In Nyala, capital of South Darfur, the first Coordination Forum for the governors of the five Darfur states discussed security concerns, the economy, and social issues. A group of armed men has been robbing people on the El Tina-Kutum road in North Darfur.
The meeting took place yesterday, after the government and Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebel alliance signed a landmark deal in the South Sudan capital of Juba on October 3, which includes eight protocols for the five tracks (Darfur, the Two Areas, central Sudan, eastern Sudan, and northern Sudan) that have been the subject of a year’s intensive negotiations.
The Juba peace agreement is supported “without hesitation”, said Governor of East Darfur, Mohamed Aliu. The Governor of Central Darfur, Adeeb Abdelrahman, said that the forum also discussed peace building, people's livelihoods, and disarmament.
The Governor of North Darfur, Mohamed Arabi, invited the governors to participate in the El Fasher peace celebrations on October 21.
There is a need to consider the issue of regional governance, according to the Governor of West Darfur, Mohamed Ed Doma, which is now being discussed in accordance with the will of the people of Darfur.
“Darfuri people are expected to come up with an acceptable proposal”, he said. He pointed out that regional governance has previously existed, and that it is now back on the table. He conceded that it is desired by some, and rejected by others.
Health and education
Nadir Yasin, representative of the Forces for Freedom and Change in South Darfur, called on state governors to prioritise health and education. Yasin also called on the government to make use of resources in South Darfur, calling for the establishment of a cement and sugar factory in the state.
The spokesman for the South Darfur Security Committee, Police Maj Gen Ali Hasabelrasoul, lauded the Sudan Liberation Movement headed by Abdelwahid El Nur (SLM-AW), for enabling secondary students in Jebel Marra to sit for exams in neighbouring localities.
After the Minister of Education Mohamed El Amin El Tom announced that the opening of the new school year will be postponed until November 22, the SLM-AW and RSF troops transported secondary school students that live in areas controlled by the rebel group to the exam centres in surrounding towns.
Crime and violence
Hasabelrasoul pledged that the regular forces will cooperate to maintain security and stability in all Darfur states.
He stated that the underlying problem in all five Darfur states is criminal activity on the international borders of Sudan, including smuggling of unregistered vehicles, and hostile tensions between farmers and herders. He also called on the people of Darfur to “reject violence and fighting’.
The representative of the Native Administration, Omda Abdallah Abunuba, affirmed that the Native Administration stands with the state governments in order to ensure security and stability, especially during the agricultural and grazing season.
Activist Yahya El Khumus reported to Radio Dabanga that an armed group using a four-wheel drive vehicle mounted with a Dushka machine gun and 15 motor cycles cut off the road between El Tina and Kutum localities in North Darfur. In the past week, they stole 10 cars. On Tuesday, they plundered a lorry.
“The group is looting, plundering and threatening the people in the northern parts of Kutum. They are also harassing and robbing the residents of the Kassab camp for the displaced,” according to El Khumus.
The residents call on the North Darfur authorities to take urgent action to stop these crimes.
During the regime of ousted President Al Bashir, in particular Kutum was prone to attacks by militiamen, often members of the infamous Border Guards militia, made up of members of herders’ tribes.
In accordance with the signing of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur in July 2011, the government constructed several ‘model villages’ for displaced people to move to, and vowed to support displaced people who decide to return to their home areas.
Residents described Kutum in September 2012 as a ghost town, after the police station of Kutum was torched by militiamen. Because of the rampant insecurity in the area, the army imposed a curfew in the town. People did not dare to leave their homes, and the presence of military vehicles became part of everyday life.
In October 2018, North Darfur state announced that this first phase includes the resettlement of 45,000 families – meaning at least 135,000 people. Early November the state government and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) launched the dismantling of the three camps Abu Shouk, El Salam and Zamzam camps. People would be granted “a 300 square metre piece of land with an ownership certificate” here, or voluntarily return to their home areas.
This year, on September 30, people from Kutum living in Khartoum staged a vigil in front of the Council of Ministers in protest against continued attacks by militant herders on villages and farms. They submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister and another to the Attorney General, calling on them to “urgently intervene and stop the violence in the area”.
In 2017, the UN reported that nearly one third of Darfur’s population, consisting of 9,241 million people, remain displaced.
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