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Pre-2003 Conflict in Darfur

The conflict with the greatest number of casualties in the Darfur region began in 2003. Previously, there were numerous clashes revolving around access to land, water and pasture, yet the international media rarely reported them. By 1986, after the armed conflict in Chad spilled into the region, these inter-tribal struggles in Darfur started taking a political turn. Once the government of Libya started getting involved in the affairs of Sudan, coupled with volatile political party dynamics in Sudan itself, the frequency of armed conflict intensified. Some tribes felt marginalized and oppressed; as a result, the governor of Western Darfur split the Masalit homeland into 13 areas, nine of which were to be ruled by people from Arab tribes.

The table below shows years prior to 2003 when the warring tribes held reconciliation conferences to resolve conflicts in Darfur:

YEAR TRIBES INVOLVED REASON FOR CONFLICT
1957 Kababish vs Meidob Territorial dispute and ownership of camels
1968 Rizzeyqat vs Ma’aliyah Cattle rustling and access to grazing lands
1969 Rizzeyqat vs Zaghawa Cattle rustling, access to watering holes and pasture
1974 Birgid vs Zaghawa Cattle rustling and access to grazing and farming lands
1976 Rizzeyqat vs Beni Helba Cattle rustling, access to watering holes and pasture
1980

Rizzeyqat vs Beni Helba, Birgid, Dajo, and Fur

Cattle rustling, access to watering holes and pasture
1980 Taisha vs Salamat Cattle rustling, access to watering holes and pasture
1982

Kababish vs Khawabeer, Meidob, Berti and Zaiyadiya

Cattle rustling, access to watering holes and pasture
1984 Rizzeyqat vs Missairiya Cattle rustling, access to watering holes and pasture
1987 Rizzeyqat vs Dinka Political retaliation
1987 Gimir, Mararit vs Fellata Cattle rustling, access to watering holes and pasture
1989 Fur vs Zaghawa Cattle rustling and access to grazing lands
1989 Rizzeyqat, Missairiya vs Fur Territorial dispute and political alignment
1989 Arab tribes vs Fur Territorial dispute and political alignment
1989 Gimir vs Zaghawa Cattle rustling, access to watering holes and pasture
1996 Rizzeyqat vs Zaghawa Cattle rustling, access to watering holes and pasture
1997-1999 Arab tribes vs Masalit Cattle rustling, access to watering holes, pasture, borders

Source: Ḥarīr, S. A. A. (1994)."Arab belt" versus "African belt": Ethno-political conflict in Dar Fur and the regional cultural factors (in) Ḥarīr, S. A. A., Tvedt, T., & Badal, R. K. (Eds.), Short-cut to decay: The case of the Sudan. Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet.