Darfur (Arabic: دار فور‎ dār fūr, lit. “realm of the Fur”) is a region in Sudan. An independent sultanate for several hundred years, it was incorporated into Sudan by Anglo-Egyptian forces. The region is divided into three federal states: West Darfur, South Darfur, and North Darfur which are coordinated by a Transitional Darfur Regional Authority. Because of the War in Darfur waged by the Sudanese government against the non-Arab indigenous population, the region has been in a state of humanitarian emergency since 2003.

About Darfur War

Darfur covers an area of some 493,180 square kilometers (190,420 sq mi)[1]—approximately the size of Spain.[2][3][4] It is largely an arid plateau with the Marrah Mountains (Jebel Marra), a range of volcanic peaks rising up to 3,042 meters (9,980 ft) of topographic prominence,[5] in the center of the region. The region’s main towns are Al Fashir, Nyala, and Geneina.

There are four main features of the physical geography. The whole eastern half of Darfur is covered with plains and low hills of sandy soils, known as goz, and sandstone hills. In many places the goz is waterless and can only be inhabited where there are water reservoirs or deep boreholes. While dry, goz may also support rich pasture and arable land. To the north the goz is overtaken by the desert sands of the Sahara. A second feature are the wadis, which range from seasonal watercourses that flood only occasionally during the wet season to large wadis that flood for most of the rains and flow from western Darfur hundreds of miles west to Lake Chad. Many wadis have pans of alluvium with rich soil that are also difficult to cultivate. Western Darfur is dominated by the third feature, basement rock, sometimes covered with a thin layer of sandy soil. Basement rock is too infertile to be farmed, but provides sporadic forest cover that can be grazed by animals. The fourth and final feature are the Marrah Mountains, volcanic plugs created by a massif, that rise up to a peak at Deriba crater where there is a small area of temperate climate, high rainfall and permanent springs of water.

The Sudanese government and the JEM signed a ceasefire agreement in February, 2010, with a tentative agreement to pursue further peace. The JEM has the most to gain from the talks, and could see semi-autonomy much like South Sudan.  However, talks have been disrupted by accusations that the Sudanese army launched raids and air strikes against a village, violating the February agreement. The JEM, the largest rebel group in Darfur, has said they will boycott further negotiations.

There are various estimates on the number of human casualties, ranging from under twenty thousand to several hundred thousand dead, from either direct combat or starvation and disease engendered by the conflict. There have also been mass displacements and coercive migrations, forcing millions into refugee camps or over the border and creating a large humanitarian crisis.