‘Tawila is military area, people may be targeted’: militia commander, North Darfur

A RSF commander tells displaced people that anyone present in the military area will be a legitimate target to rob. He further claims returning stolen livestock to their owners.

A commander of the Sudanese Rapid Support Forces has told people in Tawila locality, North Darfur, that it is a military area now and anyone present there will be a legitimate target for the paramilitary troops – including their money and livestock. On the other hand, the force claims it has returned stolen livestock to their rightful owners.

Speaking to Radio Dabanga, Omda Mukhtar Bosh of the internally displaced camps in Tawila reported that a RSF commander presented his demands during a meeting with displaced people of Rwanda camp on Sunday.

“He said that East Jebel Marra now has become a theatre for military operations and that whoever is present there, all his money, property and livestock will be seized from them.”

The commander, Colonel Gidou Mohamed Hamdan Ahmed, heads a paramilitary force of about 100 armed Land Cruisers, allegedly on its way to fighting the armed movements in East Jebel Marra.

RSF claim returning livestock

In related events, pro-government militiamen stole cattle from three villages in East Jebel Marra on Monday. People in Kokor, Susawa and Hillet Mandi were assaulted by the men.

According to camp leader Bosh, the RSF said that it restored more than 2,000 stolen livestock by pro-government militias from villages in the mountainous region on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The inhabitants of these seven villages fled towards Tabit, which less than 100 km south of El Fasher city.

Bosh explained to Radio Dabanga that people in the region have expressed their doubts about this story, “a game to improve the image of the militia”. He accused the RSF of following prior agreements with other pro-government militias – led by Badur Abu Kineish – to steal the villagers’ cattle, only to return them to their owners later.

“The people believe that they are the ones stealing their property.” The omda said that Tawila’s commissioner Abdelhadi Abdallah strongly defended the RSF during the meeting.