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Darfur centre condemns rhetoric after fighting

June 13 - 2017 GENEVA
Rebels loyal to Minni Minawi ride into El Fasher, the administrative capital of North Darfur (Ashraf Shazly/AFP)
Rebels loyal to Minni Minawi ride into El Fasher, the administrative capital of North Darfur (Ashraf Shazly/AFP)

The renewed military confrontations in South, East, and North Darfur from mid-May are of major concern for a relief and documentation centre. “There are fears of massive violations of international humanitarian law […] and inhumane treatment of insurgent fighters held captive.”

The fighting between the security forces and militias loyal to the Government of Sudan and the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement–Minni Minawi (SLM–MM) and the SLM-Transitional Council , led by Nimir Abdelrahman, has emerged in South, East and North Darfur States since 19 May.

More military confrontations were reported in Ein Siro, in north-west Kutum, starting 28 May. Areas affected by such attacks are Marla, Muzbad, Um Baru, Adoala and Arori and other areas of Karnoi locality, the Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre (DRDC) writes in a statement released today. “There are reports of arrests and forced disappearance of large numbers of civilians in these areas arrested under the pretext of communicating with the armed movements.”

The renewed round of large-scale fighting puts “an end to the unilateral ceasefire that had been declared by the Government of Sudan and the Darfur insurgents several months ago and frequently renewed”, according to the Geneva-based documentation centre.

“There are different versions about the reality on the ground and the manner in which the fighting had erupted. Sudan claimed that the insurgent groups entered Darfur from South Sudan and Libya while the insurgents maintained that their troops were stationed in areas under their control in Darfur and that they were in fact conducting internal movements for administrative purposes.

'Some captured insurgent fighters, including injured commanders were paraded on Sudan’s national TV and forced to make self-incriminating statements.'

Political rhetoric

DRDC said it is deeply concerned that the ongoing fighting has been associated with aggressive political rhetoric by Sudanese government officials labelling the Darfur insurgents as mercenaries and calling for their annihilation. The centre condemned “racist media pronouncements” by the Governor of East Darfur State, Anas Omer who called on the security forces “not to bury the fallen insurgent fighters and instead leave their dead bodies to be devoured by vultures.”

The centre reported there are fears “of massive violations of international humanitarian law, including reports about torture and degrading and inhumane treatment of insurgent fighters held captive by the security forces”.

DRDC points to a meeting the Sudanese government held in Berlin soon after the renewed clashes. This has “cast doubts about Sudan’s commitment to the unilateral ceasefire it has renewed recently. […] The ongoing fighting also indicates that the Darfur insurgent groups are present in the region and capable of carrying out military activities.”

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