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Girl raped as attacks on Darfur villages persist

August 26 - 2021 TAWILA
A Darfur village burns (File photo: RD)
A Darfur village burns (File photo: RD)

Gunmen in military uniforms raped a girl an attack on the Kushni area of Tawila locality in North Darfur on Tuesday evening. Other villages in Tawila were also surrounded by gunmen.

Inhabitants of the area told Radio Dabanga that dozens of armed men on camels and motorcycles wearing military uniforms and a kadamool (scarf covering the face) attacked the village of Kushni, beat the residents, raped the girl, and stole livestock and animals.

Witnesses explained that the residents filed a report of the incident with the armed forces in Tanker, while the girl was transferred to Tabit to receive initial medical treatment.

People also reported that dozens of armed men on camels surrounded the villages of Kanjara North and Kanjara West in Tawila locality on Wednesday afternoon.

They explained that the residents of the two villages sought the help of the army in Khazan Tunjur by phone but to no avail.

Locals complained about the continuation of attacks and looting incidents in the localities of Tawila and Dar El Salam and, whilst any response or movement of regular forces remained absent.

They also pointed to the destruction of large areas of agricultural land between Kanjara and Shangil Tobaya.

Local residents further explained that the gunmen opened three toll gates in Gallab and Kouli and a fourth gate in Tengarara. The gunmen extort sums of money from the vehicles passing through the gates, SDG 1,000 for each vehicle, and engaged in the theft of livestock, animals, and property according to the witnesses.

North Darfur has been subject to ongoing violence recently, including incidents of gender-based violence (GBV), as attacks on villages in the area continue. Government forces have reportedly been withdrawn. Dozens of people in the state capital El Fasher staged a protest against the violence. On July 30, groups of militant Arab tribesmen raided a number of villages in the area south of El Fasher. In the following days, more villages were attacked. At least seven people died.

According to the North Darfur authorities the violence was triggered by disputes between Arab tribesmen and local farmers over the use of agricultural land. During the current agricultural season, displaced people from the Zamzam camp south of El Fasher, temporarily returned to the area to tend their farms. Most of the areas attacked are now occupied by the militants. Reportedly, government forces have unable to evacuate them from the villages.

The areas of Kolgi and Gallab have been declared “emergency areas”. Gatherings and movement are only allowed after permission has been granted.

Joint forces were sent to the area of Tabit to contain the situation. A government force consisting of former rebel combatants was ambushed when it was on its way to Kolgi. Seven of them were killed, 17 others were injured.

In response, a high-level fact-finding committee left Khartoum heading to El Fasher the next morning. The members discussed the situation with the North Darfur governor and the state security committee, and visited the wounded soldiers and the affected areas. A separate committee, headed by a public prosecutor, will investigate the violent incidents.

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