A historical background:
Al-Malam-Keila is the birthplace of the Fur Kingdom of Darfur, and the cradle of the Fur dynasty. Other ethnicities from the Sudan have found a refuge in Malam and considered it to be their place of origin. The village of Al- Malam has two names: Al-Malam or Al-Malam-Keila. The Greater Al-Malam is a bit of an urban center, by Sudanese standards, that reflected in the number of schools, small hospitals that provides primary health care, government offices and a huge marketplace that provides goods and services to the area. Keila is the original village that witnessed the emergence of the royal family that ruled Darfur for centuries. The legendary Omda, Adam Makki Jibril, is considered the founding father of modern day Al-Malam-Keila, which has established the village in Al- Malam Valley to the east of the old town. The village of Turba, located to the North of Al-Malam is a small village that is considered part of the Greater Malam area as well as Umdashow to the Eastern part of the area.
Al-Malam is a part of South Darfur State, located in the heart of Darfur at a strategic crossroads between Al-Fashir the capital of North Darfur State, Nyala the capital of South Darfur State and Marrah mountains (GabalMarrah). The population consists the following tribes:Fur, Bany Mansur, Dajo, Birgid and other minorities. All the groups residing in Al-Malam and the surrounding countryside are sedentary people who practice farming, herding and trading.
Life in Al-Malam:
Before the war broke out in Darfur in 2003, the area of Al- Malam was a picture of peaceful co-existence and social tolerance in a village that lies between three smaller villages that became the epicenter of economic and agricultural activity that nourished the livelihood of generations. The village was a trade magnet for small investors who flogged to it to reap the benefits of its spoils from places as far away as Al-Fashir, the capital of North Darfur and Nyala, the capital of South Darfur. The weekly market that held court every Saturday was a magnet for the produce of Gabal Marrah and the grains from the surrounding regions especially the products of Mershing, to the north and Shangil-Tobaya in the south. Furthermore, the herders who roam the Darfur plains found a market for beef and dairy products and an endless potential for growth.
The nomadic tribes that trek for hundreds of miles in search of water and grazing land found rest area with all the services in Malam. In the rainy season, the cattle and camel camps were erected around the area, and the human interaction created a unique exchange rich with cultural diversity and colorful display of ways of life and economic activities. The nomadic Arabs rub shoulders with the sedentary African tribes and the whole community benefits.
After the outbreak of war in Darfur, Al- Malam area became a target of the government and its militia and the result was total destruction of the area and the death of hundreds of its citizens. Most of the inhabitants of the area were displaced and sought refuge in the displaced camps around Nyala and El-fashir, and some moved to the Gabal Marrah area and Mershing. The social fabric was tattered and the peaceful co-existence has become a thing of the past.
On November 6, 2011 thevillage of Al-Malam in Darfur experienced a breakthrough on its journey to reconciliation and the road to sustainable peace.On that day all current resident – male and female as well as many displaced citizens joined together in dialogue to set aside their differences, encourage the displaced to return and begin rebuilding after eight years of war.
After a wave of meetings and dialogue in Nyala and Al-Malam the participants created a Working Group of 24 members with representation from all tribes. The Working Group includes the mayor of the region, local leaders, and the commander of the rebel group that recently signed a peace agreement.The Working group was tasked with:
- Continuing the reconciliation process
- Assessing the reconstruction and development needs that will be vital to the peace building efforts.
The Working group has met several times. After assessing the post-war situation in Al-Malam, it identified threebroad areas to address- reconciliation, reformation and reconstruction
Malam-Darfur Peace and Development is being organized and registered in the United States by Sudanese activist in the Diaspora. The Working Group has already been registered with the government of South Darfur State.