Keeping track of Darfur’s armed movements is an impossible task. Allegiances shift, factions break away and then re-merge often before anyone has even noticed. It creates difficulties for mediators and humanitarian workers. Who from all the different groups gets a seat at the negotiating table? Who really represents anyone? If I want to deliver sacks of food, who do I need to ask to guarantee safe passage if there are different commanders in charge each day. Any peace deal is going to have to ensure that all the parties to the multi-layered Darfur conflict are ready to stop fighting. Not easy if we aren’t even sure who they all are.
This week one contact told me there were 32 rebel groups. Someone else told me nine. International correspondents based here in Khartoum told me not to bother working out who’s who – there are only three groups to worry about.
Fear no more. A friend has given me her cut-out-and-keep guide to the Darfuri rebels. It would be clearer in colour she tells me, as each branch is colour-coded. I was going to add a note on what it all means – but I think the diagram is pretty self-explanatory.