At A Glance
The United Nations has described Sudan's western Darfur region as one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.
- About 1.4 million people in displacement camps in Darfur receive food aid
- Many have also fled to Chad and Central African Republic
- Restricted access for peacekeepers and aid workers
The conflict flared in 2003 when rebels in Darfur took up arms, accusing the government of neglecting the region. The government responded with a counter-insurgency campaign.
Since then, civilians have come under attack from government troops, pro-government militia and rebel groups. The United Nations says as many as 300,000 people may have died. Khartoum puts the figure at 10,000.
The violence has also forced hundreds of thousands of people – initially mostly farmers and villagers from non-Arab groups – to flee their homes. The majority are living in squalid camps in Darfur and neighbouring Chad.
Although the fighting has fallen from levels seen in 2003 and 2004, violence still displaces large numbers of people. Fighting is now broader and includes clashes between Arab tribes, between the army and rebel groups, and between rebel factions. Civilians from both Arab and non-Arab groups have been displaced.
In March 2009, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudan's president for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
Soon afterwards the government expelled 13 international agencies from Sudan and three local agencies from Darfur.
Since then few reports have been published on the humanitarian situation in the region. News agencies have very limited access, and aid agencies are reluctant to speak out for fear they will be expelled.
A combined United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force began deploying in 2007, taking over from a small, overstretched AU force.
The conflict in west Sudan's Darfur region flared in 2003 when two rebel groups rose up against the government, accusing it of wilful neglect.
Khartoum moved swiftly to crush the revolt by the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA).
The conflict spilt over into neighbouring Chad and Central African Republic.
The Sudanese government is widely accused of arming militias drawn from Arab tribes who have used scorched-earth tactics against the rebels' communities. Khartoum has denied the accusations.
In March 2009, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, describing the Janjaweed as allies of the Sudanese armed forces. Bashir has dismissed the charges.
Soon afterwards the government expelled 13 international agencies from Sudan and three local agencies from Darfur.
In 2009, the outgoing military commander of U.N. peacekeepers said the conflict was effectively over, and isolated attacks and banditry were the region's main problems.
But fighting escalated in 2010, forcing tens of thousands more to flee their homes.
In 2010, the ICC issued a second arrest warrant for Bashir, this time for charges of genocide.
Exact figures for the number of people killed in the conflict in Darfur are hard to determine. The United Nations says as many as 300,000 may have died since 2003 – a figure disputed by Khartoum, which puts it closer to 10,000.
Many villages have been destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people have fled the violence to squalid camps in Darfur and neighbouring Chad.
International Crisis Group says the removal of so many people from their homes has been part of a government policy of ethnic cleansing, in a bid to cripple support for the rebel movements.
The displaced are mostly African farmers from the Fur, Zaghawa and Massaleit tribes. The Janjaweed come from Arabic-speaking pastoralist communities, which herd camels in northern Darfur and cattle in southern Darfur.
Both the farmers and the pastoralists are Muslim, and have inter-married for centuries.
The Zaghawa are also camel herders and have strong ties to Chad.
Struggle for resources
Darfur's population of about 7.5 million is scattered over an area the size of France.
The region, historically separate and long neglected by Khartoum, lacks basic infrastructure and social services. Experts say the motives for the rebellion are exclusion from political power, lack of roads, schools and water infrastructure.
The Darfur rebels' grievances are similar to those of armed groups in the south of the country and elsewhere.
Land used to belong to tribes – Darfur means 'the place of the Fur people'. There are at least 36 main tribes in the region.
Some of the Arab people felt left out of a system that gave more "dars" (districts) to non-Arab communities.
Traditionally, conflicts were settled with little or no violence by respected local councils. These were abolished by the Khartoum government after it came to power in a coup in 1989, leaving no mechanisms for resolving disputes peacefully.
The disbanding of the councils coincided with droughts and the encroachment of the expanding Sahara Desert, which forced Arab herders from the north into competition over land with farmers based in villages.
To make matters worse, ethnic differences between the two groups – who used to co-exist peacefully in the main – were exaggerated by local leaders in the battle over resources.
When Khartoum retaliated against Darfur's rebels, it lit a powder keg.
It is accused of recruiting Arab militias, known as Janjaweed, who are blamed for killings, widespread rape and abductions. Refugees describe them as ferocious gun-wielding men riding camels or horses who burn villages and steal whatever they can carry.
Khartoum repeatedly denied any links to the Janjaweed, dismissing them as outlaws.
Some of the Janjaweed have now been integrated into the Sudanese military, or have changed sides and joined the rebels. Others still fight in militia groups – despite a 2004 U.N. Security Council resolution ordering their disarmament.
Reports suggest Arab tribes in Darfur may also be losing patience with Khartoum. Some Arab communities are said to feel they have been used by the government to fight its battles, scapegoated for atrocities and then excluded from the political process.
The existence of oil in Darfur, revealed in 2005 when Sudan's Advanced Petroleum Company (APCO) began drilling, has led some analysts to wonder how far oil could be guiding Khartoum's actions in the region.
Some experts have suggested the oil reserves could act as an incentive to end the fighting. Drilling is risky during conflict, and if the oil can be extracted, there will be more wealth to go around, they argue.
Many commentators say the conflict in Darfur has been exploited in the struggle for power within Sudan's Islamist movement.
The fighting is not just between government forces and rebel groups, but is also between rebel groups, and between Arab militia groups.
Tribal clashes over access to land, conflicts between pastoralists and farming communities, and attacks by criminal gangs add to the region's insecurity, according to the United Nations.
Qatar, representing the Arab League, has been working with the African Union, United Nations and Chad in mediating peace talks. But rebel divisions and continued military action means the so-called Doha peace process has so far failed to secure a truce.
The most powerful active rebel groups are JEM and two Sudan Liberation Army factions, one led by Abdel Wahed Mohammed al-Nur (SLA-AW) and one led by Minni Arcua Minnawi (SLA-MM).
In July 2011, the government signed a peace deal – the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur – with the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), an umbrella organisation of small rebel groups. JEM, SLA-MM and SLA-W refused to join.
The LJM now has ministers in the federal government and a strong presence in the Darfur Regional Authority, tasked with implementing the peace deal.
Darfur rebels are divided over the peace talks, and over whether to fight for changes in Darfur or for a broader national agenda.
Former members of the LJM have joined JEM. And in 2011, the former deputy chair and lead negotiator for JEM, Mohamed Bahr Ali Hamdeen, formed a breakaway faction willing to negotiate with the government. But he has since become impatient with a lack of progress and talked of joining the SRF alliance, the Small Arms Survey said. A splinter group of JEM led by Mohamed Basher (JEM-MB), signed the Doha peace agreement in April 2013.
In November 2011, JEM, SLA-MM and SLA-W joined with Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North, which is active in Sudan's states bordering South Sudan, to form the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF), a coalition of rebel groups with the stated aim of overthrowing the national government by all possible means.
In December 2012 the region's most powerful rebel leader – JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim – was killed and his brother, Jibril Ibrahim, took over.
Sudan's authorities had long hunted Khalil Ibrahim, who took refuge in neighbouring Libya under Muammar Gaddafi until the leader's overthrow deprived him of his safe haven. In 2008, his fighters launched a shock attack on Khartoum, killing over 200 people.
A peace deal signed in 2006 – the Darfur Peace Agreement – was a turning point in Darfur's lengthy conflict. It was signed between the government and SLA-MM, which later abandoned it. It was rejected by both JEM and al-Nur's SLA-AW faction.
Al-Nur argued the deal did not address key demands of the Darfur people, including greater compensation for war victims, more political posts for the SLA, and greater SLA involvement in the protection of returning displaced people and disarmament of pro-government militias. Refugees rioted against the agreement in several camps and students protested in Khartoum.
After the 2006 peace deal, the fighting shifted from a mainly two-way conflict between central government and rebels to a more complex war also involving heavy fighting between various rebel factions.
Originally, the SLA united supporters from the Fur, Zaghawa and Massaleit tribes but, after the 2006 accord, it split increasingly along tribal lines.
Minnawi is a Zaghawa, an ethnic group accounting for about 8 percent of Darfur's population. They took up arms less to oppose the government in Khartoum than to fight the Janjaweed, their rivals in the lucrative camel trade in North Darfur, the Small Arms Survey says. Al-Nur is a Fur, which is the largest ethnic group in Darfur, comprising 30 percent of the population.
JEM is mostly Zaghawa, but it also splintered into many factions.
After the 2006 peace pact, the Sudanese military appeared to support Minnawi's side. His faction was accused of using Janjaweed-like tactics, including raping and killing women from the Fur tribe. Al-Nur's supporters were also accused of gang-raping women for having Zaghawa husbands.
The United Nations and African Union said in 2007 their new focus was to bring the disparate rebel groups together in readiness for fresh peace talks with Khartoum.
Peace negotiations between the government and Darfur rebels were left in ruins after JEM's May 2008 attack on the city of Omdurman where parliament sits, near the capital Khartoum. JEM is the only Darfur rebel group to have attacked the political heartland.
Then in October 2008, President Bashir launched a national initiative for peace with a forum to discuss the conflict, which was attended by AU representatives, as well as Egypt, Libya and Qatar, Sudanese political parties and civic groups. Rebel groups refused to attend, saying they would not negotiate with Khartoum unless the government stopped its violence against civilians.
In February 2009, JEM and Khartoum signed a goodwill agreement paving the way for possible peace talks, and the two sides signed a ceasefire in February 2010 in Qatar, brokered by Chad.
JEM claimed to be both the sole representative of Darfurians and the most powerful rebel group, and threatened to leave the peace process if the government signed a peace deal with any other rebel group. Despite this, the government signed a deal in March 2010 with the Liberation and Justice Movement, and JEM later withdrew from the Doha process.
In 2010, Minnawi abandoned the 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement and rejoined the rebellion, triggering a new cycle of violence. The local government launched an offensive against the SLA-MM and the Zaghawa population. Khartoum also armed and encouraged non-Zaghawa ethnic groups living with the Zaghawa to expel them. Many of the displaced of fighting age joined the SLA-MM rather than move to displacement camps, the Small Arms Survey said.
All the armed movements insisted there could be no agreement with Khartoum unless Darfur is reorganized as a single region. It was divided into three states in 1994 – North, South and West Darfur – in what many Darfurians see as an attempt to divide and weaken them.
The rebels were angered when in March 2011 the government announced a plan to create two additional states – Central Darfur and Eastern Darfur – saying it was a bid to divide Darfur further along tribal lines and break up its ethnic powerbases.
Peace talks stalled over another March announcement by Khartoum to hold a referendum on whether to unify Darfur's states into one. JEM said the region was not ready for a poll, because so many people were still living in refugee camps.
The new Central Darfur and Eastern Darfur states were established in January 2012.
Wrangling over peacekeepers
In 2007, a hybrid United Nations-African Union force took over peacekeeping in Darfur from a purely AU force.
The 7,000-strong AU force had been massively overstretched and unable to quell the violence or protect civilians. The U.N. Security Council authorised up to 26,000 troops and police for the new hybrid force.
The deployment of UNAMID (United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur) followed lengthy wrangling.
China took credit for eventually persuading Sudan to accept the additional peacekeepers. As a major buyer of Sudanese oil and supplier of arms, China is highly influential in Sudan and has come under international pressure to do more to stop the violence.
Peacekeepers face government restrictions on movement and access, including access to camps for the displaced, according to the U.N. secretary-general's January 2013 report to the Security Council.
UNAMID said it was stepping up patrols in February 2011 and stopped waiting for government clearance to go on trips, after the United States criticised the mission for not doing enough to protect civilians caught up in fighting.
However, the mission continues to face restrictions on flights and patrols, and hundreds of visas are blocked.
Insecurity spills across borders
The Darfur conflict spilled over Sudan's western borders into Chad and Central African Republic (CAR), with several armed groups forcing people to flee their homes in all three countries.
Sudan and Chad accused each other of helping rebel movements in one another's countries. Chad was accused of supporting JEM.
Chad said Khartoum supported Janjaweed militias that attacked African farming tribes inside its borders.
Chad's President Idriss Deby is from the Zaghawa tribe whose members live on both sides of the border and are among rebels fighting against Khartoum.
Tens of thousands of people fled to U.N.-run camps in Chad, while a few thousand Chadian refugees sought shelter in Darfur.
CAR's government accused Sudan of arming a coalition of rebels (the Union of Democratic Forces for Unity) who opposed President Francois Bozize and, in 2006, captured several towns in the northeast. Khartoum denied any involvement.
Deby and Bashir agreed in January 2010 to stop supporting each other's rebels, and the U.N. Panel of Experts said this allegedly resulted in JEM relocating from Chad to Darfur.
It also helped to improve security in Darfur's western region, near the border with Chad, resulting in thousands of people returning home in the area.
In January 2012, Chad President Idriss Deby married the daughter of an alleged Janjaweed militia leader, Musa Hilal. President Bashir was one of the guests, as was the then U.N./African Union joint representative for UNAMID, Ibrahim Gambari.
The United Nations has said South Sudan is hosting JEM on its soil, a charge Juba has denied.
Darfur's humanitarian crisis
Under the Doha peace agreement signed in July 2011, donors and the Sudanese government have agreed a multi-billion-dollar plan for reconstruction and development in Darfur. However, ongoing fighting is likely to affect the plan’s implementation in parts of Darfur.
In 2013, U.N. agencies said they aimed to supply 3.4 million people in Darfur – nearly half the population – with aid. This figure includes 1.4 million people receiving food aid in displacement camps.
Although the majority of displaced have stayed in camps in Darfur, many have fled to Chad and, to a lesser extent, Central African Republic.
An unknown number of displaced people are sheltering with host families and villages in Darfur.
Aid workers face attacks and harassment by militia, rebels, bandits and police. Some have complained that Khartoum has kept them under surveillance and hampered their work with a host of administrative obstacles. Aid workers have been arrested and senior U.N. officials prevented from visiting the region.
U.N. agencies say rebel groups and militias have stolen humanitarian trucks for use in combat.
Conditions are extremely difficult for those who have fled the fighting, some of them several times. The camps where they have found shelter are raided by armed groups, and collecting basic materials like firewood is dangerous – men are killed and women raped. Malnutrition rates are very high and hygiene in camps is poor.
U.N. humanitarian aid chief Valerie Amos, after a visit to Zam Zam camp in North Darfur in May 2013, said people in the camps are living in “desperate conditions”.
Many of the aid agencies with experience of managing the camps have stopped operating in Darfur, either because of a lack of funding or because of government restrictions, the U.N. says.
Government officials have said they want to close the camps and move the displaced back to their lands.
Until March 2009, some 16,370 aid workers were providing relief to more than 4.7 million people in Darfur, according to U.N. figures.
But Sudan expelled a number of large agencies after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for President Bashir, who is charged with atrocities in Darfur.
The government accused them of passing information to the ICC – allegations they denied.
Thirteen international agencies and three local groups were told to stop working in Darfur and other parts of northern and eastern Sudan.
Those who had their operating licences cancelled included Oxfam, Action Against Hunger, Save the Children, CARE, International Rescue Committee, Medecins Sans Frontieres Holland and the Norwegian Refugee Council.
Since then, there has been little information on the humanitarian situation.
It is impossible for aid agencies to properly assess people's needs, the European Commission says.
The U.N. secretary-general's November 2009 report to the Security Council said the aid agency expulsions contributed to increasing malnutrition levels, particularly in rural areas, where relief assistance is stretched beyond capacity.
The U.N. Panel of Experts on Sudan – which monitors the situation on the ground – has been denied access to some areas. Former panel members have accused it of lack of neutrality.
Other independent monitoring mechanisms for the international community have been disbanded or reorganised as joint mechanisms with the Sudanese government.
Human rights abuses
Human rights groups have accused Khartoum – under the aegis of Bashir – of torture and severe repression of political opposition and religious freedoms.
Washington has called the Darfur crisis "genocide", a term Khartoum and many other governments reject.
A U.N.-appointed commission concluded in 2005 that no genocide had taken place, but said there had been heinous war crimes no less serious than genocide. It also said individuals may have acted with genocidal intent.
In 2008, the ICC's chief prosecutor took the momentous step of charging Bashir with masterminding genocide in Darfur, killing 35,000 people and persecuting hundreds of thousands more, and an arrest warrant was issued in March 2009.
Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo also said 2.5 million people were subjected to a campaign of "rape, hunger and fear" in refugee camps.
The court initially indicted Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity, but in July 2010 it issued another arrest warrant for Bashir for genocide.
Bashir is the first head of state charged by an international court since Liberia's Charles Taylor and the former Yugoslavia's Slobodan Milosevic.
The U.N. Security Council has referred dozens of other names of Sudanese war crimes suspects to the ICC.
ICC prosecutors want to try a junior humanitarian affairs minister, Ahmed Haroun, and militia commander Ali Muhammed Ali Abd-al-Rahman, also known as Ali Kushayb.
Haroun was state minister of the interior at the height of the conflict. Moreno-Ocampo said evidence showed Haroun funded the Janjaweed from an unlimited budget and he was seen delivering arms to the militia.
Kushayb was allegedly seen giving orders to the Janjaweed, inspecting naked women before they were raped by men in military uniforms, and participating in summary executions.
The ICC has also charged former JEM and SLA-Unity rebel leaders – Bahar Idriss Abu Garda, Abdallah Banda Abakaer Nourain and Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jamus – with war crimes. Saleh Mohammed Jerbo Jamus was killed in April 2013.
Frustrated at Khartoum's intransigence over Darfur, Washington tightened sanctions against Sudan. The measures are mostly aimed at companies owned or controlled by the government, including firms in oil and petroleum export-related businesses.
The U.N. Security Council has imposed an arms ban on all non-governmental groups, and sanctions on leaders of armed groups accused of abuses in Darfur. But these have not been enforced by the Sudanese government, the U.N. Panel of Experts on Sudan said in March 2011.
The U.N. Panel of Experts has a mandate to monitor the sanctions and compliance with U.N. Security Council resolution 1591, passed in 2005. It produces regular reports for the Security Council.
However, three of the experts resigned from the panel in 2011 citing lack of competence and neutrality on the panel, Africa Confidential reported. They produced their own report on Darfur soon after their resignation.
In 2005, the Council also called on Khartoum to end all aerial attacks in Darfur. The military continues to carry out aerial bombings.
To find out what the United Nations is up to in Darfur, check the UNAMID (African Union/United Nations Hybrid operation in Darfur) website. It includes updates on U.N. support for the African Union peacekeeping mission.
The Sudan website of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for maps and information on aid operations.
Think-tank International Crisis Group has a useful section with background, analysis and information on the humanitarian situation.
Human Rights Watch has reports on human rights violations, political developments and justice.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is pursuing Sudan's president and others for war crimes in Darfur. Its website has documents and press releases.
For information on people displaced within Darfur and refugees sheltering along the Sudan/Chad border, the best place to start is the U.N. refugee agency website.
For reports from the field, have a look at U.S.-based advocacy group Refugees International.
The Feinstein International Center at Tufts University has published several reports on Darfur and the effect of the conflict on livelihoods.
What can individuals do about the violence in Darfur? The Save Darfur Coalition is an alliance of mainly U.S.-based organisations campaigning for greater international effort to end the Darfur crisis.
One of the best no-holds-barred blogs on Sudan is written by Eric Reeves, a professor of English Language and Literature at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.
U.S. advocacy group Enough Project has useful information on Darfur.
Feb - Two rebel groups rise up and attack government military installations, saying Khartoum neglects arid region and arms Arab militia against civilians
Apr - U.N. humanitarian chief Jan Egeland says scorched-earth tactics trigger "one of the world's worst humanitarian crises"
Government, Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA) and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) rebels agree 45-day ceasefire
May - U.N. human rights report says Sudanese troops and militia may be guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity
Government, rebels agree to African, EU ceasefire monitors
International donors conference seeks $236 million
Jun - Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir orders all groups in Darfur to be disarmed
Oct - Rwandan troops join Nigerian soldiers monitoring shaky ceasefire
Nov - Sudan signs two peace deals with rebels, banning military flights over Darfur and covering security and humanitarian access
Sudan says it has lifted all restrictions on aid workers and revoked a state of emergency in North Darfur state
Dec - Sudan agrees to stop military operations in Darfur and asks AU to request rebels do same. Save the Children pulls staff out of Darfur after four killed
Mar - Sudan says has arrested military and security officials accused of rape, killing and burning villages
U.S. abstains as U.N. votes to refer war crimes suspects in Darfur to the International Criminal Court. ICC launches formal investigations in June
May - Donors pledge nearly $300 million to fund a bigger AU force
Mar - Thousands protest in Khartoum against any deployment of U.N. troops to Darfur
Apr - Chad breaks off diplomatic relations, accusing Sudan of backing insurgents trying to overthrow Chad's president
U.N. Security Council imposes sanctions on four Sudanese accused of abuses in Darfur
May - Sudan and an SLA faction sign peace deal. SLA rival faction and JEM reject deal
AU interpreter killed and Oxfam worker stabbed in demonstrations at camps in Darfur over peace accords and lack of protection
Jul - New SLA faction emerges. Chad starts trying to mend diplomatic relations with Khartoum. Relief International aid worker killed
Oct - U.N. Sudan mission head Jan Pronk expelled after saying army has suffered two major defeats at hands of rebels
Nov - U.N. says Sudan accepts the principle of allowing U.N. troops
Norwegian Refugee Council closes its Darfur operation, citing Sudanese government obstruction
Chad's prime minister calls for a "general mobilisation" to counter what he says are Sudanese military attacks in eastern Chad
Dec - President Bashir endorses a three-step U.N. proposal to strengthen AU force with small number of U.N. troops and police
Two major attacks targeted at aid agency compounds force hundreds of relief workers to relocate temporarily
Jan - Sudanese Air Force bombs two villages in north Darfur, disrupting plans for a meeting of rebel commanders to provide impetus for renewed dialogue
EU threatens Sudan with sanctions if it refuses to allow U.N. peacekeepers into Darfur
Darfur police and security officials arrest 20 U.N., AU and aid agency staff at a social gathering. Five are beaten with rifles, and one accuses police of sexual assault
Feb - ICC chief prosecutor names Sudan's humanitarian affairs minister and a militia commander as first suspects he wants tried for war crimes
Mar - U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes, on his first trip to Darfur, is barred from visiting a camp
SLM warns its peace agreement with the government is in danger of collapsing following clashes
Sudan signs agreement with U.N. pledging to give humanitarian groups better access in Darfur
U.S. threatens new sanctions on Khartoum but later agrees to hold off to give U.N. time to negotiate
Apr - Khartoum agrees to let 3,000 U.N. peacekeepers into Darfur. Several aid agencies, including Oxfam, Save the Children Spain and Mercy Corps, temporarily suspend work in western Darfur because of violence
May - Sudan and Chad sign reconciliation deal. Washington tightens sanctions
Jul - Five rebel groups, including two SLA factions, unite to form the United Front for Liberation and Development (UFLD) ahead of possible peace talks
U.N. Security Council authorises up to 26,000 troops and police for a "hybrid" U.N.-African Union operation in Darfur and approves the use of force to protect civilians
Sept - AU soldiers killed after armed men launch an assault on the AU's Haskanita base in Darfur. The base is destroyed
Oct - Armed groups raze government-held Haskanita town. Rebels say attack was carried out by government forces and militia groups
Rebels say government troops and allied militia attack Muhajiriya, a town controlled by the SLA. Government forces deny attack
Armed men kill three World Food Programme drivers in South Darfur
Government-backed militias attack Kalma refugee camp, South Darfur
Government forces attack Hamidiya refugee camp, West Darfur
JEM attacks Sudan's Defra oil field in Kordofan, killing 20 government soldiers and taking two foreign hostages. It threatens more assaults on oil installations
Libya hosts peace talks between Khartoum, pro-government Arab militias and rebel forces, but key rebel factions stay away
Jan - U.N.-AU peacekeeping force takes over from overstretched AU mission
Jan and Feb - Sudanese air and ground assaults near Chad border. U.N. report says 115 people killed and 30,000 driven from homes. It accuses army of raping and looting. Chad threatens to expel any more refugees arriving from Darfur
Mar - Sudan and Chad presidents sign non-aggression deal in effort to end cross-border rebel attacks
Apr - U.N. raises Darfur death toll estimate to 300,000 in five years, against previous estimate of 200,000. Khartoum gives figure of 10,000
May - JEM attacks city of Omdurman where parliament sits, near Khartoum
Jul - ICC chief prosecutor charges Sudan's president with masterminding genocide campaign, killing 35,000 people and persecuting 2.5 million. Khartoum dismisses charges
Bashir makes rare visit to Darfur
Aug - Bashir says he'll ask peacekeepers to leave if ICC issues warrant
Oct - Bashir launches national initiative for peace with a forum to discuss the conflict. Rebel groups refuse to attend
Nov - Bashir announces ceasefire
Feb - JEM and Khartoum sign goodwill agreement paving the way for peace talks. The agreement stops short of a ceasefire, and hostilities between the two sides continue
Mar - ICC issues arrest warrant for Bashir over war crimes in Darfur. Government expels 13 foreign aid groups from Sudan, and closes three local aid agencies in Darfur
Aug - U.N. military commander says war in Darfur is mostly over
Jan - Chad's Deby and Bashir agree to stop supporting each other's rebels
Feb - JEM and Khartoum sign ceasefire
ICC judges ordered to review their earlier decision not to charge Bashir with genocide
Mar - A donor meeting held in Cairo raises less than half the targeted $2 billion for development projects in Darfur after several countries refrain from pledging over security worries
Apr - Bashir wins national elections
May - Security deteriorates following April's flawed elections
Chad refuses entry to JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim. JEM ends peace talks with Khartoum citing ongoing army attacks
Jun - Fighting escalates between army and rebels. Darfur peace talks resume in Qatar without JEM. U.N. peacekeeping mission says rival Darfur tribes have signed peace deal
Jul - ICC issues second arrest warrant for Bashir, including charges of genocide in Darfur. U.N. Security Council renews U.N./African Union peacekeeping mandate until Jul. 31, 2011
Renewed fighting between government forces and JEM. Clashes break out in displacement camps between supporters of opposing groups in Doha peace talks. Thousands flee to peacekeeping base
Aug - In response to U.N. refusal to hand over 6 internally displaced people accused of instigating violence, Khartoum blocks humanitarian access to main Kalma camp in south Darfur, and threatens to expel joint U.N./African Union peacekeeping force
Dec – About 12,000 people flee clashes between rebel Sudan Liberation Movement and government forces in South Darfur. Joint ceasefire commission says there have been air attacks in Western Bahr al-Ghazal state bordering South Darfur. Bashir says will withdraw from Doha peace talks if no deal reached with Liberation and Justice Movement rebels
Jan – United States criticises UNAMID for not being aggressive enough in protecting civilians from fighting
Feb – UNAMID says has stepped up patrols in a new push to protect civilians from fighting
Mar – United Nations says more than 70,000 people have fled fighting since Dec. 2010, many seeking shelter in Zam Zam camp. Khartoum announces plan to create two new states - Central Darfur and Eastern Darfur – and to hold referendum on whether to unify Darfur states into one region
Apr – JEM suspends peace talks in protest at Khartoum's plan to hold referendum on administrative make-up of Darfur
Jul - Khartoum signs a peace deal with the Liberation and Justice Movement, an umbrella organisation of small rebel groups. JEM and two SLA factions refuse to join
Republic of South Sudan is formed
Nov - Former deputy chair and lead negotiator for JEM, Mohamed Bahr Ali Hamdeen, forms a breakaway faction willing to negotiate with the government
JEM joins the Sudanese Revolutionary Front, a coalition of rebel groups including SLA factions, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North and East Sudan’s Beja Congress
Dec - JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim is killed and his brother, Jibril Ibrahim, takes over
Jan - Central Darfur and Eastern Darfur states are established
Feb - U.N. Security Council extends the mandate of Panel of Experts tasked with monitoring sanctions for another year. Bashir formally launches the Darfur Regional Authority, an interim governing body for the region tasked with implementing the 2011 Doha Document for Peace in Darfur
Jul - Darfur Regional Authority calls for improved security measures to protect internally displaced people following a surge in violence
Jan - Fighting between two tribes over control of a Darfur goldmine displaces about 100,000 people
Apr - Sudan signs a peace deal with JEM splinter group led by Mohammed Bashar. Soon afterwards, JEM-Bashar commander Saleh Mohammed Jerbo is killed in fighting between JEM and JEM-Bashar
May - UN says 300,000 newly displaced in 2013 alone