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Nierteti probe: 'State accuses rebels while paying money to victims'

January 10 - 2017 NIERTETI
One of the wounded people of the 1 January attack on Nierteti rests in a hospital (RD)
One of the wounded people of the 1 January attack on Nierteti rests in a hospital (RD)

The Central Darfur State Government is already compensating victims of the deadly attack in Nierteti with so-called blood money, while no perpetrators have yet been identified. Lawyers have pointed to the contradiction in the government's actions.

The Deputy Governor of Central Darfur, accompanied by the security committee, has paid visits to the families of the victims of the attack in Nierteti, lawyers of the Darfur Bar Association said. Two children were killed and at least 48 people sustained injuries when either a military or armed force stormed the town on 1 January.

The deputy presented the families with SDG 20,000 ($3,080) which he called 'a part of the blood and money and commemoration'. The attack on 1 January was carried out by soldiers, he confirmed, and he said to hold the army responsible for the crime. The Commissioner of Nierteti allegedly also provided two sacks of sugar and two oil tins to the affected families.

Radio Dabanga has heard that the government authorities have calculated blood money for the two dead schoolchildren in the incidents at SDG115,000 ($17,500) each, along with the allocation of SDG20,000 ($3,000) to be paid for commemoration.

Contradictory accusations

The Governor of Central Darfur, Jaafar Abdelhakam, contradicted his deputy when he claimed that the attack had been carried out by the rebel movement of Abdelwahid El Nur (SLM-AW). Speaking at a press conference in Zalingei last week, Abdelhakam said that the government will pay the blood money to the families nonetheless.

He did not clarify his government's commitment to compensating the victims financially for an incident it attributed to the SLM-AW, which the Darfur Bar lawyers find contradictory. “There is a clear contradiction between the statements of the Governor, his deputy, and statements by Nierteti residents - who confirmed the responsibility of the army.

“The payment of blood money without filing criminal complaints against the elements who perpetrated the attack is a type of protection of the real culprits. It enhances the culture of impunity and undermines the citizens' confidence in the public institutions,” the Darfur Bar statement continues.

The report of the lawyers' association comes a week after Khartoum sent a fact-finding committee to investigate the Nierteti incidents with all relevant parties. The Darfur Bar has demanded the formation of an impartial committee to conduct transparent investigations.

'File the criminal complaint against the perpetrators. We are ready to provide those affected with legal aid' – Darfur Bar Association

The lawyers stated that on 1 January, members of the Sudanese army assaulted unarmed residents in Nierteti in a reprisal attack, causing the death of two school children. Others who have been wounded are in hospitals.

“Police stationed in the town who tried to protect the residents also suffered injuries, including seven policemen who then withdrew from their headquarters,” the statement said.

Callers to Radio Dabanga reported that another armed force stormed the market, and a third group of soldiers stormed the Northern Camp for displaced people. Both groups stole mobile phones and goods.

The Darfur Bar has called on the families of all victims to file criminal complaints against the perpetrators in order to bring them to trial. They expressed readiness to provide legal aid to those affected by the incidents.

Dead body

Looking into all incidents in Nierteti, the Bar found that the dead body which was discovered near Kombo Ghabat in Nierteti was a murder case, unrelated to the conflicts in the area. The lawyers said that local militias 'affiliated to the government' have not participated in the attack.

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