Some 20 militants released 60 inmates from a police station in South Darfur, several of whom face charges such as murder, armed looting and crimes against the federal state of Sudan.
Eyewitnesses from Buram city said the attack happened at 3:00am when insurgents on camels and horses “discreetly” entered the police station after gathering at the town’s market. Once inside, they kept on firing gunshots for about 25 minutes, panicking many people in the neighborhood.
Legal sources told Radio Dabanga most of these prisoners would receive the final verdict of their sentences on the day they were freed, adding these included “harsh” rulings such as death or life imprisonment.
They explained that in line with the sharia law, criminal sentences become very predictable if victims’ families refuse to receive blood money for their murdered relatives. Judges, in these cases, mostly only hand out sentences of death or life terms.
The secretary general of the National Umma Party (NUP) in South Darfur, Ammar Jibril Hamid Ambodi, told Radio Dabanga he woke up to the sounds of gunfire at the police station and found all cells empty and one of the attackers dead when he arrived.
Ambodi said that what happened is “very serious” but not the first time Buram witnessed something of the kind. He blamed the state and local authorities, besides the locality’s police chief, for the release of the prisoners.
“Authorities must be strong, capable and carefully understand their role towards citizens”, he said, “because security is a responsibility of the government and not of civilians”.
The secretary general noted that inmates facing light criminal charges returned to the prison after the attack.
He called upon the state government and local authorities to ensure citizens are safe in their “homes, farms and businesses”.
Last December, a group of armed men raided the headquarters of the Nyala special court for crimes in Darfur and took three defendants after shooting at the court’s police and severely beating the judge.
The defendants were on trial for looting 450,000 US dollars and 45 million Sudanese pounds belonging to UNAMID, approximately three months before.
Radio Dabanga file photo
Related: Gunmen enter Nyala court, beat judge and release defendants (10 December 2013)