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Rising tensions in North Darfur's Sortony camp

April 1 - 2016 SORTONY
Unamid's Police Advisors interact with newly displaced seeking refuge near the Mission’s team site in Sortony, North Darfur (Ghassan Alzughailat/Unamid)
Unamid's Police Advisors interact with newly displaced seeking refuge near the Mission’s team site in Sortony, North Darfur (Ghassan Alzughailat/Unamid)

Tensions in Sortony, a camp for nearly 70,000 displaced people from Jebel Marra, continue to rise between militiamen and the displaced. Groups of militiamen have reportedly gathered outside the camp while the local security committee has been unsuccessful in containing the situation.

Two persons were killed during a fight between militiamen and commercial vehicle owners at the market in Sortony on Monday. The militiamen claimed that people from the camp were responsible for the deaths, and have demanded a financial compensation.

The accused displaced people have refused to pay the blood money of SDG400,000 ($65,200). The militiamen have reacted by blocking off the main road, and the only water source in the area.

On Wednesday, a delegation of the native administration, led by Shartai Abdallah Abu Shouk, and the Kabkabiya security committee arrived in Sortony. Speaking to Radio Dabanga, a local activist said that the displaced people have denied their involvement in the incident.

They underscored in a meeting with the delegation that the incident took place at night. “They said that the barbed wire between the camp and the market is broken, and that soldiers of Unamid were able to see the fighting.”

The activist said that the meeting ended when the displaced refused to pay the compensation, and that the security delegation returned to Kabkabiya on Thursday.

Water, food supply

The outcome has resulted in the prolonging of the militiamen's road and water blockade, which the people in Sortony have suffered from for three days.

“The militiamen also threatened to prevent Unamid from bringing water to the displaced people,” the activist said. “The mission brings three tankers of water every day.”

She said that groups of militiamen have stationed north of Sortony camp, and expressed fears of an imminent attack on the camp residents.

70,000 in Sortony

People continue to flee the Jebel Marra area in Darfur because of fighting between government forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army – Abdel Wahid (SPLA-AW).

Nearly 70,000 of them have sought refuge at the Unamid team site in Sortony; the majority of the estimated number of people who have been displaced by the recent fighting. The UN reported this week that a variety of estimates from aid organisations and authorities indicate that there could be about 133,000 displaced people from Jebel Marra in North, Central and South Darfur.

The World Food Programme that provided food to displaced who have taken refuge in Sortony plans to do a headcount exercise next week to get a better picture of the number of the people sheltering near the Unamid team site in Sortony.

(Table: OCHA Sudan)

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