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Seven killed in North Darfur attacks involving the RSF

January 21 - 2022 EL FASHER
Women set up a shelter in ZamZam IDP camp in North Darfur (Hamid Abdulsalam / UNAMID)
Women set up a shelter in ZamZam IDP camp in North Darfur (Hamid Abdulsalam / UNAMID)

Seven people were killed and eight were injured in two attacks in North Darfur. Four residents of the Zamzam camp for the displaced were killed after they tried to retrieve their stolen sheep. Two other people were killed when gunmen in a Rapid Support Forces vehicle shot at a vehicle bringing vegetables to Zamzam camp.

Armed men killed five displaced people from the Zamzam camp for the displaced and wounded four others on Wednesday evening near Foul Abyad, which is seven kilometres west of North Darfur’s capital El Fasher.

The attack led to a march headed for the government secretariat and a blockade of the road between El Fasher and Nyala, the capital of South Darfur, yesterday. The atmosphere has been described as tense or boiling.

A community leader from the densely populated Zamzam camp told Radio Dabanga that “problems started after gunmen stole 450 sheep and kidnapped a shepherd near the camp on Wednesday afternoon.

“Camp residents formed a search posse and went out to track down the perpetrators and retrieve the stolen sheep on Wednesday evening. When they approached Foul Abyad, the gunmen shot at them, killing Haroun Jali (40) and Mahdi Abdelrahman (37). Ahmed Kabbashi and Ibrahim Mohamed were injured.”

The community leader further explained that another vehicle left the camp on Wednesday evening to retrieve the bodies of the dead: “When they came near the site of the killing, the gunmen shot at them again. Abubakar Abdallah (41), Haidar Idris (37), and Mohamed Ashour (33) were killed instantly. Osama Abdallah and Ibrahim Eisa sustained bullet wounds.”

'When they came near the site of the killing, the gunmen shot at them again'

Reacting to the deadly attack, the displaced people of Zamzam camp closed the road linking El Fasher and Nyala on Thursday morning and went out in mass demonstrations to condemn the accident.

A witness in Zamzam camp told Radio Dabanga that thousands of displaced people went out in a massive procession, carrying the bodies of the dead and demanding the arrest of the perpetrators to bring them to justice.

The demonstrators chanted slogans demanding retribution and protection for the displaced from Zamzam camp. A vehicle of the Rapid Support Forces* (RSF) fired heavy bullets near the displaced people who were blocking the El Fasher-Nyala road, before returning to El Fasher. No injuries have been reported.

Acting Governor of North Darfur Nimir Abdelrahman promised to bring the perpetrators of the events to justice.

In his address to the North Darfur government on Thursday morning, Abdelrahman called on the Zamzam camp for the displaced to file complaints against any person suspected of involvement in the incident. He also called on the protesters to bury the dead.

RSF shooting

Two other people were killed and four were injured in a separate incident in North Darfur on Thursday morning where gunmen in a Rapid Support Forces vehicle shot at another vehicle on the Tawila-El Fasher road.

Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that a RSF vehicle mounted with a Dushka (DShK) machinegun opened fire on a car loaded with vegetables near Siswa, on its way from Tawila to Zamzam camp. Shadia Ibrahim (60) and Mohamed Haroun (45) were killed instantly.

Violence against displaced

Earlier this week, the killing of a number of camels near Zamzam camp for the displaced sparked fears for avenge attacks among the camp residents.

One of the camp leaders told Radio Dabanga that a group of gunmen shot at camels belonging to traders who were on their way to El Fasher last Friday evening. Six animals were killed.  

“In response, vehicles belonging to the Rapid Support Forces and private cars arrived at the scene of the accident on Saturday morning,” the camp leader said.

“They blocked the El Fasher-Nyala road next to the camp. Others beat women and children in the camp, which spread terror among the residents, and led to the closure of the camp market.”

He added that the gunmen opened the road again on Saturday noon, following a visit by state officials from El Fasher to the place.

* Officially, the RSF militia, set up by the ousted Al Bashir regime in 2013, was integrated into the Sudan Armed Forces in August 2019. At the same time, however, the militia stays a force unto itself. The RSF, which grew out of the Janjaweed who fought for the Sudanese government in Darfur, is widely believed to be responsible for atrocities in the country in the past seven years. Many Sudanese hold the paramilitaries also accountable for the violent break-up of the Khartoum sit-in on June 3, 2019.

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