Unamid vehicles hijacked in East Darfur

Two Unamid patrol vehicles were hijacked in East Darfur on Sunday night. The Mission and the State reported that the Wali of East Darfur and a high-level Unamid official were among the passengers.

Two Unamid patrol vehicles were hijacked in Ed Daein, East Darfur, on Sunday night. The Mission and the state authorities reported that none of the passengers, who include the Wali of East Darfur and a high-level Unamid official, were harmed.

The convoy of Sudanese government and Unamid vehicles was returning from a mission in Yassin locality, 60 km west of Ed Daein, a Unamid spokesman told Radio Dabanga on Tuesday. Two kilometres away from the base, unidentified armed men ambushed the group and forced the drivers and passengers to disembark at gunpoint, before they took off with two of the vehicles.

“The Wali of East Darfur and the Head of Office, Unamid Sector East, were part of the travelling delegation,” the spokesman said. “Drivers and passengers were left unharmed at the scene by the hijackers. They walked to a nearby police station and reported the incident.”

One of the passengers confirmed to Radio Dabanga on Monday that they were unharmed.

She reported that authorities managed to recover one vehicle the same night and apprehended a suspect who is now in custody. The second vehicle was recovered on Monday. The mission and government authorities are investigating the incident.

The Governor of East Darfur State, Anas Omer, released a statement on Monday, claiming that the incident was “desperate and poor”, and that the perpetrators wanted to return the state to chaos.

Sudanese singer Walid Zaki El Din told Radio Dabanga yesterday that the convoy consisted of ten vehicles and carried a group of singers, dramatists, and acrobats, including Mahmoud Towur and ‘Shamous’. They were in Yassin locality to hold a cultural night in support of stability in Darfur and the upcoming referendum on the administrative status of the region.

A Unamid patrol was ambushed in North Darfur’s Kutum locality on 7 January. “Unamid condemns such attacks on its personnel,” the mission stated in a press statement at the time.