The timeline below was developed largely from eyewitness accounts of inhabitants from Furawiya. A variety of news accounts on Darfur and the village of Furawiya have supplemented the timeline as well.
February 2003: People in Furawiya hear news of clashes between Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) rebels and Government of Sudan (GOS) troops. SLA attack GOS positions in Tine and Kutum.
April 2003: The SLA attack the provincial capital of north Darfur, El Fasher. GOS commander is captured and brought to Furawiya, which is a SLA stronghold, for interrogation.
May, 2003: First aerial bombing, by GOS Antonov airplanes, of Furawiya begins and continues “almost daily” until January 2004. Many people build bomb shelters while many others flee to the hills outside of town taking with them livestock. At night, villagers occasionally return to the village.
December 2003: GOS drops an estimated 24 bombs on a large herd of animals near the three wells in the wadi in Furawiya, killing hundreds of camels, cows, sheep and goats.
January 23, 2004: Bombing of Furawiya stops.
January 29, 2004: Janjaweed militia, supported by GOS forces, attack outside of Furawiya. They come from four different directions to the village on horseback. The first attack comes at 9 a.m. SLA fighters retaliate and the Janjaweed withdraw. At 4 p.m., the GOS-supported militia arrive, supported by two GOS helicopter gunships. The Janjaweed then follow, and stay in the camp for three days. Over 40 SLA are killed in the battle.
January 30, 2004: 6:00 a.m.: Low-flying GOS Antonov bombers pass over the region of Furawiya, but uncharacteristically do not drop bombs. In the distance, people see smoke from villages south of Furawiya. The women and children of Sirkunkok, Kolkul and Hangala run into hiding in the bush, and head northwest for the road that leads to the Chad border. Older children and some villagers sent out to tend the herds are separated from families and forced to flee Southwest.
January 30, 2004: 6:00 a.m.: Low-flying GOS Antonov above bombers pass over the region of Furawiya, but uncharacteristically do not drop bombs. In the distance, people see smoke from villages south of Furawiya. The women and children of Sirkunkok, Kolkul and Hangala run into hiding in the bush, and head northwest for the road that leads to the Chad border. Older children and some villagers sent out to tend the herds were separated from families and forced to flee Southwest.
January 30, 2004: 7:30 a.m.: GOS Antonov bombers continue to fly overhead. Approximately 25 GOS technicals, Toyota Landcruisers with mounted rocket launchers, and other GOS vehicles carrying troops enter near Sirkunkok. They surround the village. Janjaweed fighters follow them on horseback and several large transport lorries. The Janjaweed ride into the mostly deserted town and capture eight people before they can flee. They loot the homes, taking any new clothing, mattresses, blankets, pots, pans and valuables they can load onto trucks to sell at nearby markets. They find safes and metal lock boxes and break them open, taking valuables and burning other documents. They set Sirkunkok on fire while four GOS tanks move in to demolish the mud brick buildings.
GOS and Janjaweed militia then head to Hangala and Kolkul, similarly encircling villages, capturing the few remaining civilians, looting and in some cases destroying the village.
January 30, 2004: 8:30 a.m.: Janjaweed and GOS troops split up and head toward Krakir in the east and toward Furawiya village. The leader of Furawiya hides up on the small mountain just east of the village, and sees the advance. They arrive in southern Furawiya village near the girls’ school. They round up a total of twenty people from each village and hold them for questioning.
A Soviet-made GOS Mirage fighter plane shoots four bombs into the region of Krakir and Furawiya. Three explode and one remains unexploded near the boys’ school in Krakir.
January 30, 2004: 10:00 am: By mid-morning, southern Furawiya is being looted, and set aflame. GOS militia surround the region while Janjaweed loot and destroy homes. The attack moves to Towaisha, a small village a few kilometers northwest of Furawiya.
January 30, 2004: 10:00 am: By mid-morning, southern Furawiya was being looted, and set aflame. GOS militia surrounded the region while Janjaweed looted and destroyed homes. The attack continues in Towaisha.
January 31: mid morning: The twenty people who had been captured by the Janjaweed and GOS are interrogated, then brought to an area near Towaisha and murdered. Their bodies are placed in a hastily dug mass grave.
Following the ground assault and almost complete evacuation of Furawiya of its villagers, the Janjaweed occupy the village for several days.