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West Darfur market killings condemned

April 12 - 2017 EL GENEINA
A pall of smoke hangs over Kerending camp as the market  burns (9 April 2017)
A pall of smoke hangs over Kerending camp as the market burns (9 April 2017)

The shooting at Kerending camp in El Geneina in West Darfur, that left two women and a child dead, and at least 12 people injured on Sunday has prompted a chorus of condemnation from outraged voices across Darfur.

The Darfur Bar Association issued a statement on Tuesday saying that “the attack [on Rokroko market of Kerending camp] in which force of arms was used without warning, nor measures taken to remove the market, are weak justifications.

The problems started when the Commissioner of El Geneina announced his decision to remove the Kerending camp market earlier this week.

After the displaced strongly opposed the idea, the Commissioner ordered police and security forces to remove the market by force. On Sunday morning they torched the market stalls, whereupon camp residents set fire to the police post and a number of locality buildings in the area. Other took to the streets in a protest march.

The government forces then started to shoot at the protesters. 

“The attack on the market used excessive force, in which the property of the displaced people and the goods in the shops were burned,” the Bar Association says.

The statement condemned the practices of the authorities of West Darfur and El Geneina and held them responsible for the loss of innocent lives of civilians and the destruction and theft of their private property.

The Bar Association called for a speedy investigation and accountability, and for criminal charges to be filed against the officials. The Association also calls for compensation for the displaced for their material losses.

Call for resignation

In Khartoum, MP Siham Saleh Hasabullah held the Governor of West Darfur, Fadlul Mawla El Haja and his government responsible for the incidents, and demanded his resignation.

In an interview with Radio Dabanga, Siham confirmed that three people were shot dead and 12 others were wounded at camp Kerending when the displaced people protested against the decision to remove the market and transfer it east of El Geneina

She called on the Attorney-General for the formation of an independent committee to investigate the incident and bring those involved to justice.

In El Geneina the Forum of the Political Forces in West Darfur condemned the incident and held the Commissioner responsible for the incidents, called for forming a committee to investigate the facts and conduct an inventory into the material and human losses.

The statement also called for compensation for those affected and provision of basic services to the popular market so that it will be an attractive environment for commercial activity.

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