Cross-border trade in the war areas of the Sudans: Smuggling or a form of cooperation?

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After the war broke out again in the border areas between the Sudans, a trading pattern known earlier as the “peace markets” reemerged. In contrast to previous attempts to use trade to reduce tensions, such markets are now banned by the government of Sudan with severe penalties for perpetrators. We studied this phenomenon using information obtained from within the war zones and found that, although the high profit from such trading is a key motive, supporting family and kin is an equally important objective for many of the parties involved. The practice may also have several important side functions, such as asset protection or providing a platform for political influence.

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