North Darfur Defence Minister denies civilian casualties in Misteriya raid
North Darfur Minister of Defence, Ali Mohammed Salim, has confirmed the casualty figures in the raid in Misteriya in North Darfur on Sunday which resulted in the arrest of Musa Hilal, his sons, brothers, and many of his entourage, but denied claims of 12 civilian casualties.
Gen. Salim told the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA) on Wednesday that 14 members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) were killed, 24 others wounded, and eight members of Revolutionary Awakening Council died.
Gen. Salim pointed out that no aircraft or heavy guns were used during the Misteriya raid. He confirmed that a child was killed by a stray bullet during the crossfire; however “there were no other civilian casualties”.
The defence minister explained that 50 members of the Awakening Council were arrested, of whom 30 have already been transferred to Khartoum. He said the other 20 will be transferred to Khartoum later.
He denied that Hilal, his officer sons, and the non-commissioned officers are under house arrest. “They are being held in tight security by the general command where they will be subject to a Board of Inquiry that will bring them to a military trial.”
He refused to give any details about the foreign national arrested at Misteriya with Musa Hilal, saying only that “he was arrested in possession of communication equipment”.
However Member of Parliament Eisa Mustafa claims that at least 12 civilians died during the raid on Sunday. Witnesses who fled from and around Misteriya told Radio Dabanga that there was a campaign of arrests of youths and men conducted by the RSF.
In an interview with Radio Dabanga, they said that they fled to live rough in the mountains and valleys as the Misteriya area has been besieged and all the roads leading to it were closed since the events broke out Sunday.
Appeals via social media demand the siege to be lifted as it is apparently preventing people from burying the dead as bodies are left to decompose in the open.
On Wednesday the UNICEF Resident Representative, Abdallah Fadil, said that a UN delegation would be sent to Misteriya to find out the situation resulting from the clashes in the area.
Fadil told a news conference in Khartoum that a UNAMID team would arrive in the area within the next few hours to conduct a field investigation.
He added that “we would investigate the violations against the civilians and children there, certainly there are children”.
On Tuesday the commander of the RSF, Mohammed Hamdan Hemeti, arrived in Nyala and ordered all RSF members in South and East Darfur states to move to the headquarters in Um El Qura south of Nyala.
Witnesses said that hundreds of armed military vehicles headed to Um El Qura on Wednesday.
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