Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Janjaweed (variously spelled Janjawid, Jingaweit, Jinjaweed, Janjawiid, Janjiwid, etc.) is an armed militia group in Darfur, western Sudan, comprising fighters of Muslim Arab background (mainly from the Baggara people). Since 2003 it has been one of the principal actors in the increasingly bloody Darfur conflict, which has pitted Arabs against the black African population (also Muslim) of the region. Its name translates as "a man with a horse and a gun," although it is more usefully translated as "armed men on horseback."
The Janjaweed is the successor to an earlier Arab tribal militia, the Murahilin (literally "nomads"), which had existed for many years beforehand.
The Janjaweed was formed in response to attacks on government installations by the two rebel movements. Although both sides have been accused of serious human rights violations, the Janjaweed soon gained the upper hand through being better armed, more mobile and being supported by government forces. The Janjaweed has pursued a systematic policy of ethnic cleansing throughout Darfur, burning down non-Arab villages and driving out their inhabitants. By the summer of 2004 an estimated 10,000-30,000 people had been killed and another million, mostly non-Arabs, had been forced out of their homes.
The militia has pursued fleeing refugees into neighboring Chad, whose army has fought a number of actions against Janjaweed incursions. The Chadian President Idriss Déby has said that "since the start of this war, some 300 Chadian civilians have been killed and thousands of head of cattle stolen by armed men who crossed over from Darfur." 
Although the Arab-dominated Sudanese government has disclaimed any responsibility for the actions of the Janjaweed, numerous reports have identified collusion between Janjaweed fighters (who are said to have been armed by the government) and the state security forces. In particular, observers have noted that Janjaweed attacks on the ground have often been supported by air strikes from the Sudanese air force.
Idris Abu Moussa, a 26-year-old Sudanese farmer, states: "They came at 4 a.m. on horseback, on camels, in vehicles, with two helicopters overhead ..."they killed 50 people in my village. My father, grandmother, uncle and two brothers were all killed."..."They don't want any blacks left." - from the Darfur Genocide website
It has been suggested that the Sudanese government has been reluctant to rein in the militia, as it has been an effective opponent of the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA). The government has strongly disputed these claims. On June 19 2004 President Omar al-Bashir issued a decree ordering the disarmament of all militias in Darfur, and instructing government forces "to control and pursue all outlaw groups, including rebels and Janjaweed."
Musa Hilal is allegedly the militia's leader. In 2004, he was interviewed by a Human Rights Watch Delegation in Khartoum .
- Darfur Documents Confirm Government Policy of Militia Support
- Janjaweed Chief Says Sudan Government Backed Attacks
- Sudan Emancipation & Preservation Network (SEPNet)
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