North Darfur herders still besiege Katur village

(UPDATE 14:00) Militant herdsmen have besieged Katur village in North Darfur’s Tawila locality for several days since Sunday. Unamid sent an inquiry team to the village on Tuesday.

Militant herdsmen have besieged Katur village in North Darfur's Tawila locality for several days since Sunday. They threaten to kill eight village elders if the villagers do not pay compensation for a number of camels found dead in the vicinity of​ the village last week. The African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (Unamid) sent a patrol team for inquiries on Tuesday.

Radio Dabanga reported on Tuesday that a group of gunmen, reportedly Abbala herders, in two Land Cruisers and on 35 camels raided Katur on Sunday evening. They demanded compensation for eight of their camels they had found shot dead on a distance of two kilometres from the village.

The gunmen told the villagers that if they do not pay SDG220,000 ($36,000) as a compensation for the eight camels, they will kill the eight village elders they took hostage that evening.

One of the villagers told Radio Dabanga on Wednesday that they handed SDG7,000 ($1,140) to the herders. “Yet, they insist on receiving the remaining amount before they will lift the siege and the release the hostages.”

He said that a Unamid team in 15 vehicles visited Katur at 8 am on Tuesday. “They talked with the commander of the armed forces stationed at the village, listened to the villagers, and returned to Tawila at 10 am.” The mission's team site is based in Tawila, 50 kilometres north-east of Katur.

Unamid has confirmed by e-mail that a patrol team visited Katur. “However, the team received no information on the alleged incident.”