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The epidemiology of lethal violence in Darfur: using micro-data to explore complex patterns of ongoing armed conflict.

Authors
  • de Waal, Alex1
  • Hazlett, Chad2
  • Davenport, Christian3
  • Kennedy, Joshua4
  • 1 World Peace Foundation, The Fletcher School, Tufts University, United States. Electronic address: [email protected] , (United States)
  • 2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States. , (United States)
  • 3 University of Michigan, United States. , (United States)
  • 4 The Maxwell School, Syracuse University, United States. , (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Social science & medicine (1982)
Publication Date
Nov 01, 2014
Volume
120
Pages
368–377
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.12.035
PMID: 24593930
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

This article describes and analyzes patterns of lethal violence in Darfur, Sudan, during 2008-09, drawing upon a uniquely detailed dataset generated by the United Nations-African Union hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID), combined with data generated through aggregation of reports from open-source venues. These data enable detailed analysis of patterns of perpetrator/victim and belligerent groups over time, and show how violence changed over the four years following the height of armed conflict in 2003-05. During the reference period, violent incidents were sporadic and diverse and included: battles between the major combatants; battles among subgroups of combatant coalitions that were ostensibly allied; inter-tribal conflict; incidents of one-sided violence against civilians by different parties; and incidents of banditry. The conflict as a whole defies easy categorization. The exercise illustrates the limits of existing frameworks for categorizing armed violence and underlines the importance of rigorous microlevel data collection and improved models for understanding the dynamics of collective violence. By analogy with the use of the epidemiological data for infectious diseases to help design emergency health interventions, we argue for improved use of data on lethal violence in the design and implementation of peacekeeping, humanitarian and conflict resolution interventions.

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