Yesterday, a joint delegation of the Transitional Sovereignty Council and the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) arrived in El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur, to start the reconciliation process after the recent violent events and address the protesters. The University of El Geneina launched the ‘Innovators for Peace Initiative’ to call for peaceful coexistence in West Darfur.
The delegation was headed by Mohamed El Faki Suleiman, member of the Transitional Sovereignty Council,who confirmed that the delegation was granted authority to deal with the situation in El Geneina by the Security and Defence Council.
El Geneina is still recovering from last month’s violence, which left at least 163 people dead and 130,000 displaced. The violence was triggered by the killing of an Arab herdsman by a member of the Masalit. The relatives of the victim sought revenge and large groups of Arab tribesmen attacked El Geneina and the two Kerending camps, causing widespread destruction.
Following the events, the Arab tribes in El Geneina staged a sit-in, which has now entered its second week. They demand the dismissal of the wali (governor) of West Darfur, Mohamed El Doma, the removal of the camps for displaced people from the city, and the restructuring of the state police force.
The governor and many local government employees and policemen belong to the Masalit, a non-Arab sedentary tribe based in West-Darfur.
El Faki Suleiman praised the peacefulness of the sit-in protesters and said that the delegation would meet them today to discuss their demands. However, he also said that recent road closures have caused the prices of goods to rise across the city.
Abdelrahim Hamdan Dagalo, Deputy Commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and brother of Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemeti’ Dagalo, was also part of the delegation. He called on the protesters in El Geneina to allow roads to be reopened immediately and stressed that the protesters must take into account humanitarian issues and the rising prices of goods.
In his address to the protesters, Abdelrahim Dagalo promised to address the demands related to the impartiality of the wali (governor) of West Darfur, Mohamed El Doma, and pledged to transfer the displaced people to a place that satisfies everyone. He also promised to hold accountable those involved in the events, including employees from the regular armed forces.
Protesters boycotted Adbelrahim Dagalo’s speech and have refused to open the roads until their demands are met.
In a press statement after a meeting with the delegation, governor El Doma said that the delegation needs to persuade the protestors to open the bridges and roads into the city.
More than 130,000 displaced people who fled the violence El Geneina now live in harsh conditions in over 60 shelters.
The Civil Society Initiative in West Darfur said that 627 recently displaced children across the 75 shelters in El Geneina suffer from malnutrition. They have also warned that diseases may spread from contaminated drinking water and poor sanitation in these shelters.
In a field report, the Civil Society Initiative stated that there are around 4,200 pregnant women and 14,800 families among the displaced. They also warned that there are around 22,000 children who require ‘essential needs’ and another 566 new-born children who need immediate care.
The report further stated that the displaced people need at least 50,000 sacks of Sorghum, which will last for 20 days, and 60 health clinics with medical staff. The initiative further warned that the events in El Geneina led to the closure of seven schools and thus to the loss of educational opportunities for 6,500 students.
The University of El Geneina called for peaceful coexistence in West Darfur. The dean of the university also launched the ‘Innovators for Peace Initiative’. In a statement, the university administration said that the initiative aims to foster collective awareness about the importance of cultural and social diversity in peacebuilding.
The university also stressed the importance of adopting scientific methodologies and working with specialised bodies and centres to research the roots of the crisis. These can include peacebuilding partners, researchers, unions, and community activists.
The initiative already launched a number of meetings and consultations with various parties affected by the current crisis.