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Detention of East Darfur tribal elders condemned

August 2 - 2017 EAST DARFUR
Rizeigat tribesmen in Darfur (Albert González Farran/Unamid)
Rizeigat tribesmen in Darfur (Albert González Farran/Unamid)

The government's campaign of arrests of more than 100 people, including Omdas and leaders of the Rizeigat and Maaliya native administration and their transfer to prisons has triggered widespread reactions in East Darfur.

Omda Mohamed Eisa Aliyo expressed his condemnation of the arrest of the men of native administration of the two tribes in East Darfur and their placement in Port Sudan Prison. "Arrest without a crime is contrary to human rights charters and pointed out that they would have been acceptable had the native administrations been proven involved in carrying arms, incitement or holding of secret meetings.”

Aliyo described the decision of the collective arrest of native administrations as the first of its kind in the history of the Sudan. “The native administration is considered an important lever and a catalyst for imposing the prestige of the state.”

He warned of growing tension between the two tribes because of the decision, because of “the random and unprecedented arrests, which will lead to direct friction between the army and the police with the citizens which in turn will result in further complication of the crisis.”

The omda attributed the growing inter-tribal fighting to the government's recruitment and arming of tribes, for which he has been warning since 2003.

He called on the federal government to withdraw from the decision to arrest the omdas and appealed to the President of the Republic to call all men of native administration of the two tribes to identify the reasons for non-implementation of the decisions of the 2015 Merowe Conference.

El Azrag Hassan Hemeida, the head of the Youth Organisation for the sons of Adila, Abu Karinka and Keleikil Abu Salama, welcomed the arrest of the omdas. He expressed his hope that the move would identify the perpetrators in all the incidents that took place between the two tribes and bring them to justice.

In an interview with Radio Dabanga, Hemeida confirmed the transfer of Maaliya to the prison of Osman Digna in Suwakin port.

He pointed out that they prefer the legal route to security and political solutions, and expressed concern that the recent measures would be a transitional tactic that would not end the conflict between the two tribes.

Therefore he called on the government to be neutral and to stand at one distance between the two tribes in order to implement the law.

He said the decision to arrest the omdas was a strong signal to those who attacked Maaliya. “The Maaliya have earlier handed memos and staged protest vigils to demand the arrest of the perpetrators.”

He called on the members of Maaliya to rest assured and not to worry about the arrest of the omdas. He pointed to the safety of their position and that they have been attacked inside their land.

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