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File picture of gold mine workers walking to their shelter during a sandstorm in Al-Ibedia locality at River Nile State

Gold mine workers walk to their shelter during a sandstorm at Al-Ibedia locality in the River Nile State, in this July 30, 2013 file picture. To match Special Report SUDAN-DARFUR/GOLD REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Files (SUDAN - Tags: SOCIETY BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT COMMODITIES CIVIL UNREST)

Darfur gold

With its scrubland, unpaved roads and mud brick huts, the Jebel Amer area in Darfur, western Sudan, can look like a poor and desolate place. Under the ground, though, lies something sought by people everywhere: gold.

In the past year or so the precious metal has begun to alter the nature of the decade-old conflict in Darfur, transforming it from an ethnic and political fight to one that, at least in part, is over precious metal. (Reuters)