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Darfur Youth Initiative: Dozens of villages burned in new Jebel Marra campaign

May 16 - 2018 JEBEL MARRA
Displaced children shelter in the mountains from a seasonal military offensive in Jebel Marra in 2016 (RD)
Displaced children shelter in the mountains from a seasonal military offensive in Jebel Marra in 2016 (RD)

In a memorandum to the National Commission for Human Rights and Unamid this week, the Youth Initiative Against Displacement and Resettlement in Darfur has condemned the latest government campaign which as seen thousands of people displaced in Darfur’s Jebel Marra this month.

As reported by Radio Dabanga yesterday, thousands of civilians have reportedly been newly displaced from villages in southern Jebel Marra as fighting broke out between government forces, allied militias and armed rebels in the area of Kass on Friday.

Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that the fighting in the southern part of the Jebel Marra mountains has pushed “thousands of civilians to flee to Kara, Kabu, Kor, Saboun El Fagur, Girlanjabang, Waglem, Karoo, Werangla and Daruna”.

Memorandum

In a memorandum to the National Commission for Human Rights and Unamid this week, the Youth Initiative Against Displacement and Resettlement in Darfur said that government-backed militias have launched a new campaign of targeting civilians in eastern and southern Jebel Marra this month, burning 10 villages in north of Rokoro. The 10,000 to 15,000 inhabitants took refuge in the mountains and valleys, are now homeless and lacking the necessary means of life.

OCHA

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) at least 2,280 newly displaced households (about 11,500 people) arrived in Rokoro town and nearby Jemeiza village after 18 April.

The Youth Initiative memo also highlights that government forces carried out a campaign against 23 villages of southern Jebel Marra in Kass locality on May 11. According to the memo, the campaign led to the flight of 30,000 to 35,000 people from the villages to the mountains or the open.

The memorandum expressed condemnation and total rejection of the behaviour of the Sudanese government, the continuation of the policy of scorched earth, the targeting of civilians in eastern and southern Jebel Marra and in Darfur in general, the displacement of unarmed civilians from their villages and looting their money and targeting them individually and collectively and the rape of women and girls.

Large-scale demographic change

The memorandum pointed to the government's implementation of a large-scale demographic change in Central and West Darfur through the displacement of the indigenous population and bringing of other groups to their lands. The memorandum identified the names of the settlements and the demographic changes pointing to 39 settlement areas in Kereinik, 17 in El Geneina and 13 in Habila.

It said that the actual plan of displacement and resettlement began since the outbreak of the war on the civilian population in Darfur and stressed that the process of demographic change continues as the war continues on the population in Darfur using the policy of scorched earth.

The memorandum confirmed that government authorities had already begun to bring families from neighbouring countries and settle them in the lands and villages of the displaced people, in the first three months of this year, because of the ongoing attacks by the government and its militias.

It said that that the local authorities in West Darfur granted these groups housing plans under the supervision of the governor of West Darfur and some of the state government's collaborators.

It added that the authorities have given the settlers in the lands of the displaced the right to exploit the land and agricultural land and attack of the owners of the land in the event of objection

The youth’s initiative called on the National Human Rights Commission to immediately intervene to stop the displacement of unarmed civilians in Darfur and to strive urgently for the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the displaced.

The memorandum called on Unamid to submit an urgent request to the UN Security Council in accordance with your terms of reference in accordance with the resolution mandate of the establishment of the mission to discuss the matter at the meetings of the Security Council.

It stressed that these acts constitute a blatant violation of the inherent human rights of the dignified life and personal safety, especially the international conventions signed and ratified by the Republic of Sudan.

Youth initiative

In Khartoum, Darfuri students at universities at El Nilein University launched a youth initiative to combat displacement and resettlement in Darfur by addressing students at university buildings.

The students condemned the recent brutal attacks carried out by the government militias on the villages of east and south Jebel Marra, calling them criminal and demanding that they be stopped immediately.

One of the student leaders of the initiative appealed via Radio Dabanga to humanitarian organisations to move immediately to provide relief assistance to those fleeing from the burned villages and provide them with security.

He condemned the government's programme of forcible return of displaced people and the dismantling of camps as a new genocide in Darfur.

He said the government wants to return the displaced people to their villages without meeting the requirements of voluntary repatriation, which is to provide security, disarm militias, bring the perpetrators to justice, as well as providing basic services in return villages and compensate the displaced people.

Military offensive

In the past years, government forces have made various attempts to eliminate SLM-AW bases in the Jebel Marra region during the dry seasons (roughly between January and May). In 2016, more than 80,000 people were displaced by a major military offensive against the holdout rebels in the area.

This year in March, government forces, consisting mainly of Rapid Support Forces, attacked rebel sites in East Jebel Marra. In April, areas in north-western Jebel Marra were targeted. At least 13 villages burned to the ground. Tens of thousands of people fled their homes.


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