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Wounded at demonstration in South Darfur capital

January 20 - 2015 NYALA
Protests in Nyala, 20 January 2015 (Dabanga correspondent)
Protests in Nyala, 20 January 2015 (Dabanga correspondent)

13 people were seriously wounded in Nyala, capital of South Darfur, today, during a mass protest against attacks and killings of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

After a member of the RSF shot a young man dead in El Shaabi market in Nyala on Monday, angry citizens took to the streets to protest. Police forces dispersed the crowd.

This morning, another, much larger demonstration started at El Shaabi market in the southern Teksas district. The protesters moved towards the offices of the South Darfur state government, chanting “Hit us with your bullets”, “To be humiliated or to be shot”, “Down, down with the Rapid Support Forces”, and “No place anymore for the Rapid Support militia in Darfur after today”.

One of the demonstrators reported to Dabanga that police and security forces in vehicles mounted with Dushka machineguns attempted to prevent the protesters to reach the government premises.

“They closed the bridge, but the protesters crossed the valley. The government forces then used tear gas and live bullets to disperse the crowd. 13 people, among them six women, were seriously injured, and were taken to the Nyala Teaching Hospital.”

Others told Dabanga that the demonstration, “by students and citizens” paralysed the traffic in Nyala. “Markets and schools were closed, and most of the residents stayed at home, as large numbers of police cars were moving through the city.”

“Army troops at the nearby garrison were on standby, and aircrafts were circling above the city, as rumours spread that relatives of the man who was shot dead on Monday were on their way, on horses, from Ed El Fursan to Nyala,” one of them reported.

The sources also said that security forces detained at least 11 demonstrators. “They were taken to the police station in downtown Nyala.”

‘Women and children’

The governor of South Darfur state, Maj. Gen. Adam Mahmoud Jarelnabi, said in a press conference in Nyala this afternoon that eight people were injured during the protests, “five civilians and three police forces”.  

According to the governor, the police had treated the protesters in a “kind way”, as “the majority of them were women and children”.

Jarelnabi accused “certain infiltrators” of being behind the demonstrations, stressing that “the situation is now under control”. He warned anybody “who dares to instigate such riots again” in the city, saying that he had ordered the police to “take strict measures prohibiting gatherings”.

He furthermore stated that the authorities “have taken the necessary legal proceedings against the RSF militiaman accused of killing Ahmed Abdelrahman Mohamed Daoud at El Shaabi market on Monday.

In the past years, the capital of South Darfur witnessed several protest and demonstrations against the rampant insecurity in the city and surroundings. After unknown gunmen ambushed the vehicle of a popular businessman, and president of the Nyala Merreikh football club, in the South Darfuri capital on 18 September 2013, and killed him and one of his sons, people went to the streets the next day in protest. Militant demonstrators set fire to several government buildings.

In July 2014, the South Darfur state authorities imposed a number of emergency measures in an attempt to curb the lawlessness. An Emergency Court was established in August, to speedily try offenders of the measures that banned the wearing of masks, the carrying of weapons  by civilians, and the use of unregistered cars, and motorcycles.

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