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Militiamen kill two farmers in Sudan’s Nuba Mountains

October 6 - 2019 GARADA
Farming in the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan (
Farming in the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan (

On September 18, a Nuba farmer was shot dead by members of the Popular Defence Forces militia, when he protested against cattle grazing on his land near Garada in South Kordofan’s El Abbasiya locality. Not much later, an onlooking woman was killed as well.  

No punitive action has been taken by the authorities, the Sudanese Human Rights and Development Organisation (HUDO) reported in an Urgent Action statement on Thursday.

On the morning of September 18, Abdallah Ismail (34) arrived at his farm near Garada village, about 40 km north-east of El Abbasiya town, and found cattle grazing on his land. The animals were guarded by three armed cattle keepers, wearing uniforms of the Popular Defence Forces (PDF).

When Ismail asked them to take their cattle from his farm, they shot him dead, and fled with their livestock.

When the villagers heard shooting, they ran to the crime scene, and found Ismail dead on his farm. After a case was filed at the village police post, policemen accompanied by villagers followed them to Ismail’s farm. The traces of the cows led them to a nomad settlement, where about ten armed men in PDF uniform immediately started to shoot at them.

Mahaseen Idris (30), farmer and housewife, was hit and died soon after. The policemen and the villagers ran away, and no further action was taken by security forces in the area.

The people living in Garada village “are stressed because there is no guarantee of safety for their lives and farms [..] and they see the perpetrators moving freely”, HUDO states.

The organisation expresses its grave concern “about the acts of government militias in conflict states” and calls upon the Sudanese authorities “to immediately take action against the perpetrators and bring them before the courts of law; secure the Rule of Law and rights of civilians in conflict areas; dissolve and disarm the PDF and other militias, and to respect their international obligations towards their citizens”.


The paramilitary PDF was established after Omar Al Bashir took power in a military coup on June 30, 1989. It is defined by the 1989 Popular Defence Forces Act as a semi-military force, to be formed from Sudanese citizens.

HUDO states that members of the PDF mainly consist of men belonging to Arab nomad tribes. The paramilitaries are in particular active in the eastern part of the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan.  

During cultivation seasons, conflicts frequently occur between farmers and pastoralists grazing their livestock on the farms. According to the human rights organisation, the police does not face the intruders, and security and political organs usually keep silent.


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