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7 hostages released in W Darfur camp in ‘deplorable state’

March 15 - 2013 MURNEI

The remaining seven people held hostage by a pro-government militia in West Darfur were released today in “deplorable state”. Their bodies were “swollen” because of the torture they were subjected to while in captivity.

On Wednesday, militants kidnapped nine people in the Murnei camp probably to get revenge for the death of one of their comrades, found dead south of the site on Tuesday. The displaced vehemently denied the claims, “especially as the man was found kilometers away from the camp”.

Following the local commissioner’s negotiation, the displaced agreed to pay a ransom and two of the hostages were freed in advance. The requested sum was initially estimated at 160 million Sudanese pounds; however it was later raised to 172 million (36mi and 38mi USD).

The second amount, which included extras for blood money and food, was paid by the displaced who feared militias would burned down their homes otherwise, Sheikh Khasam Abkar Khamis told Radio Dabanga. He noted the militias had already carried out assaults at the camp on Monday.

Upon their release, the seven hostages were firstly transported to the police station for protection and to ensure the agreement with the militants would be implemented accordingly. They were later taken to a hospital.

According to the sheikh, the people held captive are Khamis Yousef, Abdul Shafi Khamis Yousef, Friday Ateem Mohammed Juma, Musa Omar Khamis, Ali Abkar Mahmoud, Ismail Omar Ahmed and Abubakar Mohamed Abul Qasim.

Siege lifted

Khamis confirmed to Radio Dabanga the gunmen left the surroundings of the camp on horsebacks after receiving the ransom but not without completely ransacking his shops before.

The police was informed about the recent incidents in Murnei, the sheikh said, adding that a committee would be formed at the camp to assess the losses following the attacks by the gunmen in the area for the last days.

The sheikh disclosed having received information indicating the militant who was found dead was in fact killed by his own comrades. Therefore, some displaced are in charge of investigating who killed the militiamen and under which circumstances. Khamis said Murnei’s residents will also be investigated.

“When the militants arrived at the camp, they did not give us any time, not even to investigate together who killed their colleague. They just came, surrounded the camp and started looting”, the sheikh noted.

Khamis said that what happened in Murnei is “unacceptable” and demanded that the UN and UNAMID provide them full protection. He called upon the displaced to unite and face their issues together.  

Radio Dabanga file photo

Related: Militias kidnap Sudan HAC official and 8 others in W Darfur (14 March 2013)

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