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Protests against insecurity growing in Darfur

July 2 - 2020 NIERTETI / KABKABIYA / KHARTOUM
The sit-in in Nierteti, Central Darfur, June 30 (RD)
The sit-in in Nierteti, Central Darfur, June 30 (RD)

On Wednesday, hundreds of villagers arrived at the sit-in in Nierteti in Central Darfur, in protest against the rampant insecurity in the area. Activists in El Geneina, capital of West Darfur, are holding a sit-in to protect their newly acquired offices. People in North Darfur’s Kabkabiya call for an extension of Unamid. The Darfur Bar Association will provide legal aid to victims of recent attacks in the region.

Adam Okar told Radio Dabanga from the sit-in at the town’s square that people arrived from the nearby Turr, Gurni, Waranga, and Denga villages in support of the sit-in.

The villagers joined the thousands of protesters who spent their fourth night in the sit-in under trees or under the roofing of shops and cafeterias. Most of them sleep on the ground, others on prayer mats. Some people brought mattresses.

Many people are supporting the sit-in, Okar reported. The town’s districts alternately provide food to the protesters.

The vigil started on Sunday, after unknown gunmen shot a displaced woman and an army soldier dead near Khor Ramla camp for the displaced west of Nierteti. Thousands of people in Nierteti and the adjacent camps for the displaced took to the streets in protest against the continuing attacks by armed men against people in the area. At the end of the demonstrations, they staged a sit-in in front of the Nierteti locality offices in the town.

The protesters also keep the Nyala-Zalingei road and the Nierteti-Kabkabiya road closed. They demand an end to the security problems in the locality, the dismissal of its security committee and its director, the removal of the officials responsible for the government forces deployed in Nierteti, disarmament of the militiamen in the area and bringing them to justice, and protection of farmers in the area, to prevent the failure of the agricultural season.

The people at the sit-in regret that the Central Darfur state government has not reacted so far. They now demand a federal delegation from the Council of Ministers to visit Nierteti, and find “a radical solution” for the problems. “If this does not happen, the sit-in will not be lifted.”

Last week, two young activists were seriously injured when paramilitaries of the Central Reserve Police (Abu Tira) in Turr violently dispersed a group of young people protesting against frequent attacks of militiamen in the area.

The Sudanese Professionals Association and the Darfur Bar Association support the Nierteti protest.

Empty offices

On Tuesday morning, members of the Resistance Committees active in the neighbourhoods of El Geneina, capital of West Darfur, took over the empty offices of the National Congress Party that was dissolved in November last year.

The activists staged a sit-in in front of the offices in order to protect the building. Later that day, “regular forces” attempted to restore the offices to the state government.

The spokesman for the Resistance Committees said in a speech at the sit-in on Wednesday that the people at the sit-in were verbally and physically harassed during the raid. A number of them were injured.

The Forces for Freedom and Change in West Darfur expressed its support to the Resistance Committees in El Geneina, and warned the state government not to remove them by force. They hold the authorities “fully responsible for any attacks on the protesters”.

Mandate

According to the Darfur Displaced and Refugees General Coordination in North Darfur’s Kabkabiya, the presence of the joint UN-AU Mission in Darfur (Unamid) must be extended until a comprehensive peace has been reached, a state of equal citizenship has been declared, and remnants of the deposed regime headed by Omar Al Bashir are all removed from state institutions.  

All police officers in Kabkabiya, affiliated with the former regime should be replaced, the Coordination demanded in a statement on Tuesday.

The displaced want “the course of the revolution” corrected, those accused of war crimes and genocide and crimes be extradited to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, the former regime's militias disarmed, the new settlers expelled from their lands, and disputes between farmers and herders settled, and the Rule of Law restored.

The statement further called for individual and collective compensation for the Darfur displaced and refugees, protection from grazing on farms during the agricultural season, and the return of international humanitarian organisations, while “suspicious national organisations affiliated to the former regime” must be halted.

On June 3, the UN Security Council extended the mandate of Unamid until the end of this year. The Council as well responded to PM Abdallah Hamdok’s request for a new UN force, by agreeing to establish a UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (Unitams).

Sudanese civil society activists have warned that the new mission will not be mandated to actively protect the people in Darfur.

Legal aid

In a press statement on Wednesday, the Darfur Bar Association said it will begin investigating recent violent incidents in Darfur.

It will raise a case against the South Darfur Security Committee when it does not respond to its request submitted regarding those detained after tribal clashes in Tullus in May. They should immediately be released.

In addition, the Darfur lawyers will provide legal aid “to all those affected by human rights violations committed by government forces in Darfur, and systematic crimes committed by individuals and groups”.


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