Two weeks ago, a UN report confirmed that May was the bloodiest month in Darfur since the United Nations peacekeeping mission deployed in 2007. State sponsored violence, clashes between rebel groups, and regular banditry have resulted in over 400 people killed that month.
During his quarterly press briefing yesterday the top UN peacekeeping official Alan Le Roy was asked what he thought contributed to the deteriorating situation. He answered plainly that a stalled peace process between Darfur rebel groups and the central government means that there is very little hope for the future. Accordingly, groups are less reluctant to take up arms.
One manifestation of the worsening situation in Darfur was clashes between groups opposed to peace talks and those who have participated. Details are still somewhat sketchy, but violence erupted in Darfur’s largest IDP camp, earlier this week killing at least 5 people. Many scores are said to be injured. Meanwhile, the government seems to be deftly playing its hand by denying all aid agencies access to the camp.
The camp, it should be said, shelters over 100,000 people, which makes it a city about the size of Boulder, Colorado. The trajectory in Darfur right now is as troubling as it has been in recent years. There is little hope on the horizon for a political breakthrough. It seems the international community can do is try to mitigate the humanitarian crisis as best it can–but even that is a daunting task considering the government seems to have a complete disinterest in the provision of aid to the conflict-affected population.