♦ This week’s news in brief ♦

A compact weekly digest of Dabanga Sudan’s highlights of the news from Darfur and Sudan

A compact weekly digest of Dabanga Sudan's highlights of the news from Darfur and Sudan


♦ Large numbers of Darfuris return from Chad

19 February – 2016 EL FASHER / UM DUKHUN Tens of thousands of people who fled the war and tribal conflicts in Darfur to neighbouring Chad have returned in North Darfur State. Independent Member of Parliament of Karnoi, Um Baru and El Tina localities Mohamed Ahmed Minawi Digeish reported the arrival of more than 27,000 displaced people to Um Baru since 16 February. “Another 23,000 refugees have returned from Chad to Karnoi locality and about 13,000 have returned to El Tina locality in North Darfur during the past days.”

A local organisation assessed the basic needs of the returnees. A convoy carrying much-needed goods for the returnees has arrived from the North Darfur capital of El Fasher.
An official source from the International Organization of Migration (IOM) confirmed to Radio Dabanga on Thursday that tens of thousands of Darfuris have returned to the three localities. He reported that 37,000 reached Karnoi, and more than 4,000 people have arrived in El Tina.

According to the UNHCR, the number of reported refugee returns to Darfur in 2015 was 64,000 people (mainly from Chad), meaning that more Darfuris have been returning in a shorter period of time this year. IOM is yet to confirm last year's return cases. On 15 February, the Governor of North Darfur, Abdelwahid Yousif announced the return of 61,000 Darfuri refugees from Chad and the Central African Republic. He held a meeting with the State Minister of Interior, Babikir Ahmed Digna, and a representative of the UNHCR in Khartoum to discuss the office's activities in the region.

The refugees desire to return to their home villages, the governor said, and he requested the UNHCR to “provide visible services such as water and shelter, rather than simple aid”. He added that there are preparations in place to receive the returnees from Chad.

By the end of last year, there were close to 300,000 Sudanese refugees (mainly from Darfur) in Chad and another 2,000 in the Central African Republic (CAR).

An estimated 22,600 Darfuri refugees, mainly from the Salamat tribe, returned from eastern Chad to the area of Muradaf in Central Darfur last year, following the Chadian government’s decision to close the Abu Gadam refugee camp. They had fled tribal clashes between the Salamat and Misseriya in Um Dukhun more than two years ago. The refugees opted not to return to their areas of origin in villages south of Um Dukhun town, which they still see as unsafe to return to because of the continued presence of Misseriya tribesmen in these areas.

The UN humanitarian office (OCHA) reported in its latest news bulletin that Triangle Génération Humanitaire provided emergency shelters and household supplies for about 5,500 returned refugees in Muradaf in Central Darfur.

There are still an additional estimated 6,500 people in Muradaf who need emergency shelter and essential household supplies, after the IOM completes the registration of these returnees, OCHA reported.


♦ Location of Sudanese pastors 'unknown after arrest'

23 February – 2016 Khartoum Two Sudanese pastors were detained by the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) in December 2015. Their whereabouts are still unknown, a Sudanese human rights organisation reported.

‘Their families and church authority were prevented from visiting them. Both are at risk of torture,’ writes the Human Rights and Development Organization (Hudo) Centre in a statement on Monday.

Pastor Hassan Abdelrahim Kodi (49), Secretary-General of the Sudanese Church of Christ, and Pastor Telal Ngosi (44) were detained on 18 December by NISS officers. They were reportedly questioned about attending a Christian conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Since then, the two pastors have been held incommunicado. The NISS has prevented their families and church representatives from visiting them, or given access to lawyers.

Hudo Centre said that the family and church fear that both could be under torture or ill-treatment. Kodi is known to be suffering from duodenal ulcers.

The human rights organisation called upon the Sudanese president, the Ministry of Justice, and the Minister of Guidance and Endowments to reveal the pastors’ whereabouts and to either charge them with a recognisable offence, or unconditionally release them. It stresses the urgent need for access to proper health care for Kodi.

Hudo said it frequently receives reports about detention and ill-treatment of Christians in Sudan. The NISS arrested Rev. Kuwa Shemaal and Rev. Hassan Abdelrahim, both pastors of the Sudanese Church of Christ in Khartoum, in the same period.

On 26 November 2015, voluntary Christian theology teacher Ayoub Kafi Paulus was arrested by police officers and taken to Kafuri police station. He was released two days later, without a legal case registered against him.

On 25 June, police detained twelve Christian young women and filed a case against them under Article 152 regarding indecent dress. Ten of the women were charged, but a Khartoum North court sentenced two of them and dismissed the other cases.

South Sudanese pastors Michael Yat Ruot and Peter Yein Reith were held in prison for eight months last year. Both were held incommunicado until 1 March, when they were charged by the NISS of offending Islam, punishable by flogging, and undermining the constitutional order and espionage, which potentially carry the death penalty or life imprisonment. They were released and returned to South Sudan in August.


Other highlights from Dabanga Sudan


No-go for aid workers in Central Darfur temporary: state Minister

February 22 – 2016 TUR / KHARTOUM The Sudanese Air Force continued its bombardment of the western part of Jebel Marra. in response to the resulting humanitarian crisis, the State…

Italian delegation visits Sudan to discuss migration

February 22 – 2016 KHARTOUM The Italian government mission’s visit to Sudan was concluded on Wednesday. Migration issues were at the centre of the entire mission. Officials of the Italian Ministry of Interior…

Darfur: 'No time to flee bombers' in Jebel Marra

February 21 – 2016 JEBEL MARRA A basic school was destroyed in an air raid on Tireinay village in Jebel Marra on Thursday. Health assistants found 361 malnourished children among the people hiding…

Darfur rebel leader responds to US concern over Jebel Marra violence

February 21 – 2016 WASHINGTON / PARIS The USA expressed its deep concern about the increased violence against civilians and the grave humanitarian situation in and around Jebel Marra in Darfur…

SPLM-N ‘destroy convoy’ in Kilgo, Blue Nile

February 21 – 2016 KILGO On Saturday, combatants of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) reportedly destroyed a military convoy in the area of Kilgo in Blue Nile state. The…

Farmers attacked, 16-year-old raped in North Darfur

February 21 – 2016 TABIT On Thursday, a group of militiamen on camels ambushed a number of tobacco farmers in a valley near Tabit. They wounded a man, gang-raped a girl, and stole more than 200… 

Wounded dam protester: 'Khartoum security was extremely violent'

February 19 – 2016 KHARTOUM The former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ibrahim Taha Ayoub, who participated in the anti-dam demonstration in Khartoum on Wednesday is recovering from his…

UN: ‘73,000 civilians now displaced by recent Darfur conflict’

February 17 – 2016 KHARTOUM The number of civilians displaced as a result of the recent conflict in Darfur’s Jebel Marra area has increased from 38,000 to 73,000, according to the latest estimates by…


This digest is an excerpt from the weekly Darfur & Sudan News Update. Subscribe to the newsletter here