A Peacebuilding Breakthrough in El Malam, Darfur

In 2011, ISP’s Sudan Project Manager, Makki Ibrahim Makki, returned to his home city of El Malam, in the heart of Darfur, after a ten year absence. During his visit to Darfur, he and his colleague Lukman Ahmed began meeting separately with leaders of his tribe, the Fur, and with leaders of the Bin Mansur, an Arab tribe, which had been fighting with and ultimately displaced thousands of members of the Fur tribe during the brutal civil war and genocide in Darfur. After several meetings with leaders of both tribes, Makki convinced them to meet together in a hotel ballroom in Nyala, a city in Southern Darfur.

First joint meeting of tribal leaders from El-Malam in Nyala.

After an extended meeting, the leaders of the two tribes reconciled and drafted a plan for healing and reconciliation. The participants created a Working Group of 24 members with representation from both tribes. The Working Group includes the mayor of the El Malam region, the region’s representative to the legislative assembly of South Darfur, the commander of the regional rebel group, and other local leaders. The Working Group was tasked with: (1) continuing the reconciliation process and (2) assessing the reconstruction and development needs that will be vital to the peacebuilding effort. It was also decided that there should be a much larger meeting involving displaced persons and residents of El Malam.

That meeting took place a few days later with hundreds of displaced persons returning to meet with current residents of El Malam.

Essentially the entire town of El Malam turned out for the meeting.  In the meeting that day, the residents and former residents of El Malam began the process of reconciliation with many of the displaced persons returning to El Malam and nearby villages for the first time in several years. A celebration for the entire town was held shortly after.

Closing ceremonies after the final meeting in El-Malam

The El Malam Working Group decided in its next meeting to continue the reconciliation and uniting of the Fur and Bin Mansur people by working together to rebuild many of the buildings of El Malam and the villages of both tribes destroyed in the war. They chose to rebuild the school first.

School In Ruins From The War