Darfur

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Darfur is an area in the western part of the Sudan. For many years there has been tension over land and grazing rights between the mostly nomadic Arabs, and the black African farmers.

The current conflict began when the Sudan Liberation Army accused the Sudanese government of oppressing black Africans in favour of Arabs. They began attacking government targets in early 2003. The government responded to the attacks by mobilising 'self-defence militias'.

One of the militias has been used to drive out black Africans. Refugees reported that air raids by government aircraft would be followed by attacks from the militia. They would enter the villages, kill men, rape the women and steal whatever they could find.

The Darfuris say the militias patrol outside the camps and men are killed and women raped if they venture too far in search of firewood or water.

Many human rights groups have proclaimed that genocide is taking place. The United Nations have estimated that more than 2.7 million people have fled their homes and now live in camps near Darfur's main towns.

The International Criminal Court in The Hague has issued a warrant for the arrest of Omar al-Bashir, the head of the Sudanese government. He has been charged with war crimes, crimes against humanity and leading a genocide.