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South Darfur market stalls demolished in surprise RSF raid

January 4 - 2018 KASS
Market stalls in Darfur (File photo)
Market stalls in Darfur (File photo)

A contingent of the main Sudanese government militia, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), has demolished market stalls and subjected displaced people to abuse in a surprise raid on the market of Kass in South Darfur.

The RSF were reportedly under the supervision and guidance of the Commissioner of Kass locality, Abakar Mohamed. Callers told Radio Dabanga “the RSF broke dozens of shops in the southern market, the majority of which are owned by displaced people without any announcement or notification”.

Witnesses said the RSF raid was also accompanied by widespread abuses against the residents and shoppers who happened to be in the market. Tne RSF reportedly ripped the young men's trousers with a knives on the pretext that their trousers were ‘indecent and not commensurate with the public order’.

They also subjected women to abuses.

Those affected said the campaign on the market has caused severe losses to the merchants without compensation

Camps

The displaced in Kass and activists said that the RSF also inspected some camps under the pretext of searching for weapons without coordinating with Unamid or the presence of the mission’s troops.

The activists confirmed to Radio Dabanga from Kass that the inspection was accompanied by violations, including seizing of property such as cash, blankets, telephones, and light weapons, this along with ripping the identity documents of some people.

The activists also explained that on Monday evening the locality commissioner visited the camp south of Kass and threatened the displaced that he would evacuate more than 10 schools and move them which is threatening with a humanitarian disaster in the event of non-intervention of international entities to stop what they called “the locality commissioner’s absurdity”.

The displaced people of the Kass camps confirmed that they are in favour of collecting weapons, provided that it should in a legal manner under UN supervision and Unamid participation, so that the collection process would not be a sham as it is now.

They also pointed to the absence of coordination with Unamid as many of the spots that pose a security threat to Kass and Shattaya localities have not witnessed any weapons collection process.

On Wednesday activists from Saraf Omra reported to Radio Dabanga that the RSF in Saraf Omra in North Darfur have threatened to arrest and imprison any travel agent transporting more than two sacks of millet or sorghum outside the locality.

Merchants have considered the decision unfair and contrary to the policy of price liberalisation announced by the government.

In the same context, the locality Commissioner Abdallah Abdallah Bilal charged a fee of SDG 2,645 for each shopkeeper as a renewal of the license for the year 2018 and retroactive royalty charges for two years.

Activists in Saraf Omra said the Commissioner had given merchants a week to remove the umbrellas and the cottage shops built with local materials. They pointed out that the fees and royalties they collect are not spent on services but on the commissioner and his affiliates.


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