Third day of violence in West Darfur
Hundreds of militants launched an attack on Abu Zar camp in El Geneina yesterday. It was the third day of violence in the West Darfur capital, despite the state of emergency declared by the state governor yesterday.
Witnesses said that houses have been torched again yesterday. Radio Dabanga has so far been unable to confirm details regarding the number of victims.
The West Darfur Doctors Committee said that by Tuesday morning another 32 people were killed and 78 others were injured. In its second report about the violence, the committee stated that the wounded and injured are receiving medical care in El Geneina Teaching Hospital, El Naseem Clinic and other hospitals. A number of injured people need to be evacuated to Khartoum for surgery that is not possible in El Geneina.
The Council of Ministers announced yesterday that a security delegation headed by the Minister of Interior Affairs will head to El Geneina to find out more about the situation. During its meeting yesterday, the ministers decided that the Ministry of Federal Government will organise a special conference in El Geneina. They confirmed that four policemen have been killed during the recent violence.
Activists organised a protest yesterday in front of the cabinet offices to denounce the recent violent events in El Geneina.
The director of the General Coordination of Camps for the Displaced and Refugees said that five neighbourhoods in the city and three camps for the displaced have been attacked. He added that “governmental institutions work in secret to create chaos and political instability”. He stressed the need to restructure the military, security and civil institutions in Sudan.
The Darfur Bar Association (DBA) described what happened in El Geneina over the past days as “amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity”. They said that it must be ensured that such a tragedy will not recur. “Leniency of law enforcement” is the main cause of the conflict, the DBA said.
The DBA called on the transitional government “to deter militants with weapons who are operating outside the scope of the law by enforcing emergency laws and taking political measures”. They also want the government to arrest the perpetrators of the recent violence, ensure that they are brought to a fair trial, and pay compensation for material damage and injuries.
The Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebel movement alliance has welcomed the decision to declare a state of emergency in West Darfur. It calls for political solutions to the crisis. The SRF also called for the acceleration of the formation of the joint forces which are to protect the people in Darfur, as stipulated in the Juba Peace Agreement. These joint forces are to be members of both the Sudan Armed Forces as the armed rebel movements that signed the Juba Peace Agreement.
El Geneina is still recovering from the violence in December and January when large groups of armed men from Arab herding communities attacked El Geneina and the two Kerending camps, killing at least 163 people and leaving more than 130,000 people displaced. The violence took place just weeks after the exit of the joint United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID).
West Darfur is home to the Masalit, a non-Arab sedentary tribe. The governor and local government employees belong to this tribe.
Darfur has a long history of strife between often Arab herding tribes and non-Arab African herders or sedentary farmers, which were exploited by the previous regime of dictator Omar Al Bashir who supported the Janjaweed militia that carried out many attacks on farmers. Al Bashir employed these militias, largely made up of Arab nomads, to repress a revolt over ethnic discrimination in the region, mainly targeting non-Arab African farmers. According to the UN, the conflict left at least 300,000 people dead and displaced more than 2.5 million.
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