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More villages torched in Darfur's Jebel Marra

April 22 - 2016 WESTERN JEBEL MARRA / TAWILA
People who fled government attacks and air raids take shelter in caves in western Jebel Marra in February 2016 (RD)
People who fled government attacks and air raids take shelter in caves in western Jebel Marra in February 2016 (RD)

Localities where displaced people from Darfur's Jebel Marra have fled to in the past months, make efforts to return the displaced voluntarily. Pro-government militias recently burned over 50 villages in western Jebel Marra in April, according to locals.

The villages are located north, east, and southeast of Golo in western Jebel Marra, and damanged by soldiers and militiamen starting 9 April. Activists and civilians informed Radio Dabanga with great difficulty about the situation because of the current security risks in the mountainous area.

They estimated the number of people who were displaced from these areas at 150,000. The international organisations' estimation of the total number of displaced by the fighting since 15 January ran up to 138,000 at least.

“The residents of the destroyed villages are now homeless and living in the cold,” an activist told Radio Dabanga on Thursday. “Their health is very bad, with no health centre they can go to.”

The activist said that the extreme cold causes the most diseases among the displaced, such as acute problems with the chest. Remnants of bombs and ammunition are scattered across the area.

“Children suffer the most because of the malnutrition. The mortality rate is rising,” the source claimed. The food situation in and around Sarrong is “very serious”.

Besieged

From the beginning of April until the 11th, the holdout Sudan Liberation Movement-AW and Sudan's military forces and allied militias clashed in Sarrong and Wadi Tori, both in western Jebel Marra, on the outskirts of Central Darfur. The government forces then took control of the rebels' base in Sarrong.

The activist added that Jebel Marra has remained “under complete siege since the start of the military operations. No vehicle has entered the area since.” He urged the UN Security Council to act to protect the civilians.

Voluntary returning

Commissioners held a meeting on Thursday to discuss how to address the issues of the newly dispalced people from Jebel Marra, who have fled to Tawila locality in the past three months. Tawila's Commissioner, Adam Yagoub, and Commissioner Saifudin Ahmed of northern Jebel Marra in Central Darfur attended.

Yagoub said that agencies in Tawila are ready to cooperate with national and local organisations in northern Jebel Marra, in order to provide basic necessities for the displaced and engage them in agricultural and pastoral work. They should be enabled to return to their villages, he said.

Saifudin Ahmed from Central Darfur explained that his locality works to provide health and educational services, also in an attempt to enable the people to return home, before the rainy season makes its entrance.

A delegation of government representatives and the Sudanese aid commission HAC arrived at Sortony camp in Kabkabiya this week, asking the displaced to return. People commented to Radio Dabanga that they would only return on condition that their villages were secured, the militias disarmed, and any new settlers expelled.


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