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Militiamen's road block causes water shortage in Sortony, North Darfur

May 23 - 2016 KABKABIYA
Tens of thousands of people from Jebel Marra have sought refuge near the UN-AU Mission in Darfur's (Unamid) team site in Kabkabiya locality. Humanitarian agencies and Unamid provide relief aid and drinking water to the displaced (Unamid)
Tens of thousands of people from Jebel Marra have sought refuge near the UN-AU Mission in Darfur's (Unamid) team site in Kabkabiya locality. Humanitarian agencies and Unamid provide relief aid and drinking water to the displaced (Unamid)

A lack of water threatens the displaced people sheltering in Sortony, next to a Unamid base, where militia members have blocked the roads for people and transport for nearly three weeks.

The Kabkabiya-Sortony road blockade entered its 17th day on Sunday, a camp coordinator in Kabkabiya locality told Radio Dabanga. Militiamen deny the displaced exit from Sortony to gather firewood, and there is a sharp decrease in the number of consumer goods at the site, the coordinator reported.

Tankers of Unamid and aid organisations that carry drinking water on a daily basis have also been denied access to Sortony. The coordinator said that aid organisations Oxfam and Unicef have drilled three wells in Sortony in the meantime, which have helped to resolve the drinking water crisis.

Unamid has estimated that some 22,000 displaced people are at the site; community leaders put the figure at 37,000. The International Organization for Migration estimated that 68,000 displaced people were sheltering in Sortony mid-February, but has not been able to conduct a new verification process of the population figure.

Tensions between the newly displaced community, who have fled the fighting in Jebel Marra in the past four months, and armed locals in the area of Sortony have been escalating starting 2 May. On 9 May armed locals attacked people in Sortony, which have claimed the lives of six displaced people. The attackers established an intermittent blockade on the road from Kabkabiya, an essential route for the provision of water and humanitarian aid.

Unamid peacekeepers engaged with the attackers, reportedly armed tribesmen from the area, and exchanged gunfire, forcing them to flee. An Ethiopian peacekeeper sustained an injury during the confrontation. They managed to apprehend two of the attackers.

Two kidnapped

Two displaced, Abdeen Gellabi and Dowel Bait Mohamad, are still kidnapped by militia members. The camp coordinator explained they have been in the hands of militiamen for 17 days on Sunday. They were kidnapped from Sortony two weeks ago. The coordinator appealed to the authorities to intervene for their release.

Opposition demands

The protection of displaced people in camps should be strengthened, in order to counter attacks by gunmen and militias, a coalition of opposition parties in South Darfur said.

The National Consensus Forces (NCF) in the state appealed for this case in a statement on Sunday. The National Umma Party, the Communist Party, the Ba'ath Socialist Party and the Sudanese Congress Party signed the statement, demanding an immediate stop of the aerial bombardments of civilians in Jebel Marra, Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile.

The statement also strongly condemned the violence used against the recent peaceful protests of university students in Sudan, and announced the parties' solidarity with the demands of the students.


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