Jebel Marra is the name of a collection of volcanic mountains reaching up to 9,980 feet in the middle of the Darfur region (1), specifically between Zalengei in Central Darfur, Kutum in North Darfur and Kass in South Darfur (2); it has caves and many valleys and is the stronghold of the rebel group known as the Sudan Liberation Army-Abdel Wahid.
On January 15, fighting between the government and its allied militias and the SLA-AW rebels greatly increased, and as of now (March 3) still rages on (3). 92,378 of the 96,000 people mentioned above were in North Darfur State camps and towns (2,285 in Kebkabiya, 62,192 in Sortony, 27,453 in Tawila, 448 in Shangil Tobaya) as of February 28 (4). Despite aid agencies not being allowed into the Jebel Marra portion of Central Darfur, aid groups have been able to count 3,350 displaced people there; the true number of displaced in this state is expected to be much higher (ibid.). South Darfur State has 1,000 displaced people in the Kass area (ibid.).
UNOCHA has stated that the total number of displaced people in Darfur as of December 2015 was 2.6 million (4). Add the 96,000 displaced from Jebel Marra since then, and you have about the same number of people as lived in Chicago, Illinois in 2010 (which the 2010 census listed as having 2,695,598 people) (5). And this is not taking into account people elsewhere in the five Darfur states who have been driven from their homes this year by violence.
- Wikipedia entry for “Marrah Mountains,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marrah_Mountains
- Operation Broken Silence, satellite picture of Jebel Marra with city names superimposed, http://www.operationbrokensilence.org/sites/494/uploaded/images/Jebel_Marra_map.jpg
- Radio Dabanga, March 3, 2016, “AU, UN heads express concern about violence in Darfur’s Jebel Marra,” https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/au-un-heads-express-concern-about-violence-in-darfur-s-jebel-marra
- UNOCHA Sudan Humanitarian Bulletin, Issue # 9, February 22 – 28, 2016, http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/OCHA_Sudan_Weekly_HB_Issue_09.pdf
- Wikipeida entry for “List of United States cities by population,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_cities_by_population