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Aid agencies unable to assist newly displaced in West Darfur

February 14 - 2016 KHARTOUM / EL GENEINA
Mourners at the cemetery of El Geneina, capital of West Darfur, 11 January 2016 (RD correspondent)
Mourners at the cemetery of El Geneina, capital of West Darfur, 11 January 2016 (RD correspondent)

International aid organisations have been unable to access, assess needs, or assist an estimated 5,000 people from Mouli and surrounding villages who fled to the West Darfur capital of El Geneina in early January.

The people fled the villages of Mouli, Atia, Fangata, Tandikoro, and Jeta following inter-communal violence in the area. Some sources also report that an unknown number of people have fled to neighbouring Chad, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Sudan reports in its latest weekly bulletin.

The government’s Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) in West Darfur has confirmed the number of people who took refuge in El Geneina and assessed the needs of the people in Mouli and surrounding villages. The results of the verification and assessment still have to be shared with aid organisations.

According to the HAC, the Darfur Regional Authority sent relief supplies to the affected villages on 1 February. The supplies include 420 bags of sorghum, 1,450 blankets, 1,450 plastic sheets and 140 tents. Local estimates indicate that a 50-kg sack of sorghum can cover the food needs of a family of five people for a month.

This is the third shipment of relief supplies provided by the government and national charity organisations to people affected in the five villages, HAC said.

The first shipment of relief supplies included unspecified amounts of millet, sugar, oil biscuits, salt, emergency household supplies and mosquito nets provided by local organisations and traders. On 26 January, the National NGOs Network, the Women’s Union, and other civil society organisations reportedly sent a second shipment of relief supplies, including unspecified amounts of food and emergency household supplies to affected people in Mouli, Atia, and the other affected villages.

On 9 and 10 January, militant herders attacked Mouli and surrounding villages in retaliation for the death of a relative whose body was found in the neibourhood. They killed and abducted a number of villagers, causing the people to seek shelter in nearby El Geneina.

A number of angry villagers staged a demonstration in protest against the rampant insecurity in the area, whereupon government forces began to shoot at them with live ammunition. On 11 January, three mourners were shot dead by security troops in El Geneina, at the funeral of the people killed the day before.

The killing sparked protests among opposition groups in Khartoum. According to the Darfur Bar Association, at least 14 villagers and protesters were killed and 167 others were wounded between 8 and 15 January.

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