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Lawyers: ‘Govt fails to collect weapons in Darfur’

February 10 - 2021 KHARTOUM
A map from August 2004 showing damaged and destroyed villages in Darfur (US State Department)
A map from August 2004 showing damaged and destroyed villages in Darfur (US State Department)

According to the Darfur Bar Association (DBA), the current transitional government has failed to collect weapons in Darfur despite multiple attempts.

Saleh Mahmoud, head of the DBA, spoke at a press conference in Khartoum yesterday about the proliferation of weapons among armed groups, tribes and individuals in Darfur. He emphasized the threat these weapons pose for public security and safety, and stressed that they need to be collected and removed. The proliferation of weapons leads to “extrajudicial killings”, rapes and other crimes against humanity, Saleh Mahmoud said.

According to Mahmoud an estimated 15,000 villages in Darfur have been burned and destroyed. “There is not even an estimate of the number of plundered and destroyed properties in Darfur.” At least 0.5 million people in Darfur haven been direct victims of violence involving the use of weapons, he said. The number of those affected or displaced by the violence stands at 4 million, 2.7 million of them live in camps.

Protection for the people, enabling refugees and displaced persons to return to their villages of origin, and justice must be the main challenges for the transitional government now that reconciliation with armed rebel movements has been reached, Saleh Mahmoud said.

Mahmoud stressed that ousted president Omar Al Bashir and others must be transferred to The Hague to appear before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

He said that the government has not dealt with the recent violence in the Jebel Marra region and in  El Geneina, capital of West Darfur, and that “the criminals are still at large and need to be brought to trial”.

Nafisa Hajar, head of the director of human rights at DBA, added that 85% of the population in the camps in Darfur are children and women. She said that children are being forcibly recruited by armed groups.

On Monday, Mousa Adam Saeed (37) was killed and Abdelatif Haroun (42) was wounded when they were shot at four kilometres northwest of Nierteti, Central Darfur.

Adam Okaruo told Radio Dabanga that the victims had come to the area from the West Jebel Marra region to harvest honey. Four gunmen on horseback had opened fire on them. He added that the gunmen stole the victims' mobiles, money and belongings and then headed west.


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