Ethnic Cleansing or Resource Struggle in Darfur? An Empirical Analysis

  • Citation: Olsson, Ola, and Eyerusalem Siba. “Ethnic Cleansing or Resource Struggle in Darfur? An Empirical Analysis.” Journal of Development Economics 103 (2013): 299–312.
    • Topics:
    • Human Rights
    • Keywords:
    • ethnic cleansing
    • Darfur
    • Sudan
    • resource struggle
    • humanitarian disaster
    • International Criminal Court
    • water scarcity

The conflict in Darfur has been described both as an ethnic cleansing campaign, carried out by the Sudanese government and its allied militias, and as a local struggle over dwindling natural resources between African farmers and Arab herders. In this paper, we use a previously unexploited data set to analyze the determinants of Janjaweed attacks on 530 civilian villages in Southwestern Darfur during the campaign that started in 2003. Our results clearly indicate that attacks have been targeted at villages dominated by the major rebel tribes, resulting in a massive displacement of those populations. Resource variables, capturing access to water and land quality, also appear to have played an important role. These patterns suggest that attacks in the area were motivated by both ethnic cleansing and resource capture, although the ethnic variables consistently have a larger impact.