Surge of crime in Darfur amid UNAMID exit
Darfur witnessed various incidents of crime in the past days. An ambulance and a commercial vehicle were robbed in North Darfur, while thieves stole solar panels and batteries from a power station in Central Darfur. The governor of Central Darfur, Adib Abdelrahman, warned for an increase in violence and crime after the scheduled UNAMID exit.
On Monday, seven gunmen in Rapid Support Forces (RSF) uniform robbed an ambulance carrying Dr Maawiyah Hassan, the medical director of Karnoi Rural Hospital, and his wife. The pair was on its way from Karnoi to El Fasher in North Darfur.
Hassan said that when they got stuck in the valleys of the Um Shadug area, seven gunmen carrying Kalashnikovs had helped them pull the vehicle from the mud. They then proceeded to threaten the driver at gunpoint and robbed the ambulance, after which they ran over Hassan’s wife and fled.
Hassan explained that he and his wife had to wait on the side of the road until a bus arrived, carrying 60 passengers from El Tina to El Fasher. They were then transported to Kutum, where his wife received treatment at the Kutum Hospital.
In a separate incident on Monday morning, gunmen stole mobile phones, 42,000 SDG* worth of cash, and other belongings from a commercial vehicle carrying a shipment of onions. Witnesses explained to Radio Dabanga that four gunmen travelling on two motorcycles intercepted the vehicle, owned by Adam Koi, on its journey from El Fasher to Kabkabiya, North Darfur.
In yet another incident, containers for solar panels and batteries, including more than 2,000 cells, went missing from Garsila power station, Wadi Salih locality in Central Darfur. After discovering that the items had gone missing, the executive director of the power station Mutassim Sherifeldin confirmed that the local authorities opened a report against the unknown thieves.
The police later arrested two suspects, both of which were again released not long after.
The incidents followed a period of unrest with a surge in robberies and kidnappings in Darfur.
The governor of Central Darfur, Adib Abdelrahman, warned for an increase in violence and crime if the withdrawal of the joint United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) goes ahead as scheduled. The UNAMID mission is set to leave its headquarters in the states of South and West Darfur on December 31.
The governor called on those who protested against the exit of UNAMID to ‘‘exercise restraint’’. He assured the protesters of his government’s ability to protect them and provide security through the joint forces of the army, police, and RSF.
Amnesty International has urged the UN Security Council to extend its mandate for the joint peacekeeping mission in Darfur by at least six months “in light of failure by government security forces to protect civilians in recent months”.
Amnesty International is concerned about the UNAMID exit given the national security forces’ failure to step up and protect civilians from attacks in recent months. Earlier this month, Radio Dabanga reported that UNAMID identified 47 cases of human rights violations and the displacement of more than 50,000 people in Darfur between September 1 and November 23 of this year.
*USD 1 = SDG 55.1375 at the time of posting, according to the daily middle US Dollar rate quoted by the CBoS. Effective foreign exchange rates however can vary widely on Sudan’s parallel market, where the greenback is selling for SDG 264.
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