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ACJPS: ‘Upsurge in attacks on civilians in Darfur’

August 8 - 2017 DARFUR
During a military raid on 5 August 2014, displaced were forced on the ground by Sudanese soldiers and Rapid Support Forces in El Salam, Bielel, South Darfur (photo by witness)
During a military raid on 5 August 2014, displaced were forced on the ground by Sudanese soldiers and Rapid Support Forces in El Salam, Bielel, South Darfur (photo by witness)

There has been a marked upsurge in targeted attacks by Sudanese government forces on civilians in Darfur since May, according to the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS). The human rights monitor recorded several attacks on civilians and villages in the past months.

Government forces clashed with two rebel groups – the Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minawi (SLA-MM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement-Transitional Council (SLA-TC) – in East, Central, and North Darfur states between 28 May and 6 June. Tens of thousands of civilians were displaced during the clashes and subsequently as a result of attacks by government forces and allied militia on civilian areas, the ACJPS said yesterday.

Radio Dabanga reported in early July how hundreds of families – more than 2,000 people – fled the fighting in Ein Siro, North Darfur, and have arrived in a camp for displaced people in Kutum. The attacks in Ein Siro occurred between 28 May and 6 June and included members of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and other government-sponsored militias. They fought against Darfuri armed movements – of which there is no presence in any of the attacked villages, according to the ACJPS.

Trend in attacks

In late June and early July, ACJPS documented a continuing trend of targeted attacks on civilians in Central and West Darfur. The attacks on civilians appeared to have been prompted by the earlier clashes between government and armed opposition forces, and intended to punish or otherwise intimidate civilians living in the areas of rebel activity.

On 28 June, a prominent youth activist and leader in the camps for displaced people in Nierteti, Central Darfur, was killed by an unidentified militia group in front of his home. The police refused to file a criminal complaint and the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) prohibited his family from holding a public funeral or erecting a marquee for visitation and consolation. The local hospital also refused to accept his body for an autopsy.

On 29 June, around 50 uniformed soldiers of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) fired live ammunition on the market in Golo, Central Darfur, killing eleven people, including four children. Ten women and girls were raped and several homes and shops in the market were looted. At least thirty men were arrested and taken to the nearby army garrison. Rapid Support Forces (RSF) fighters have since been deployed to Golo and have prevented civilians from entering or leaving the area.

On 6 July a youth activist from Tor, Central Darfur, was abducted by an unidentified militia group on the road between Tor and Kass. His body was found four days later in a remote area near Tor, with gunshot wounds to his head and chest. The police refused to issue Criminal Form 8 to document the crime and the hospital refused to conduct an autopsy.

On 9 July, the police and RSF forcibly shut down Karnidink market in El Geneina, West Darfur. One woman and two children were killed during the incident, and twelve people were injured.

Protective measures

ACJPS calls on the Government of Sudan to cease attacks targeting the civilian population in Darfur, in particular killing, sexual violence and looting committed by its armed forces and allied militia.

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