Central Darfur Governor Jaafar Abdelhakam has accused the Sudan Liberation Movement-Abdel Wahid (SLM-AW) of involvement in what he called “the riots in Nierteti” which began on Friday and led to the killing of a soldier at Kombo Ghabat, and the subsequent death of two children, with 47 more people injured.
Governor Abdelhakam told a news conference in the state capital Zalingei on Monday that “a joint force from the army, police, and security moved on Sunday morning to Kombo Ghabat area to hunt-down six perpetrators who started opening fire first, and incited people to face the joint forces with a riot”.
He said “the joint forces acted responsibly and faced the raging public with batons and rifle butts, which subjected 28 people, including four police and 19 women, to light injuries. In addition, two members of the same family were killed by bullets fired by the accused.”
‘Returned to normal’
The Governor explained that “the joint force managed to arrest the suspects and pledged to implement the recommendations of the committee of investigation, make an inventory of losses, and compensate all those affected after taking an oath”.
Also he said that “the situation in Nierteti has returned to normal”.
However several witnesses from Nierteti refute Governor Andelhakam’s explanation. Some of the wounded told Radio Dabanga that the government troops are the ones who attacked the district, opened fire into the district and stole the property of the residents. “They came from within the military barracks in four vehicles mounted with machine guns”.
The callers accused the Governor of “attempting to protect the aggressors of the armed forces who acted on the orders of their commander”.
Women injured in Nierteti
However, according to an article published in Khartoum newspapers on Monday, the Deputy-Governor of Central Darfur, Mohamed Mousa Ahmed, has a different explanation.
The newspapers quoted Mousa as saying that the attack resulted from a misunderstanding between the residents and the armed forces, which led to the killing of 2 and wounding 13 others.
The Deputy Governor acknowledged robberies and theft in the market and some houses, and said that they will make inventory of the shops that were stolen so as to compensate the owners, as well committing to pay blood money and treat the wounded.
On Monday the Deputy Governor met within a delegation that included the Commander of 21st Infantry and notables in Nierteti where he committed to pay blood money to the relatives of dead, provide treatment for the wounded, and compensate all the losses caused by the armed forces in the city.
Maj. Gen. Abboud Mansour, the Commander of 21st Infantry, said that “regular forces were committed not to respond to incoming fire in order to avoid chaos, as the fire from within the district was so dense”.
In comments to Khartoum newspapers on Monday, Gen. Mansour said that the death of the two children during the shooting sparked the people to attack the armed forces with stones, sticks and knives that caused minor injuries among the regular forces.
An injured policeman and civilian share a bed
‘Extension of genocide’
Abdel Wahid Mohammed El Nur, leader of the SLM-AW, has denied that his Movement had anything to do with the “Nierteti bloody massacre” and held the government responsible.
In an interview with Radio Dabanga, he said: “We do not respond to the Governor of Central Darfur, but we respond to President Al-Bashir, who has instructed the killing of civilians”.
He strongly condemned the Nierteti incidents and described them as “an extension of the ongoing genocide in large parts of Sudan by the regime”.
On Monday he told Radio Dabanga that “the Nierteti massacre has united the Sudanese people through its organisations and various segments, which launched a campaign called ‘We are all Nierteti’ by all Sudanese.
Abdel Wahid said “the Nierteti martyrs are part of the martyrs of the Sudanese people and we send condolences to their families”.
On Sunday, the Nierteti incidents sparked outrage among people across Sudan, especially on social media WhatsApp, where they published pictures of the wounded and dead. This was accompanied by a wide-scale campaign for the Sudanese on social media under the hashtags #sudanese_blood_spilled_again and #Nertiti_massacre_darfur
The armed forces, civil political forces under Sudan Appeal, and the National Consensus Forces, in addition to the civil society organisations, have condemned the Nierteti massacre, demanded punishment, and held President Al Bashir and his government responsible, and called for its ousting in a move that united the Sudanese conscience.
Youth groups, including the Union of the Sudanese Civil Disobedience Groups and 27 of November Civil Disobedience Group have issued similar condemnation.