DELLING / KADUGLI / DEBIBAD / EL OBEID –
The road to between Delling and Kadugli, capital of South Kordofan, is still closed. Fighting between the Sudanese army and the SPLM-N El Hilu south of Kadugli continued over the weekend. The town of Debibad was raided by paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on Friday and by large groups of gunmen the following days. The entire town was plundered, and three women were raped. Last week, the offices of the oil refinery in El Obeid in North Kordofan were looted as well.
Sources reported that the closure of the road to Kadugli last week for security reasons, has led to long lines of vehicles in Delling, waiting to continue to other places in the state or to the South Sudanese border.
They said that an unidentified armed group has blocked the road to Kadugli in the area of Sammam, about 20 kilometres south of Delling.
“An army force tried to open the road on Sunday, but the gunmen repelled the attack and inflicted an unknown number of losses among the soldiers,” one of the sources said.
“The conditions of the passengers are extremely dire, in particular because of the rains,” an activist in Delling reported. “Most of them fled the violence in the Sudanese capital and intend to seek refuge in Kadugli or other places in the Nuba Mountains, while the South Sudanese refugees among them want to return to South Sudan. They have spent their money on the bus fare and have taken only some basic possessions with them.”
The residents of Delling themselves are complaining about the doubling of prices of basic consumer goods.
One of them told Radio Dabanga that “the merchandise arriving in the town has significantly decreased since the war [between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces RSF) broke out on April 15. “Almost daily we receive reports of armed robberies on the road between Delling and El Obeid [capital of North Kordofan).”
He added that “fuel is also very difficult to find anymore”.
Reports reached Radio Dabanga last week that nearly 180,000 people who fled the fighting between the Sudanese army and the RSF in Khartoum arrived in South Kordofan areas controlled by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North under the leadership of Abdelaziz El Hilu (SPLM-N El Hilu).
The insecurity is not only caused by groups of bandits but also by fighting between army forces and members of the SPLM-N El Hilu.
Fighting between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the SPLM-N El Hilu in the area south of Kadugli continued over the weekend.
“The 14th Infantry Division in Kadugli continued its heavy artillery shelling of the sites taken under control of the SPLM-N 12 days ago south of Kadugli,” a source told Radio Dabanga. “The rebel fighters responded, and the exchange of artillery shelling caused terror among the people in the neighbourhood.”
The source further reported that Kadugli has been living “in total darkness for about a month, because the electricity supply was cut off due to severe fuel shortages”.
She also said that the telecommunications network was affected by the power outage, while the people in the city are suffering as well from a significant rise in the prices of basic commodities.
On Friday afternoon, an RSF force stormed Debibad, north of Delling, and opened fire on the police station. One policeman was wounded, a resident of the town reported.
After releasing the detainees in the police station, the force left the town again.
“In the evening, groups of armed men riding on hundreds of motorcycles invaded the town,” the source told Radio Dabanga. “They plundered the shops at the market, the banks, government offices, including the Zakat [Muslim alms] Bureau and the railway building, offices of the security service, the hospital, oil plants, and grain stores, in addition to a train and tractors loaded with goods heading to Darfur.”
The looting continued for three days, he said.
The attackers also stormed a travel bus that was on its way from Khartoum to West Kordofan and had stopped at the Dibebad market. They seized three women, one of them aged 60, and raped them.
“One of the victims had to be taken to the hospital for treatment,” the source said. “The attackers robbed all passengers of their belongings.”
Last week, the offices of the oil refinery in El Obeid, capital of North Kordofan, were attacked as well.
The Oil Sector Workers Association reported on Friday that the offices of the Sudanese Oil Corporation in El Obeid were “subjected to looting and vandalism, whereby unscrupulous residents participated in protecting the terrorist militia [RSF]”.
The Association explained that since the outbreak of the war, the army withdrew its protection forces from the El Obeid refinery, “which made it vulnerable to theft and vandalism”.