Central Darfur counts cost of Nierteti violence
A cautious calm has reportedly returned to Nierteti following the violence that led to the death of two children, and left at least 48 people injured over the weekend.
Witnesses, including some of the wounded, told Radio Dabanga that the incident occurred when an army force, driving four Land Cruisers mounted with machine guns, stormed the town and opened fire. The attack was in response to the killing of one of the army personnel by unknown assailants in Nierteti on Friday.
On Monday, Military Intelligence released ten people who were arrested following the violence. Witnesses say that Military Intelligence also handed higher secondary school student Adam Bashar Adam to Nierteti police on charges of stabbing an army soldier. They said the student was in poor health and both hands were broken.
Shamseldin Ahmed Saleh, the Ba'ath Party official in Darfur scorned the version of events related by Central Darfur Governor, Jaafar Abdelhakam on Monday, blaming the Sudan Liberation Movement-Abdelwahid El Nur (SLM-AW). Saleh described the Governor’s version as “incorrect and misleading”.
Saleh said: “The wounding of police personnel, and the government's announcement at the highest level that the region is completely free of the rebellion, and then accusing the rebellion to justify the incidents is unpersuasive”.
The population and notables of Nierteti locality are demanding the movement of the military personnel who are stationed at the barracks and the gate leading to Nyala outside the locality. They also demand ousting of the Locality Commissioner and the army commander on the pretext that they were both involved in the incidents.
Saleh demanded “the formation of a neutral and an independent inquiry committee to investigate the incidents”. He stipulated that “the state government should not participate in the committee because it is unreasonable and lacking credibility. They themselves are accused of violations in Nierteti.”
At a press conference in Zalingei on Monday, El Shafee Abdallah, the coordinator of the displaced people of Central Darfur, said the people detained in Nierteti by military intelligence were displaced youth and people who have nothing to do with the SLM-AW.
He told Radio Dabanga that the detainees were “innocent people arrested from their homes and workplaces in Nierteti” and demanded “the Governor of Central Darfur issue an apology for the army’s crimes in Nierteti”.
Abdallah demanded “justice for the victims and punishment for the perpetrators – not just settlement by paying blood money – treatment of the injured, and return of the stolen items.”
Also he demanded the formation of an independent inquiry committee from independent legal entities, including the Darfur Bar, Unamid, and human rights organisations, without the participation of the Central Darfur government.
Counting the cost
Calm has reportedly returned to Nierteti, although citizens are still fearful and cautious. Residents and traders whose homes and shops were looted have begun filing complaints with the police.
Radio Dabanga has heard that the government authorities have calculated blood money for the two dead schoolchildren in the incidents at SDG115,000 ($17,500) each, along with the allocation of SDG 20,000 ($3,000) to be paid for commemoration.
Witnesses said that a delegation from Khartoum arrived in Nierteti on Monday by helicopter, and immediately transferred to the headquarters of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) in the city.
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