On Monday, residents of El Fasher, capital of North Darfur, demanded the Wali (governor) of North Darfur to stop all outlaws and control armed manifestations in the city, preventing the carrying of weapons, and dealing with the issue of possibly “radioactive materials”, after separate incidents of looting at the warehouses of the World Food Programme (WFP) on Wednesday, and the former United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) logistical base north of the capital, was plundered on December 24-25.
North Darfur Wali Nimir Abdelrahman says that his government has formed two committees to investigate the incidents.
A memorandum delivered to the North Darfur governor by the El Fasher People’s Initiative to Restore Security described the looting incidents as “systematic and intended for its own sake” and does not absolve anyone of responsibility. The memo called on the governor to conduct an immediate investigation into the incidents and make the finding public as soon as possible.
In a reaction from the state capital, Wali Abdelrahman that “the events that took place in El Fasher do not express the people of the city”.
He added that his government has formed two committees to investigate the incidents, and pointed out that “there were substances stolen that are harmful to human health, which requires concerted efforts to educate the community about its danger.
He stressed the ability of the joint forces to maintain security and stability. He renewed his appeal to everyone to abide by the curfew, and to assist the regulatory agencies in that.
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) has suspended operations across North Darfur in Sudan, following the looting of three of its warehouses in the state capital El Fasher, which began on Wednesday night and continued until Thursday morning. WFP Executive Director David Beasley has expressed “outrage at the senseless attacks”. The WFP says the suspension could affect close to two million people in the area in 2022.
Buildings and containers of equipment at the former African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) logistical base north of the capital El Fasher, were looted on December 24-25. Witnesses confirmed that “hundreds of people” invaded the camp and made off with furniture and equipment. There was also extensive damage to the site as a result of vandalism. Activists said that the looting occurred “under the noses of the security forces”.
In a statement via social media, the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations for Sudan (SRSG) and head of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission In Sudan (UNITAMS), Volker Perthes, voiced his “extreme disappointment” over the looting of the UNAMID base. “The equipment stolen was for protection of civilians by Darfur authorities. Protection of civilians should be number one priority for both the state and armed groups involved in the looting,” Perthes said.
As previously reported by Radio Dabanga, the ongoing insecurity in Darfur, often partly exacerbated by the vacuum created by the UNAMID drawdown, has meant that the practicalities of the handover of UNAMID sites and facilities have not always gone as planned.
On June 5, two people were killed and eight others sustained injuries when a former UNAMID site in Shangil Tobaya, Dar El Salaam locality, south of El Fasher in North Darfur was looted.
The site was handed over to the Government of Sudan on May 25. It was the last of 14 deep field sites handed over to the Sudanese government. At the time, the North Darfur government and the Sudanese government’s joint task force strongly reconfirmed their commitment to ensure civilian use of the former site.
Since the mission ended its mandate at the end of last year, various former UNAMID sites handed over to local authorities to be used as schools or training centres, have been looted. In February, a site in North Darfur’s Saraf Omra that was earmarked for use as a vocational training centre was looted and ‘levelled’ just weeks after it was handed over to the Sudanese government.