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West Darfur fears new attacks

January 9 - 2022 EL GENEINA / JEBEL MOON
People fleeing bloody attacks on the Kerending camps for the displaced, West Darfur, January 2021 (Social media)
People fleeing bloody attacks on the Kerending camps for the displaced, West Darfur, January 2021 (Social media)

Large numbers of militants armed with heavy weapons are reportedly gathering again in the areas north-east of El Geneina, in particular in Jebel Moon.

“More violent incidents are imminent,” civil society leader Hatem El Fadil said in an interview with Radio Dabanga’s Voices from the States programme on Wednesday. “Many people are expecting new attacks on villages and neighbourhoods again.”

The civil society leader attributed the continuation of violence in West Darfur to “the authorities’ lack of desire to prevent the incidents by interfering before they occur, the failure to bring the perpetrators to justice, the use of weak and failing means to address the problem, in addition to the large spread of weapons in the hands of civilians, and the open borders between Sudan and neighbouring Chad”.

He further reported that a driver was shot dead in an attack on a commercial vehicle near Mazroub on the Saraf Omra-El Geneina road on Wednesday.

The armed robbers shot at the vehicle, sources from the area reported. Driver Sheikheldin Eisa was killed instantly. Passenger Abdallah Bakheet was wounded.  The attackers then fled.

'Not tribal'

In November and December last year, large groups of militant Arab tribesmen attacked villages, towns, and camps in Jebel Moon, Kereinik, and Sirba in West Darfur. At least 200 people were killed, dozens of villages burned to ashes, and thousands fled to other parts of the state or to neighbouring Chad.

Leaders of Arab tribes and the Misseriya in Jebel Moon signed a non-aggression pact in El Geneina on December 9, but the other attacks are seemingly not related to tribal conflicts.

According to Ahmed Ishag, member of the Committee for Stopping the Massacres in West Darfur, the violence had “absolutely nothing to do with tribal conflicts, and any attempt to describe it in this way is a complicity in the crime”. The attacks came at harvest time “in a clear targeting to destroy livelihoods in a premeditated crime that can only be described as genocide and ethnic cleansing”.

In end December 2020, large groups of militant herders attacked neighbourhoods of el Geneina and surrounding camps for the displaced. At least 80 people were killed and more than 47,000 people were displaced. Reports in the media spoke about tribal clashes, but this was denied by the High Committee for Managing the West Darfur Crisis and the Forces for Freedom and Change.

Many victims blamed janjaweed and militant herders riding in vehicles belonging to the Rapid Support Forces militia for the violence. They also claim the West Darfur authorities had prior knowledge of the attacks, and did nothing to prevent or stop them.

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