The whole long struggle for freedom and independence was for the welfare, security and dignity of our people, but Africans continue to inflict suffering on each other. When will it end, asks New African editor Anver Versi.
The recent period has been a heavy time for Africa, with large numbers of people needlessly losing their precious lives as a result of incredibly callous and merciless action by our fellow Africans. Hundreds of thousands have been made homeless.
In Burkina Faso, 60 innocent villagers, including children were gunned down by jihadists who had already taken at least 40 lives in April; in Mali, already reeling from repeated attacks by terrorists, suicide bombers killed a dozen more people and in Kenya, at least 90 emaciated bodies were discovered by police – they had starved to death, convinced by a flinty-eyed cult leader that they would ascend to heaven by doing so.
The worst example of this random taking of African life has been the pointless but incredibly destructive locking of horns by rivals in Sudan’s ruling military junta.
The country’s much abused civilian population once again finds itself plunged into the nightmarish cycle of violence it just doesn’t seem to be able to wake up from.
A ceasefire was in place as I write this but already there are signals that it may not last. Even if it does, incalculable damage will have been done.
Given the large number of expatriates and foreign nationals present in Sudan – the UK alone registered over 2,000 people seeking assistance – their home countries scrambled planes, ships, buses and other forms of transport to evacuate their people. These include essential humanitarian and medical workers, leaving the Sudan even more vulnerable as the aftermath of the violence seeps into daily life.
At the time of writing, some 600 people – the majority innocent civilians totally uninvolved with the warring parties – were reported dead.
The toll will surely rise as hunger, thirst, homelessness and wounds add to the numbers. Hundreds of thousands were already on the march seeking refuge in neighbouring countries.
In total contrast to the foreign governments, to whom the lives and welfare of their citizens are of primary concern, it is the very ‘government’ – if it dares to lay claim to such a title – that is the cause of this disaster.
At issue is nothing more than the overweening egos of two of the nastiest characters posted in Sudan’s substantial Rogue’s Gallery, which includes villains like Omar al-Bashir. Al-Bashir is wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity, including genocide.
He squatted over the country like a malignant spirit for 30 years, during which he carried out genocidal attacks in Darfur, quashed every attempt at democratic freedom like he was swatting flies, impoverished the many while enriching the few, turned the country into a pariah state and ushered into prominence both the current belligerents: Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, aka Hemedti, leader of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) created from the vicious, genocidal Janjaweed militia.
When al-Bashir was pushed out of power by a massive public campaign in 2019, al-Burhan and Hemedti quickly switched sides and joined the short-lived civilian government – led by Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok. Hamdok, a brilliant economist and administrator, was a personal friend.
He was too pure and honest to survive long in the viper’s nest of politics at the top and by 2021, the military ceased any pretense of a return to democracy and al-Burhan and Hemedti took over all power.
But having betrayed their erstwhile master al-Bashir, then betrayed the civilians who placed trust in their pledges, it was surely not too long before they would suspect each other of betrayal and seek to strike the first blow.
Hemedti, who had built up his own force of over 100,000 and flush with revenue from gold mining and mercenary outsourcing, refused to merge his force into the national army. With both men brought up in the traditions of the use of force and violence as the first resort, an armed clash ‘to the finish’ was inevitable. For such people, the so-called ‘collateral damage’ to people, property and nation matters not a jot.
It does to us and it should. The whole long struggle for freedom and independence was for nothing more than the welfare, security and dignity of our people. We refused to be treated as if we did not matter by colonialists; why should we tolerate the same treatment by Africans?