South Darfur governor promises protection for returnees

South Darfur Governor threatens to hit “outlaws” attacking voluntary returnees “with an iron hand”.

The Governor of South Darfur has declared to recruit popular and community police forces and deploy them to the Abu Jabra and Hamada areas, where formerly displaced people have been suffering from armed attacks during the past two months.

Major General Adam Mahmoud Jarelnabi threatened to "hit outlaws with an iron hand". He accused these "outlaws" of opposing programmes of the state and the Darfur Regional Authority that facilitate voluntarily returns of displaced people to their areas of origin.

Jarelnabi also stressed that the Security of the Community Act, which was passed by the state's legislative council, will apply "to all localities after the legal period enters into force in South Darfur state".

Nine villagers were killed in an attack by a large group of militiamen in Abu Jabra in Gireida locality on 13 December, which was reported by an eyewitness from a neighbouring village. He said that the formerly displaced people had begun to settle themselves again, 20 km north of Gireida town. An elder in Babanusa camp reported that about 500 families arrived there in the days following the attack.

Fifteen people were killed in an ambush after visiting Hamada village, Manawashi locality, on 25 November. An Omda in Manawashi town claimed that the attack by militiamen had a political motive. “The aim of the attack that left 15 dead was to threaten all Hamada returnees." The opening of a market in the village was celebrated that day, for the formerly displaced who have begun to return to Hamada.