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East Darfur returnees fear attacks as military forces withdraw

August 1 - 2016 EAST DARFUR
Farmlands in Tawila, North Darfur (Albert González Farran/Unamid)
Farmlands in Tawila, North Darfur (Albert González Farran/Unamid)

Formerly displaced people who have returned to their villages in East Darfur have expressed concern about the government’s withdrawal of the garrisons in their areas.

The withdrawal of military forces from Muhajiriya, Labado, Khazan Jadeed, Selea, Sani Efendo, Kileikil Mojo, and Kileikil Abu Salama sparked panic among the returnees, a native administration leader informed Radio Dabanga on Sunday.

He explained that most of the people returned to tend their farms during the current agricultural season. The presence of the military forces in these areas of return offered protection against attacks by militiamen and armed herders.

“The state government has withdrawn the garrisons from several areas without prior notice. They left the responsibility to protect the lives and property of the people to the police stations which, as we all know, are too short of equipment to confront any incident.”

The native administration leader demanded from the East Darfur government “to reconsider its decision, and let the military forces continue to protect the displaced people who returned to their villages as well as the agricultural season”.

The Governor of East Darfur, Anas Omer, has pledged to monitor the pastoralists' tracks in order to reduce the friction that may occur between them and farmers during the agricultural season.

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