North Darfur sit-in achieves ban on motorcycles
The sit-in in Fata Borno in North Darfur’s Kutum, protesting the rampant insecurity in the area, secured its first victory yesterday as the locality director banned all motorcycles. The locality director also promised to protect the farmers on their farms.
Residents and displaced people in the area demand security, disarmament of the gunmen in the region, and protection of the agricultural season. The sit-in started five days ago.
Yahya El Khums, a leading member of the Forces for Freedom and Change in Kutum locality, presented the demands of the protesters to the locality director. They demand that the state government to implement them immediately.
Protestor Izzeldin Basha told Radio Dabanga from Fata Borno that many farmers have not been able to cultivate their farms for years, because gunmen on motorcycles claim ownership of these lands and impose fees on the farmers to allow them to cultivate these lands. The people of Fata Borno also suffer from repeated attacks and theft. “They have no choice but to carry out an open sit-in until all their demands are met,” Basha said.
In the memorandum submitted to Mohamed El Zein, Director of Kutum locality, the protestors demanded the evacuation of “new settlers” from their farms, so that they can catch up with the agricultural season, a ban on the use of motorcycles and weapons, and the deployment of security forces to secure the agricultural season, and combat the growing drug trade in the area.
Kutum locality banned motorcycles within the locality’s borders yesterday. It also prohibits people to wear a kadamol (a scarf covering the face) during the agricultural season. People wearing a kadamol will be fined SDG1,000 ($18*). Owners or drivers of a motorcycle will be sentenced to imprisonment for a month and a fine of SDG25,000.
Mohamed El Zein, Director of Kutum locality, said the decisions came as a response to the demands of the sit-in. He acknowledged the legitimacy of the protestors’ demands, which he attributed to the effects of the war raging in Darfur since 2003.
El Zein said that his office would be transferred to the Fata Borno Administrative Unit temporarily, for a period of 15 days, in order to secure the agricultural season, protect the farms with a joint security force, and oversee the implementation of the temporary local bans.
The sit-in in North Darfur’s Kabkabiya continues. The people demand the dismissal of civilian and military officials in the locality, disarmament of militiamen in the area, and protection of the agricultural season.
According to members of the Kabkabiya Resistance Committees, the killing of a 34 year-old farmer at his land in Shoba, three kilometres south of Kabkabiya, sparked the protest on Wednesday.
In Nierteti in Central Darfur, the sit-in entered its 12th day amid continued solidarity from all parts of the country.
The Central Darfur authorities have begun to implement the agreement between the sit-in leaders and the federal government delegation that visited the sit-in during the weekend.
The director of Nierteti locality has been dismissed. A joint army, Rapid Support Forces, and police force has been formed. The people of the sit-in have selected representatives to follow up the joint force’s actions.
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