribes against each other. International peace efforts remain focused on bringing the main rebel groups into a Qatar-sponsored deal Khartoum signed with two splinter groups in 2011.

Qatar's deputy prime minister, Ahmed bin Abdullah al-Mahmoud, expressed concern about the recent tribal violence at the last meeting to discuss the Qatar deal last month. He stressed a key factor in bringing peace to Darfur would be to get the rebels to the negotiating table.

The conflict in Darfur began as a struggle between African farmers and Arab cattle-owning nomads. Fighting in Darfur since 2003 has killed more than 200,000 people and forced some two million from their homes according to human rights groups, growing into what the U.S. State Department described as genocide.

The International Criminal Court charged Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in 2009 with war crimes for his role in the Darfur violence, charges he rejects.

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