Central Darfur trader slain in market dispute

A market in Darfur (File photo)

Two people were killed, and four others injured in an attack on a market south of the Hameedia camp for the displaced in Zalingei, capital of Central Darfur, on Wednesday. Camp residents told Radio Dabanga that a trader was stabbed to death at his stall at the Moreen market, following a dispute with a person over a bank payment. The police arrested the alleged debtor, after which relatives of the accused reportedly killed the trader.

They stormed the market, shooting heavily into the air, plundered a number of shops and torched large parts of the market.

Two others were stabbed. One of them died of his wounds while the other person, together with three people who sustained gunshot wounds were transferred to the hospital.

The sources warned of “a heavy presence of gunmen near the camp” who continued shooting until late in the evening.

On Friday, the Hameedia camps residents reported a continued deterioration of the security situation, which led to the inability of the displaced to leave the camp to start their work.

El Rasheed Fadul, secretary of the Hameedia Camp Committee told Radio Dabanga that gunmen attacked the eastern side of the camp on Thursday evening, firing heavily and burning three houses, in the presence of the government forces stationed there.

He said that groups of armed men were gathering in Wadi Azum, located next to the camp, and moving around on motorcycles near the camp until late Friday. They set a number of farms in Wadi Azum on fire, stole cattle and donkey carts from the farms, destroyed water pumps.

Gen Mohamed ‘Hemeti’ Dagalo, Commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and Vice-President of the Sovereignty Council, Gen Mohamed ‘Hemeti’ Dagalo announced the stability of the situation in Zalingei on Thursday evening.

He said in a press conference in the South Darfur capital of Nyala on Thursday evening that he had directed his troops “to deal with the infringing armed gatherings by force and to disperse them”.

The paramilitaries “were able to establish security and stability in Zalingei”. They helped return the people who fled their homes in five villages in the neighbourhood back to their homes, he said. He regretted that the events erupted because of a dispute over the payment of a phone battery.

Hemeti further said that RSF soldiers who appeared in video recordings of the attacks at more than 10 villages in Beleil, east of Nyala, last week have been arrested and are awaiting their trial.

A representative of the Sudanese Public Prosecution Office will supervise the investigation committee formed by the South Darfur government, he said and threatened to prosecute anyone who gives incorrect information under the Information Technology Law.

He called on the thousands of people who fled to return to their villages and pledged to provide security, compensate the victims, and start rebuilding the burned houses.

Community leaders and displaced people sheltering at the locality offices in Beleil categorically refused to receive the Sovereignty Council chaired by Hemeti during its visit to the affected villages in the area.

Displaced activist Mohyeldin said that the villagers chanted slogans against the visit and accused the South Darfur government of not taking action to stop the attack despite the availability of information well in advance. 11 omdas (communities leaders) from Beleil signed a statement in which they refuse to meet with the delegation members, reject the investigation committee formed by the South Darfur government, and demand an international investigation committee instead.

He further accused the local authorities of obstructing the arrival of aid to the people sheltering in and around the locality offices. “They have not received official aid from any party except the Zakat (Muslim alms) Bureau and private initiatives.”

Native administration leader Sheikh Abdelnabi accused “forces riding in vehicles carrying RSF plates of being involved” in the attacks on the villages, and called for the removal of what he called “five nomad settlements from which the violence originated”.

He told Radio Dabanga that there are still displaced people stuck in Natega and other areas, and called for “urgent intervention to provide all the new displaced with food and shelter”.