'Govt. distributed 15,000 weapons in West Darfur capital': NUP
The Sudanese government is reponsible for the killing of fleeing villagers, protesters, and mourners in the West Darfur capital on Sunday and Monday, says Mohamed Abdallah El Doma, co-vice president of the National Umma Party (NUP). According to the head of the party's West Darfur Department, more people were killed in El Geneina than reported by the authorities.
In a press conference at the NUP headquarters in Omdurman this (Wednesday) morning, El Doma ridiculed various government officials who recently stated that the situation in Darfur has become secure and stable, in particularly in West Darfur.
He said that the government is responsible for the killing of innocent civilians in the region as they armed certain tribes and guaranteed their impunity. “It is a public secret in West Darfur that about 15,000 pieces of weapons have been distributed among particular tribesmen in El Geneina since the war erupted in 2003.”
The NUP leader also denounced the Darfur referendum scheduled to take place between 11-13 April, in which the Darfuris will be able to define the permanent administrative status of the region by opting for the current status of five states or for a return of Darfur as one large state or province.
“It is a public secret in West Darfur that about 15,000 pieces of weapons have been distributed among particular tribesmen in El Geneina since the war erupted in 2003.”
He called the referendum a waste of money, and said that he expects a very low turn-out, as “the Darfuris' priority is security and stability, not an administrative status that will not change anything”.
El Doma in particular scoffed the second vice-president, Hasabo Abdelrahman's deadline of 50 days he recently gave the Darfuri displaced and refugees to return to their places of origin, or agree to be resettled in new residential districts. The VP further announced Khartoum intention to end displacement in Darfur before 2017.
“I wonder to which areas of origin the displaced could return,” El Doma wondered. “The land they owned was stolen from them and given to new settlers from Chad, Niger, and other West African countries.”
Conflicting reports about death toll
Radio Dabanga reported on Sunday that a group of militiamen raided Mouli village, south of the state capital El Geneina, on Saturday and abducted three villagers as compensation for a militiaman whose body was found near the village.
When the militiamen returned early the next day and killed two people, the villagers took their belongings and fled to El Geneina. Three other villagers and three militiamen were shot dead in a clash on the Mouli-El Geneina road.
After the villagers' arrived at the capital, residents of El Geneina joined their protest march towards government buildings. A number of villagers sought refuge inside the buildings.
Government forces intervened and dispersed the crowd with tear gas and live bullets. One of the protesters was hit and died on the spot.
On Monday, when the people wanted to bury the dead at the El Geneina cemetery, three mourners were shot dead, among them a 13-year-old school boy.
“The West Darfur governor instead of offering protection to the villagers ordered their evacuation from the government buildings by force.”
The head of the Umma Party's West Darfur Department, Tajeldin Bahreldin said at the press conference today that the number of civilians killed is larger than the authorities reported.
“The West Darfur governor instead of offering protection to the villagers ordered their evacuation from the government buildings by force. This led to the death of four villagers and the wounding of several others in the building on Sunday”.
A group of protesters who proceeded to the governor's residence that day were dispersed by tear gas and live bullets. Three of them were fatally hit, others were injured, he added.
Bahreldin further reported that the people on Monday decided to bury the victims of Sunday in one grave at the cemetery. They took the corpses through the main road in El Geneina as this is the most secure way. “The security forces however did not wanted the victims to be buried in a mass grave, and fired at the mourners. Three were fatally hit.”
See below short footages of the government forces' intervention on 10 January
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