At least nine people have been killed since the start of the current agricultural season in Gireida in South Darfur, all of whom have been voluntary returnees to their villages this rainy season.
According to activists and displaced sheikhs in Gireida locality who spoke to Radio Dabanga on Tuesday, the last agricultural season witnessed the killing of at least 59 people by militiamen in the locality’s farms.
One of the leaders of displaced people told Radio Dabanga from Gireida “lack of security today represents the biggest challenge for the return of displaced people to their villages and the success of the current agricultural season”
He stressed that security is completely non-existent despite the government repeated announcements in the media that the villages are safe and urging the displaced people to return despite the lack of services of education, health and drinking water in the villages.
He pointed to the spread of militiamen whom the government has not yet disarmed, wearing military uniform and assaulting anyone who returns to village or goes to farming with murder, rape and theft of property.
He said that even if all these incidents are reported to the police, it does not move to arrest the perpetrators.
Agricultural season undermined
Activists of Kutum in North Darfur told Radio Dabanga that the lack of security has undermined the current agricultural season and caused complete failure of voluntary repatriation programme.
The activists pointed in this regard to the attacks on the owners of orchards who returned to their areas in Kutum last week.
They said that the attacks, which included the removal of fruit trees from the orchards, were carried out by government militiamen known to the locality authorities, some of them new settlers and others stationed in some of the nearby settlements.
They pointed out that these militiamen have become a real threat to the agricultural season, especially as it is their custom to attack all those who go out to cultivate their land and get their livestock by force of arms on the farms, which led to farmers’ reluctance to cultivate their land.
Sheikh Hasan Hamid (75), and two of his sons and a daughter were also seriously wounded by gunfire by the militiamen in their farm at Burum Burum, south of Saraf Omra in North Darfur (see picture).
Farmers in Saraf Omra told Radio Dabanga that the sheikh, his sons Mousa and Mustafa and daughter Zubeida were voluntary returnees to their areas who happened to be at the time of the incident tilling their farm at Burum Burum.
A witness farmer said that a group of militants opened fire on them causing them injuries, some of them were transferred to the hospital of Saraf Omra and others to the Zalingei Teaching Hospital.
The farmer described the incident as a flagrant violation and a blatant challenge to the government’s decisions issued by President Omar Al Bashir, and Second Vice-President Hasabo Abdelrahman and the leader of the Rapid Support Forces militia to collect weapons, impose prestige of the state and return of the displaced people to their land.