Pro-government militia members have carried out a dozen attacks on civilians in Darfur when they were tending their farms in August. Monitors of the expelled NGO Sudan Social Development Organisation, operating from the UK, noticed a direct link between the attacks on the civilian population –including killing, robbing, and sexual violence- and the civilians cultivating their fields.
Each attack was accompanied by a threat of further action should civilians continue to work their farms, SUDO publishes in its latest monthly report.
The network of human rights monitors in Darfur, Blue Nile, and South Kordofan have reported and verified 37 incidents of human rights abuses or cases where the rights of civilians were infringed.
'115 killed, 21 raped'
August witnessed the 'killing of at least 115 people, sexual abuse of 21 people, wounding of 56 individuals, and 8 cases of kidnap and abduction'. SUDO reported 19 arrests where the individuals in question are detained in an inhumane manner –in this case, containers- and one case of torture.
The majority (24) of the crimes were committed by pro-government militias, the monitors reported. Five crimes were committed by government forces or officials, three by armed rebel groups, two by ethnic militias, one by unidentified bandits, and two as a result of a serious lack of humanitarian aid and intervention.
SUDO (UK) is greatly concerned by the attacks on farmers as it witnessed continued ethnic conflict in Darfur, this time a resurgence of the conflict between the Fellata and the Salamat. A total of 81 people were killed and 45 injured during tribal clashes following cattle theft.
After peace talks mediated by state officials in South Darfur, SUDO monitors are pleased with the authorities’ decision to no longer pay blood money as compensation for killed members of ethnic groups. This withdrawal of economic assistance may ensure that in future conflicts, ethnic groups themselves are responsible for the payment of blood money, thus removing one form of financial gain from engaging in conflict.