On Sunday, the fifth day of the Kutum market strike, the fruit and vegetable sellers, and the butchers joined their colleagues. The market is now entirely closed, in protest against the rampant insecurity in the North Darfuri town. The Kassab camp market, near Kutum, was closed on Saturday, out of fear of a robbery.
After the abduction of a merchant for ransom early last week, following a series of robberies, the market traders decided to embark on a strike last Thursday.
A young activist told Radio Dabanga that as a result of the strike, “life has stopped entirely in Kutum. The water engines providing water to the town broke down earlier, and the bakeries have shut their doors because of a lack of fuel and flour.”
A committee of 20 notables of Kutum has travelled to El Fasher, capital of North Darfur, to meet with the state government, and stress the urgent need for a radical solution to bring back security and stability to the area, he further reported.
On Saturday a large number of militiamen in cars and on motorcycles entered the market of Kassab camp for the displaced near Kutum. “It was not clear if they just came for shopping or wanted to plunder the market,” a camp resident told Radio Dabanga.
“The shopkeepers out of caution chose to close their stores. After the militiamen had left, they decided to join the strike, until the rule of law has been restored,” she said.
For more than three years, policemen, prosecutors, and other members of the judiciary are absent in Kutum locality. The army is supposed to keep order instead.