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Herders expel returning farmers in Tawila, North Darfur

October 23 - 2015 TAWILA
(file photo)
(file photo)

Attacks by groups of armed herdsmen on farms in Tawila locality that lasted from Monday to Thursday have resulted in multiple injuries to the farmers. Farmers have fled to camps for displaced people in the locality. A report from the IOM has confirmed that many returnees in Darfur return home for the purpose of farming.

A large group of armed herdsmen beat and whipped many farmers in North Darfur's Tawila, camp leader Omda Mukhtar Bosh told Radio Dabanga. One victim was seriously wounded. He demanded the authorities to protect the farmers and move against the perpetrators.

A woman farmer from Karol area, 25 kilometres south of Tawila, reported that approximately 70 herdsmen, carrying weapons and wearing military uniforms, entered their camels onto the farmlands on Thursday morning. They gathered 17 displaced women who had returned from Tawila, Shangil Tobaya, and Zamzam camps for the purpose of tending the farms. The herdsmen beat them with whips, the farmer said.

Speaking to Radio Dabanga, one of the victims said that the herdsmen told them that the lands they returned to no longer belong to them. “They ordered us to go back to the camps where we came from. They told us that they are enforcing the emergency acts that North Darfur State has issued.”

96.9 percent of displaced people in Darfur worked in agriculture before they were displaced

Another farmer told this station that herdsmen also entered their camels onto the farms of Tarnei, Taradona, Gardous, and Khartoum Jadid villages. Their attack followed the same pattern of beating and whipping the farmers and threatening them to go back to the camps and never to return to the area again.

She said that the farmers informed the military forces of Khazan Tunjur about the incidents but that they did not move.

Displacement of farmers

The large majority (96.9 percent) of displaced people in Darfur worked in agriculture before they were displaced, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). The majority of people that returned to their places of origin returned to cultivating their land, the organisation concluded from monitoring the displaced population from January to June 2015.

Land ownership and use is an important consideration for returnees. But the overall displacement of agriculture workers represents a substantial loss in earnings for them, as well as an overall reduction in locally grown produce, the IOM reported.

75 percent of the displaced in Sudan, who are mostly women, live in North Darfur, and particularly in El Fasher, Tawila, and Um Baru localities.

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