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Sudan warned about impending humanitarian disaster in El Geneina shelters

February 16 - 2021 EL GENEINA / MISTEREI
Newly displaced seeking refuge in the centre of El Geneina (social media)
Newly displaced seeking refuge in the centre of El Geneina (social media)

A committee of victims from the Kerending camps warned about a humanitarian and health disaster in the shelters of El Geneina. They indicated that there was a lack of toilets and medical support, and that food was scarce.

They also said that some roads in El Geneina are still closed and that some neighbourhoods are still under siege, despite the Arab sit-in being officially lifted last week. The spokesperson said that these sit-ins are obstructing the movement of humanitarian organisations.

On Sunday, the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) already warned of cholera and measles outbreaks in El Geneina’s shelters of newly displaced people and explained that humanitarian aid could not reach El Geneina as a result of the sit-in.

These sit-ins were set up by Arab tribesmen in El Geneina to demand the removal of the West Darfur wali (governor),  the restructuring of the police forces, the expulsion of camps for the displaced from El Geneina, and the transformation of these camps into residential districts.

The violence in El Geneina was triggered by tribal tensions between Arab herdsmen and Masalit, a non-Arab sedentary tribe based in West Darfur. After the killing of an Arab herdsman by a Masalit, large groups of Arab tribesmen attacked El Geneina and the two Kerending camps “from all directions”. In the violence that continued the next days, at least 163 people were killed.

The governor and most of the West Darfur government employees are Masalit.

The Kerending Camp Victims Committee described the events that took place in El Geneina as “an act of organised crime, orchestrated by the murderous regime and their military leaders”. 

They also said that what happened in the Kerending camps and the surrounding areas qualifies as genocide and disclosed that there had been an attempt to eliminate any eyewitnesses. 

The committee called on the international community to intervene urgently. They also called on the Security Council to transfer the case to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and demanded that an international committee investigates the events as “the Sudanese judiciary is not qualified to punish the criminals involved”.

The spokesperson further explained that the federal government’s delegation did not implement its promises to meet the demands of the committee but did agree to the demands of the sit-in protesters.

On 14 February, the leaders of Massalit and Arab tribes signed an agreement in El Geneina under the hospices of the Sovereignty Council delegation that arrived in the city last week to mediate between the communities and kickstart the process of reconciliation.

The negotiations were mediated by Deputy Commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) Abdelrahim Hamdan Dagalo, the brother of Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemeti’ Dagalo.

The committee also pointed at the failure of the peace agreement signed between the Masalit and Arab tribes as killings continue.

At least seven people were killed and more were wounded on Sunday in clashes in the Misterei area, West Darfur, a day after the signing of an agreement to end hostilities.

On the same day, gunmen also killed Kharashi Taher Baraki and Mohamed El Ghali, northeast of Misterei. Radio Dabanga was not able to verify the details of what happened.

Psychological support 

A representative of the Displaced Women Protection Network said in a press conference yesterday that 10 women were killed during the conflict El Geneina, the last of whom died on Saturday in Khartoum as a result of her injuries.

The group also said that the number of women who were made widows by the violent events reached more than 300.

The representative called for psychological support for female victims to recover from the events. She explained that these women live in bad conditions and face severe psychological and humanitarian challenges.

The Kerending Camp Victims Committee also called for the provision of psychological and social support for the victims and for the families of the martyrs and the wounded.

A UN inter-agency assessment team visited six villages, including Misterei, and identified about 24,900 people who are currently displaced following the attacks around El Geneina locality on January 17 and 18. They explained that most of the newly displaced people are sheltering with host communities and their main needs are access to health, water, sanitation and hygiene services, education, food, emergency shelter, and non-food essentials.

The first 1600 shelter kits were distributed to newly displaced in El Geneina last month (UNHCR)

 

Darfur security

In East Darfur, three people were killed during violent protests in Bahr El Arab locality.

The wali (governor) of East Darfur, Mohamed Aliyu, pledged to conduct a transparent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the killings and authorised security forces to arrest “all the perpetrators who fled after committing these heinous crimes”.

In Central Darfur, member of the Sovereignty Council El Hadi Idris visited the graves of the genocide and ethnic cleansing victims in the Deleig, Mukjar, and the cemetery of Daoud Yahya.

He stressed the need to achieve transitional justice in the region and called for the formation of national courts for crimes committed in Darfur. He further emphasised the need to bring all those involved to a fair trial. 

El Hadi further warned that the current proliferation of weapons in the hands of people and forces ‘outside the control of authorities’ is not reassuring.

Minister of Interior Affairs, Lt Gen Azeledin El Sheikh, stated that the police forces are ready to fully carry out their duty to protect and secure the camps and villages in Darfur according to a national plan. He said that the plan took into account the provision of a distinguished police force.


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