Police in North Darfur say that they have arrested two suspects, after buildings and containers of equipment at the former African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) logistical base north of the capital El Fasher, were looted on Friday and Saturday. The suspects were reportedly held with part of the loot in their possession.
The police have warned the public against dealing in, or transporting the looted goods.
The Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned in the strongest terms the attacks and looting of the UNAMID site in El Fasher on Friday.
In a press statement, the ministry indicated that the government of Sudan emphasised the appreciation of the role that UNAMID has played in providing security and stability in Darfur over the past years.
UN Secretary General António Guterres has added his voice to that of the the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations for Sudan (SRSG) and head of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission In Sudan (UNITAMS), Volker Perthes, who voiced “extreme disappointment” over the looting of the UNAMID base. “The equipment stolen was for protection of civilians by Darfur authorities. Protection of civilians should be number one priority for both the state and armed groups involved in the looting,” Perthes said.
As previously reported by Radio Dabanga, the ongoing insecurity in Darfur, often partly exacerbated by the vacuum created by the UNAMID drawdown, has meant that the practicalities of the handover of UNAMID sites and facilities have not always gone as planned.
On June 5, two people were killed and eight others sustained injuries when a former UNAMID site in Shangil Tobaya, Dar El Salaam locality, south of El Fasher in North Darfur was looted.
The site was handed over to the Government of Sudan on May 25. It was the last of 14 deep field sites handed over to the Sudanese government. At the time, the North Darfur government and the Sudanese government’s joint task force strongly reconfirmed their commitment to ensure civilian use of the former site.
Since the mission ended its mandate at the end of last year, various former UNAMID sites handed over to local authorities to be used as schools or training centres, have been looted. In February, a site in North Darfur’s Saraf Omra that was earmarked for use as a vocational training centre was looted and ‘levelled’ just weeks after it was handed over to the Sudanese government.