The Darfur crisis is a conflict in the Darfur region of western Sudan. The two main military sides are the Sudanese Military and the Janjaweed militia, recruited mostly from tribes of the northern Rizeigat. The other side comprises a variety of rebel groups, notably the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement, recruited primarily from the Fur, Zaghawa, and Massaleit ethnic groups. The Sudanese government, while publicly denying that it supports the Janjaweed, has provided money and assistance to the militia and has participated in joint attacks targeting the land-tilling tribes from which the Darfuri rebels draw support. The conflict began in February 2003. Unlike in the Second Sudanese Civil War, which was fought between the primarily Muslim north and Christian and Animist south, almost all of the combatants and victims in Darfur are Muslim.
The government and Janjaweed attacks upon the non-Baggara civilian populace have resulted in a major humanitarian crisis. There are many casualty estimates, most concurring on a range within the hundreds of thousands. The United Nations (UN) estimates that the conflict has left as many as 450,000 dead from violence and disease. Most NGOs (non-governmental organizations) use 200,000 to over 400,000, a figure from the Coalition for International Justice that has since been cited by the UN. Sudan's government claims that 9,000 people have been killed, although this figure is seen as counterfactual. As many as 2.5 million are thought to have been displaced as of October 2006.  (See Counting deaths section, below)
The Sudanese government has succeeded in suppressing information by jailing and murdering witnesses since 2004 and tampering with evidence such as disturbing mass graves and by doing so eliminating their forensic value. In addition, by obstructing and arresting journalists, the Sudanese government has been able to obscure much of what has gone on. The mass media once described the conflict as both "ethnic cleansing" and "genocide," and now do so without hesitation. The United States government has described it as genocide, although the UN has declined to do so. (See List of declarations of genocide in Darfur) In March 2007 the U.N. mission accused Sudan's government of orchestrating and taking part in "gross violations" in Darfur and called for urgent international action to protect civilians there.
After fighting worsened in July and August, on August 31, 2006, the United Nations Security Council approved Resolution 1706 which called for a new 17,300-troop UN peacekeeping force to supplant or supplement a poorly funded, ill-equipped 7,000-troop African Union Mission in Sudan peacekeeping force. Sudan strongly objected to the resolution and said that it would see the UN forces in the region as foreign invaders. The next day, the Sudanese military launched a major offensive in the region. (See New proposed UN peacekeeping force) In the meantime, the conflict expanded into part of the broader Central African War.