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Camp demo against rapes, violations confronts North Darfur authorities

February 15 - 2019 ZAMZAM / EL GENEINA
Protesters in Zamzam camp on Thursday February 14 (RD)
Protesters in Zamzam camp on Thursday February 14 (RD)

Yesterday, people in North Darfur’s Zamzam camp went out in a planned mass demonstration to demand that President Omar Al Bashir steps down and to speak out against the rape of five displaced women near the camp for displaced people.

Zamzam camp, south of El Fasher city, and its central market were filled with protesters from 8am until noon. People responded to the calls to join the ‘March for the Victims of Wars and Violence’ by the Sudanese Professionals Association and other signatories to the Declaration of Freedom and Change.

The March for the Victims of Wars and Violence took place in cities throughout Sudan and was aimed against violations, killings, beatings, arrests and torture against peaceful protesters and demanding their rights guaranteed by the constitution.

Different from the other protests in Sudan which were held that day in response to this march, the demonstration in Zamzam also condemned the rape of three girls and two women last week 12 kilometres west of the camp by militiamen.

After people marched through the camp, they moved out and blocked the main road between El Fasher and Nyala for three hours. Demonstrators chanted “Justice, peace and punishment for the killers and human rights violators”, holding banners demanding the overthrow of the regime.

The masses were dispersed by security forces who used tear gas, as well as batons and plastic wires to beat them. A witness told Radio Dabanga that a group of displaced people gathered in front of Unamid headquarters in El Fasher after which they were dispersed and chased by the security forces.

Locality commissioner

The commissioner of El Fasher locality and the head of the security and police came to address the demonstrators. The protesters called for the arrest of those involved in the rape of displaced women and bringing them to justice, the expulsion of new settlers from their areas of origin, and the disarming of militias.

According to a witness, a woman confronted the leaders saying that since 2003, women “have been raped whenever we went out, whether for farming, collecting firewood or straw […] no criminal has been prosecuted and arrested so far.”

She added: “We know that both the herders and the farmers have the right [of farming and grazing], but you have always stood for and protected the herders.”

She wondered aloud whether there is a woman in Khartoum living like them, living with the dangers of being killed or raped and being humiliated.

More protests have been announced for today after Friday prayers in Zamzam camp. An imam reportedly announced that Friday sermons would focus on the acts of rape and abuse against the displaced and killing, torturing and arresting of peaceful demonstrators.

West Darfur

On Wednesday evening, residents of El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur, took part in a night demonstration to demand the step–down of Omar Al Bashir and his regime from rule of power.

Witnesses said that the demonstration was launched from Riyadh market with a wide participation of the districts of Riyadh, El Salam, El Kifah and El Safiya.

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