Looters clear Unamid HQ in South Darfur capital
Looters – allegedly residents and displaced people – have reportedly cleared out the offices of the UN-AU Mission in Darfur (Unamid) in Nyala, capital of South Darfur, of anything of value on Thursday and Friday. The Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) however call the incident “a cover-up of organised and systematic theft’.
Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that they saw vehicles and rickshaws loaded with furniture, electrical equipment, and wood panels, driving from the Unamid headquarters to the various districts of Nyala as well as to Dereig and Otash camps for the displaced. The looting reportedly continued for two days and the authorities did not intercept or question them, they added.
However, during an interview with Radio Dabanga, Mahmoud Ismail, a leader of the FFC and a member of the communication committee in South Darfur, asserts that what happened was “a cover-up of organised and systematic theft”.
The UN-AU Mission in South Darfur was handed over to the South Darfur authorities on 19 November. Both the FFC and the South Darfur government agreed to give the Mission’s property to the University of Nyala and the police administration in South Darfur. They actually formed a committee for that but it never happened, he added.
Ismail explicitly accused the acting governor and the South Darfur government of systematically organised the theft. “We wrote to the governor regarding the delay of handing over the property to the university and the police, and he responded that the transfer has already happened. Then we contacted the university and they told us that they have got nothing,” he said.
The FFC leader clarified that since late November, they received information that there was systematic looting of Unamid properties. The government withdrew the army from the mission’s headquarters and replaced it by the police. “The same police were there when the people got in and took whatever remained there, in fact, we were told the police opened the door for them,” he added.
“For example, over past weeks the markets of Nyala witnessed the Unamid equipment and devices offered for sale. How did these properties get to the market while the government was responsible for the safety and security of everything in the headquarters?”
He further confirmed that a lot of valuable property went missing such as electricity pipes, huge containers, and a large number of vehicles belonging to Unamid. They left only insignificant things such as beds, windows, and other small items that were taken by people.
“On Friday when a lot of people were carrying things from the headquarters, a contingent of Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia interfered and prevented them from plundering any further,” he added.
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