Livestock are not only perceived as wealth, but are the livelihood for almost all rural communities in Darfur, including the sedentary tribes. Animosity between nomadic and sedentary tribes was mainly brought about by the need for nomads to have access to sources of water and more pasture land for their livestock. Sedentary tribes felt that their land was being taken away by the nomadic tribes whom they felt were intruders. As the conflict escalated and villages were attacked, the few livestock that the sedentary tribes had were stolen by the attackers. In essence, attacking and stealing livestock was a way to drive those civilians into destitution while denying them their only means of support.
Small towns and marketplaces were often attacked by Sudan's government forces. Immediately after an attack began, these forces took the opportunity to loot all the wares that were in shops. The few small-scale traders were thus robbed of their livelihood. There were incidents in which the observers from the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) captured the soldiers and militia groups looting shops and ransacking small towns, although there was nothing the observers could do to stop it.