West Darfur: At least 60 dead in Misterei massacre
At least 60 people were killed and 60 others were wounded in an attack by armed men in Misterei in West Darfur on Saturday morning. Exact figures of casualties are yet to be ascertained, however both the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Sudan, and the West Darfur Doctors’ Committee confirm a death tool exceeding 60. The victims were buried the same day according to Muslim tradition. WARNING: DISTURBING IMAGES
Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that the attack on the area began at around 04:30 on Saturday morning, from two directions. The violence continued for nine hours, leaving at least 42 Misterei residents and 18 of the armed men dead.
OCHA reported that approximately 60 people were injured during the attack. They were transported by helicopter from Misterei to hospitals in the state capital El Geneina.
Members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) were reportedly among the attackers, who arrived in vehicles, on motorcycles, and on horses.
The West Darfur Doctors’ Committee confirmed that it has recorded 51 dead men and nine dead women, listing each one by name.
The doctors strongly condemned the violence and said that they hold the state’s Security Committee responsible for the massacre.
Second attack in a week
This is the second major attack in a week. On July 17, a group of gunmen raided the sit-in in at Misterei, wounding 17 protesters, two of whom later died from their wounds.
Witnesses of the attack criticised West Darfur authorities for moving slowly. Security forces reportedly arrived late on Saturday afternoon, while tension and fears remain the master of the situation in the disaster-stricken area.
In response to increased violence in the region, Hamdok announced yesterday that a joint force of army soldiers, paramilitaries of the RSF, and security officers will be deployed in Darfur.
Officially, the RSF militia, set up by the ousted Al Bashir regime in 2013, was integrated into the Sudan Armed Forces in August last year. At the same time however, the militia stays a force unto itself, commanded by Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemeti’, who also is Deputy President of Sudan's Sovereign Council.
Sit-ins regularly disrupted
On 13 July, militiamen attacked the sit-in of Fata Borno in North Darfur’s Kutum, leaving ten people dead and 17 others wounded.
A sit-in in the East Darfur capital of Ed Daein witnessed heavy deployment of security forces on 15 July.
The spokesperson for the sit-in leaders expressed his surprise about the attempted raid. “Prior to setting up the sit-in, we notified the regular forces. We handed them a map of the area. Members of the Resistance Committees of Ed Daein are securing the sit-in.”
“Certain parties related to the ousted regime [of Omar Al Bashir] are trying to split the revolutionaries by creating negative public opinions and stirring tribal fanaticism,” he stated. “We organised a peaceful sit-in to lend force to our demands concerning the dismissal of officials affiliated with the regime of Al Bashir and the provision of better services.”
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