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Renewed attacks on villages in Darfur’s East Jebel Marra leave 11 dead

April 2 - 2018 SAWANI
Fleeing the clashes between govt. forces and rebel fighters on March 22, 2018 (RD)
Fleeing the clashes between govt. forces and rebel fighters on March 22, 2018 (RD)

At least 11 people were killed and 21 others were injured in attacks by paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on villages in South Darfur’s East Jebel Marra on Saturday.

Multiple sources told Radio Dabanga that members of the RSF, Sudan’s main militia, riding in 18 vehicles and others on more than 50 motorcycles, backed by gunmen on more than 100 camels and horses, attacked villages in the area of Sawani on Saturday morning.

Villages in the area of Terongafogi and Owru, 10 kilometres north-east of Libei, were attacked as well, causing the people to flee to nearby valleys and mountain tops.

After plundering the villages, the attackers set fire to the houses. They took with them hundreds of livestock as well, the sources reported.

The sources mentioned three children among the 11 people that were killed during the attack on Sawani: Adam Teirab (5), Ezzeldin Ali (7) and Hawa Yousef (8).

Sara Omar (4), Ibrahim Hamid (7), Abdelbasit Ali (8), Shamseldin Adam (9), Adam Ahmed Mohamed (13), Jamal Mahmoud (25), and Abdelazim Abakar (27) went missing according to a villager who fled from Sawani.

Fighting

On Friday, government forces launched an attack on Sawani and Rokona in East Jebel Marra. Both areas are strongholds of the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdelwahid El Nur (SLM-AW). The clashes between the two sides continued on Saturday.

Mohamed Abdallah El Nayer, the spokesman for the SLM-AW, said in a statement on Sunday that the rebels managed to defeat the government forces. They forced them to flee the battlefields leaving their dead, destroyed vehicles, and seized a large quantity of weapons and ammunition. Four rebel fighters, including a commander, were killed.

El Nayer said that tens of villages burned to ashes. Thousands of people are hiding in caves and valleys in the area “in a catastrophic humanitarian situation. They lack food, medicines, and shelter”.

According to the statement, the government forces are continuing the government’s “scorched earth policy, for the purpose of demographic change through forced displacement”.

Stranded

On March 9, army and militia forces attacked the area of Jawa, south of Deribat in East Jebel Marra, in an attempt to clear the region of the last rebel strongholds.

Five days later, fighting erupted in the areas of Feina and Dawa. Thousands of people were displaced. Sources said that the government forces succeeded to completely take over the area of Feina.

According to reports on Thursday, the militia troops began to withdraw to El Malam and Umelgura which are the headquarters and home-town of RSF commander Mohamed Hamdan (aka Hemeti).

According to activists in south-east Jebel Marra, the thousands of villagers stranded in mountain caves are in dire need of humanitarian aid. They called on Unamid in South and North Darfur “to assume their responsibility and move immediately to the areas of Libei, Sawani, and Terongafogi where the fighting is ongoing”.

The activists further called on the government of South Darfur and Unamid “to rapidly access the area of Feina area that was attacked last week, to rescue the people hiding [.. there] in mountain caves east Jebel Marra, and the area of Barkoro in North Darfur which was attacked on Friday”. They said that the people may die from hunger and thirst “if Unamid does not come to protect them soon”.

Cease-fire

The Darfur Bar Association (DBA) has strongly condemned the renewed fighting in East Jebel Marra and the attacks on “innocent civilians” in the region.

In a statement on Sunday, the DBA denounced the clashes “that reached its peak on March 30 and 31, in the areas of Sawani, Rokona, and Feina”, and “forced hundreds of elderly, women and children to resort to valleys, trenches, slopes, and caves of the mountains”.

The Darfur lawyers appealed to the international community “to force the parties to respect the rights of innocent civilians, guaranteed by national laws, charters, and international conventions”.

They called on relief organisations to provide urgent assistance to the victims of the conflict.

The DBA also urged the international community to compel the government in Khartoum “to respect its extended cease-fire”.

On Wednesday, President Omar Al Bashir issued a decree extending the government’s unilateral cease-fire in the Two Areas (South Kordofan and Blue Nile states) for another three months. Al Bashir said that the purpose of the cease-fire extension is to stabilise the country.


 


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