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12 dead, homes destroyed in South Darfur ammo dump blast

May 24 - 2017 NYALA
A pall of smoke hangs over Nyala as ammo blast causes terror in South Darfur capital (RD correspondent)
A pall of smoke hangs over Nyala as ammo blast causes terror in South Darfur capital (RD correspondent)

At least 12 people have died, 18 others injured, and hundreds of homes destroyed after catastrophic explosions rocked an ammunition storage facility in the South Darfur capital of Nyala on Sunday evening.

Legal expert Saleh Mahmoud told Radio Dabanga that the explosions emanated from the arms and ammunition storage of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia in El Matar district in Nyala. In addition to the 12 dead and 18 injured, he says that hundreds of houses were destroyed in El Matar, El Masani, El Sinema, and El Mazad districts, leaving dozens of families displaced and homeless.

As reported by Radio Dabanga on Monday, the explosion caused panic in the city as people fled the streets and markets.

‘War crime’

Mahmoud held the authorities responsible for the dead, injured and the damage caused to Nyala.

He told Radio Dabanga that according to international law, international covenants, and national laws, keeping stockpiles of dangerous substances or explosives in civilian residential areas can endanger the lives of civilians “which amounts to a war crime and a crime against humanity”.

Residents confirm that 300 houses were completely destroyed, while others suffered the collapse of roofs, doors, and windows, and hundreds more damaged by explosive shells creating holes in rooms and fragments in walls.

The victims demanded the authorities to form a committee for inventory of the losses to compensate them.

Compensation

Mahmoud says that there are two sides: criminal where the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General must file a complaint against those responsible for storing the explosives in the residential area. The second aspect is civil for the affected to prove the damage to be entitled to compensation.

He said that in the event the prosecutor does not file a complaint, anyone who has a relative who died or was injured by the explosives would be entitled to file a complaint against the body responsible for storing them inside the residential area.

Nyala witnessed robbery and thefts by armed groups during the chaos caused by the explosions. Nine vehicles were stolen, including a vehicle belonging to the official of the National Union of Sudanese Youth and Solidarity for Relief and Development. Several houses were looted, and residents were robbed at gunpoint.

The authorities have warned people not to pick up any foreign objects, especially as many of the bombs that flew from eight main storages of the rapid support forces are lying around unexploded.


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