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Mourners protest RSF killing man in North Kordofan

December 7 - 2018 EL OBEID
A RSF fighter participates in the display of weapons and vehicles allegedly captured from rebels in South Darfur (Ashraf Shazly-AFP)
A RSF fighter participates in the display of weapons and vehicles allegedly captured from rebels in South Darfur (Ashraf Shazly-AFP)

The funeral of a man shot dead by Rapid Support Forces members in North Kordofan turned into a protest by mourners on Thursday. The state police chief and the area's RSF commander promised an investigation into the killing.

Members of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) shot cattle merchant Adam Ibrahim in their attempt to rob him in block 9 of Sheikan district in El Obeid city on Wednesday night. The merchant was killed on the spot.

Ibrahim's funeral the next day turned into a protest by mourners. They chanted slogans against the atrocities committed by the RSF.

A relative of the deceased, who belongs to the Misseriya tribe, explained that Ibrahim had came from Lagawa to sell his cattle in El Obeid market. He demanded that the perpetrators be arrested and brought to trial.

People made demands for the RSF to be removed from the area, making threats in the events that the paramilitary forces were not relocated from El Obeid and the surrounding areas.

The North Kordofan state police chief addressed the protesting mourners on Thursday, describing the incident as “unfortunate”. He announced that the police had arrested three suspects and promised to arrest the other three suspects.

He also announced the formation of a joint security committee to deter the security chaos and resolve the issue of motorcycles that go without number plates. These are regularly used by militiamen or outlaws in criminal acts such as robberies.

In his comments, the area's RSF commander said they are against insecurity in the state. He promised that the perpetrators would be brought to an urgent trial.

The incident was the fourth at El Zariba preceded by three incidents in which members of the RSF were involved. In total, a large sum of money has been stolen from traders who rejected the presence of the paramilitary force in the area, under the pretext of the RSF having become a source of threat and intimidation for the residents and traders.

Tensions

A televised interview with the main RSF commander Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan (also known as Hemeti) in October was quickly banned after Hamdan said that the Governor of North Kordofan should be in jail for “bringing us into disrepute”. The TV programme itself has been suspended.

Tensions between the RSF and North Kordofan population started years ago, when the residents of El Obeid took part in a mass demonstration, demanding the expulsion of the RSF which had allegedly carried out acts of murder, rape, and theft against the residents of the state.

At the time, Governor Ahmed Haroun issued a statement in which he apologised to the residents and issued a decision to expel them from the state, which the majority of them were in February 2014. They were re-stationed in Darfur, reportedly to fight rebel groups.

Ever since the paramilitary forces have been accountable for widespread systematic crimes against civilians, constituting ‘egregious crimes’ against humanity and war crimes, Human Rights Watch (HRW) published in the report 'Men with no Mercy'.


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