Sudan is in the grip of an underreported catastrophe. Fighting between the national army and Janjaweed paramilitaries known for war crimes has devastated Khartoum and razed to the ground cities in the western Darfur region.

Against this backdrop, we speak with two investigative journalists who have exposed the European Union’s role in legitimising Sudan’s “militia state” and sowing the seeds of a conflict that threatens to spiral into all-out civil war.

Gwenaëlle Lenoir and Patricia Huon are two reporters behind The EU’s ‘Pact with the Devil’, which reveals links between Brussels, former Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir and Hemedti, a warlord now fighting to take over the country.

Obsessed with halting migration, the European Union entrusted Sudan almost 10 years ago with responsibility for preventing migrants from reaching Libya, and therefore heading onto Europe. But the unintended consequences were catastrophic, the freelance journalists say.

For one thing, the EU’s decision helped put control of borders along crucial migration routes into the hands of the Janjaweed, whose leader is now at war with the commander of Sudan’s national army, they explain.

They also describe the situation today in Darfur, which they say is in the grip of a humanitarian crisis far greater than the one that grabbed the world’s attention in the early 2000s.

“Twenty years ago, during the first war in Durfur, it was a story of burnt villages,” Lenoir says. “Now it’s a story of burnt cities.”

For more on this IJ4EU-supported investigation, see The EU’s ‘Pact with the Devil’.

Listen on:



  • Timothy Large, director of independent media programmes at the International Press Institute (IPI)
  • Milica Miletić, project and events coordinator at IPI

Guests: Gwenaëlle Lenoir and Patricia Huon

Editing and production: Timothy Large

Graphics: Milica Miletić