Nine dead, dozens injured as militia break up North Darfur sit-in
At least nine people have been killed and 17 others wounded during an attack by militiamen on the sit-in at Fata Borno camp for the displaced in Kutum locality in North Darfur on Monday morning. A State of Emergency has been declared throughout the state.
The militiamen riding on camels, horses, and motorcycles, violently broke-up the sit-in. They plundered and torched the camp market of Fata Borno and a number of homes, and set two vehicles on fire.
Fata Borno camp residents Mohamed Jafoun, Abdallah Ibrahim, Abakar Ibrahim, Khadija Ibrahim, Ahmed Ibrahim, Noureldin Saleh, Ishag Babikir, Abdallah Abakar, and Yasir Abdallah were killed, witnesses told Radio Dabanga.
The attackers gradually left in the afternoon, taking with them the stolen goods, large numbers of livestock, and three vehicles taken from the camp.
Police in three vehicles attempted to counter the attack, but the intensity of the fire and the large numbers of attackers forced them to withdraw.
When a force of peacekeepers from the UN-AU Mission in Darfur (Unamid) reached the area, they halted on the opposite side of the valley and did not interfere, the sources said.
Video clips sent to Radio Dabanga by activists show the dead and wounded in the temporary clinic that has been set up at the sit-in. Flames and smoke can be seen in the background. Sounds of heavy gunfire are heard and people are screaming.
Teacher Yahya El Khumus, leader of the Freedom and Change Forces in Kutum, told Radio Dabanga that the attack began at around 10:00 on Monday, when militiamen stormed the camp from all directions, until they reached the sit-in.
Khumus said they informed the state authorities immediately after the attacks began, but they did not respond until 15:30.
On Sunday, the displaced had informed a visiting delegation of the North Darfur Security Committee about rumours that militiamen would attack the camp soon, to no avail.
State of Emergency
In response to the Kutum violence, the governor of the North Darfur Maj Gen Malik El Tayeb declared a State of Emergency on Monday in all parts of the state until further notice.
In a statement on Sunday evening, the governor pledged to send more troops to the Fata Borno Administrative Unit, Kutum, and neighbouring Kabkabiya and El Sareif Beni Hussein localities.
On last Thursday, the sit-in in Fata Borno had secured its first victory as the locality director banned all motorcycles, which are a preferred means by gunmen for hit-and-run attacks. The locality director also promised to protect the farmers on their farms.
People from Kutum and Fata Borno living in Khartoum, in cooperation with members of Resistance Committees, organised a solidarity vigil in front of the Council of Ministers on Monday, condemning the bloody events in Fata Borno.
They delivered a memorandum to the Prime Minister’s Office demanding that the violence in Kutum locality be stopped, the evacuation of settlers from agricultural lands, the restoration of the Rule of Law, in addition to the development of the police post in Fata Borno to a police station, and the dismissal of the North Darfur governor, and state security committee.
The memorandum also called on the federal government to immediately intervene to stop the attacks and form an independent committee to investigate the events that took place in Kutum and Fata Borno on Sunday and Monday, along with a visit by a delegation from the federal government to visit the region to find out the events.
Participants in the vigil disputed the accuracy of the North Darfur governor's statement about the events in Kutum on Sunday, and called on the government to secure citizens and their property, and to restore the Rule of Law through the police, prosecution, judiciary, agricultural insurance, and enabling farmers to cultivate their lands.
Kutum police station attacked
According to a statement issued by the North Darfur Security Committee on Sunday evening, protestors burned the police station of Kutum and 14 vehicles when a group of officials, journalists, and security personnel entered Kutum following a visit to the sit-in of Fata Borno.
When entering the town, the delegation was besieged from all sides and assaulted with stones, a number of members of the delegation were injured, media equipment was damaged.
The delegation was forced to resort to the Kutum police station, but the protestors stormed the building, assaulted policemen, and burned the police station as well as 14 vehicles.
The Sudanese Doctors Central Committee reported that three people were shot in Kutum on Sunday. A number of people suffered from the inhalation of tear gas.
One of the wounded was shot in the foot, which resulted in the amputation of two toes. Two others were shot, one with a superficial wound in the chest and the second with a deep wound in the thigh.
The report mentioned a number of cases of tear gas inhalation. The committee condemned the use of bullets against citizens, explaining that it is the duty of the police to protecting citizens and not to harm them.
The North Darfur Security Committee visited the Fata Borno region at the request of the protestors and received from them a memorandum containing six demands of the protestors.
The protestors in Fata Borno called for an educational meeting with the security committee, but some of them refused this meeting, so the security committee cancelled it and returned to El Fasher by aeroplane. The committee expressed its regret for what happened and confirmed its concern for the safety of any citizen and support for legitimate demands.
On Sunday, the North Darfur Security Committee visited Fata Borno near Kutum town at the request of the sit-in, and received from the protestors a note containing six demands.
In its statement on Monday, the committee said that it had responded to three of them immediately, and had formed a committee of protestors to follow up on the rest of the demands.
Some of the protestors in Fata Borno called for an educational meeting with the security committee, but some of them refused this meeting, so the security committee cancelled it and flew back to El Fasher.
The committee expressed its regret for what happened and confirmed its complete concern for the safety of any citizen and support for legitimate demands.
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