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New settlers evict West Darfuri farmers from their lands in Sirba

July 8 - 2015 SIRBA
A Darfuri tending his farmland (file photo)
A Darfuri tending his farmland (file photo)

A farmer was wounded in an attack by new settlers in Sirba locality, West Darfur, on Tuesday morning.

“The newcomers attempted to prevent us from cultivating our lands,” one of the affected farmers told Radio Dabanga from the area of Goz Bagar.

“When we refused to leave, they attacked us with their sticks, seriously injuring Ishag Yahya,” he said. “As they were in the majority, they managed to evict us.”

The farmer urged the newly appointed governor of West Darfur, Khalil Abdallah, to “speed up deterring the repeated assaults by new settlers”.

In recent years, Darfuris have been complaining about African and Sudanese Arab settlers occupying abandoned villages in the war-torn region. Yet, since June this year, Radio Dabanga is receiving reports about thousands of settlers occupying plots in deserted areas in East Jebel Marra. Local pastoralists identified them as members of Arab militias and migrants from Chad, Niger, and Mali.

Several sources told Radio Dabanga that they spotted paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), commanded by the Sudanese security apparatus, roaming around to protect the newcomers. Militant settlers also torched a number of villages, left by their residents during widespread attacks by the RSF during the first months of this year.

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