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Darfur's Jebel Moon under siege as militants carry out 'systemic attacks'

March 11 - 2022 SELEIA / KEREINIK
Armed Abbala herding tribesmen in Kereinik, West Darfur (Didier Ruef)
Armed Abbala herding tribesmen in Kereinik, West Darfur (Didier Ruef)

At least 20 people were killed and dozens were wounded as a number of villages were burned in a renewed attack on villages near Seleia, the capital of Jebel Moon locality in West Darfur, yesterday. The former West Darfur governor explained that the events were part of a series of systemic attacks aimed at controlling resources.

People from the area said that armed men riding in four-wheel drive vehicles and motorcycles attacked the villages of Berdi, Ghobeish, Kishkish and other villages north-west of Seleiaat five o'clock on Thursday morning. Various villages were torched, including Berdi, Igra, and Kafana.

The violence that continued the entire day, left at least 20 people dead and dozens wounded. Many livestock were killed as well.

The source explained that this is the fourth attack of its kind within a week.

Systemic attacks

Mohamed Abdallah El Doma, the former wali (governor) of West Darfur, said that the conflicts in West Darfur in general and Jebel Moon in particular are not just ‘tribal conflicts’, as they are often described. Rather, they are “systematic attacks aimed at controlling lands, fertile pastures, and resources such as gold and minerals”.

'These are systematic attacks aimed at controlling lands, fertile pastures, and resources such as gold and minerals' - former state wali Mohamed El Doma

In an interview with Radio Dabanga yesterday, El Doma said that heavily armed gangs that gather from various well-known bases are responsible for the attacks.

He stressed that the government did not intervene to repel the attacks in the area of Seleia, which forced the local inhabitants to defend themselves.

El Doma criticised the government's negative role in the events, often refusing to intervene when attacks are carried out and said that it left the state without resources, such as vehicles or money, which renders the state unable to protect citizens.

He described the tribal reconciliations, which the government is not taking seriously, and explained that they do not address the roots of the crises.

‘Forcible siege’

Activists also confirmed that armed militias have indeed continued their attacks on Jebel Moon last week. They further confirmed that the Kereinik market was closed after a person was killed on Wednesday.

Activist Ahmed Khalil told Radio Dabanga on the Voice of the States programme that the renewed events were partly caused by the fact that the militants were not brought to justice after previous attacks.

Khalil described the situation in Jebel Moon as “a state of forcible siege imposed on the population by militias, with the complete absence of the authorities”.

'Jebel Moon is in a state of forcible siege imposed on the population by militias, with the complete absence of the authorities' - activist Ahmed Khalil

He also referred to the killing of a person in the Kereinik area on Wednesday, which led to the closure of the area’s market and the road to West Darfur’s capital El Geneina.


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