As UNAMID deploys out of Darfur: ethnically-targeted violence continues on a wide scale | A bi-weekly compendium, No. 3
Eric Reeves | November 3, 2017 | http://wp.me/s45rOG-8177
The failed UN/African Union “hybrid” Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)—which has shamelessly and with gross inaccuracy celebrated its success for the almost ten years during which it has been charged with protecting civilians and humanitarians—continues (per its most recent reauthorization by the UN Security Council | June 2017) to draw down its forces on a scale ensuring that what exceedingly limited protection the Mission has offered will be greatly reduced. 44 percent of military personnel are now deploying out of Darfur and 30 percent of the policing personnel. The knock-on effects of withdrawing this hopelessly misconceived, demoralized, ill-equipped, and badly led Mission are many.
Some of the greatest consequences will be a reduction in humanitarian access; for example, since the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) flies only to areas militarily protected, locations abandoned by UNAMID troops will no longer be accessible. This is especially perverse since a condition for the permanent lifting of U.S. economic sanctions by the Trump administration was the improvement of humanitarian access in Darfur. The UN’s current estimate of the number of people in Darfur in need of humanitarian assistance is 3 million.
Tragically, the greatest consequence of UNAMID’s deployment out of Darfur are the continuation, and in some places acceleration, of daily ethnically-targeted attacks on civilians throughout Darfur, primarily by Arab militias controlled or sanctioned by Khartoum. Non-Arab (African) civilians continue to be—as they have been for more than fourteen years—subject to murder, rape, displacement, and loss of property and goods.
There is good reason to believe that we will see in the reports from Darfur (conveyed primarily by Radio Dabanga) continuation, even expansion, of these attacks. Only the fact of previous vast destruction of African villages and the violent expropriation of farmlands, and the massive concentration of displaced persons (some 2.7 million in Darfur itself, another 320,000 in eastern Chad refugee camps) limits the scale of attacks. Moreover, we should remember that some 600,000 people have been killed as a direct or indirect result of violence over the past fourteen years: this approaches ten percent of the pre-war population in Darfur (see | http://sudanreeves.org/2017/01/05/quantifying-genocide-darfur-mortality-update-august-6-2010/).
As a crude barometer of the scale of violence, I will be assembling weekly a brief compendium of foreshortened dispatches (all with sources on the ground). For surveys covering more extensive periods the violent expropriation of African farmlands (November 2014 – November 2016) and the rape of girls and young women (for the years 2014 and 2015), see:
Herewith the third (bi-weekly) compendium of violence reported from Darfur during the withdrawal of UNAMID.
The dispatches are all from Radio Dabanga, although several of the links I provide in my commentary are to related dispatches from Sudan Tribune. All emphases in bold are mine; the emphases in orange bold are of particularly significant highlights or passages:
• “Raids and siege tactics” to be used in North Darfur arms and vehicle collection | October 25, 2017 | KHARTOUM / KUTUM / KABKABIYA
The Chairman of the High Committee for the collection of weapons and unlicensed vehicles has said in the Khartoum that “the forced collection of weapons through raids and siege will be carried out decisively in all the targeted states in the coming days.” This was announced yesterday by Ahmed Abdallah El Naw, chairman of the High Committee after the regular meeting of the committee at the Republican Palace under the chairmanship of Sudan’s Vice-President Hassabo Abdelrahman. [During the fearsome assaults on the populations of East Jebel Marra and the Jebel Marra massif itself, Hassabo referred to the non-Arab/African populations of these areas as “insects,” and that “none should be left alive”—ER https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/sudan0915_insert_lowres_with_cover.pdf/]
El Naw said that the imposition of the prestige of the state is a primary objective of the weapons collection, which will be “carried out decisively, especially in the areas of Kabkabiya and Kutum after the attack carried out by a group led by El Safana which was defeated. El Naw was referring to an incident that closed the market of Kutum on Monday, when a group of rebel militants led by Ali Rizgallah El Safana allegedly took goods from a shop and did not pay. The attackers fled when a large force of paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) entered the town. [Intra-Arab fighting has been one of the least reported features of violence in Darfur over the past fourteen years; but its prominence is assured by the increasingly ferocious battle over the spoils of genocidal counter-insurgency, as well as control of the Jebel Amir gold mining area of North Darfur; see below the report on Musa Hilal’s Revolutionary Awakening Council —ER]
El Naw stressed that “the military security committee has all the means to start the second phase of the collection of weapons.” [It is clear the Khartoum’s collection of weapons in Darfur—where they exist in almost incomprehensibly large numbers—will now be undertaken violently (with the passing of the “voluntary” phase of weapons collection). Darfur’s IDPs will often be caught in both the intra-Arab fighting as well as the efforts to dismantle camps, where Khartoum insists—with no proof—that large quantities of weapons are hidden. There will be more bloodbaths of the sort we have seen repeatedly at Kalma camp and at Nierteti earlier this year—ER]
In total, 12,500 Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militiamen have been deployed to North Darfur with the purpose to assist in the forced collection of illegal weapons from civilians and the control of illegal vehicles. The deadline for people to voluntarily hand in their weapons ends tomorrow. [The RSF has clearly been given the job of creating the “security” Khartoum envisions in the “new Darfur; given the role of the RSF in Darfur’s genocidal violence over the past several years, this is ominous in the extreme—ER]
The arrival of the paramilitary force, operating with the title ‘New Dawn’, may lead to an explosion of the situation in North Darfur, claimed the Revolutionary Awakening Council (RAC) led by the former janjaweed leader Musa Hilal. “The militias of the ‘New Dawn’ arrived in Kutum yesterday. But they do not intimidate us, and we are ready to confront them if they attack our sites,” the movement announced last week. [This makes clear the inevitability of large-scale violence in North Darfur in the near term—ER]
• “Khartoum intends to dismantle Darfur camps by force”: Abdelwahid | October 23, 2017 | PARIS
[I try not to rely on the assessments of rebel leaders and spokesmen, since they have so often proved unreliable in the past. But here Abdel Wahid al-Nur is exactly right: see my extended account explaining why I think so | October 23, 2017—ER]
• Two dead, man’s hand hacked-off in Darfur robberies | November 3, 2017 | NYALA / KUTUM / GULDO
A displaced man was killed, and his brother’s hand hacked-off on the road between camp El Salam and Kalma camp near Nyala, South Darfur on Tuesday evening. In separate incidents, a man was shot dead in North Darfur, and a woman seriously injured in Central Darfur. [This is all too characteristic of the violence reported regularly in Darfur—violence the radically reduced and already militarily incompetent UNAMID cannot halt—ER]
Yagoub Furi, Coordinator of the Darfur Displaced and Refugees Association told Radio Dabanga that on Tuesday evening four gunmen attacked brothers Suleiman and Hassoun Abdallah while they were on their way from camp Kalma to camp El Salam for a visit of some relatives. The gunmen opened fire on Hassoun and killed him instantly. They then cut-off the hand of Suleiman with a knife, took the amputated hand with them and fled. He explained that the incident was reported to Beleil police and Suleiman Abdallah was taken to Nyala Hospital.
Gunmen shot dead Siddig Suleiman, resident of Kassab camp in Kutum locality in North Darfur at noon on Wednesday. A camp sheikh told Radio Dabanga that gunmen riding camels attacked Siddig Suleiman while he was winnowing grain on his farm at Jumbo area north of the camp. They tried to take his grain and when he refused, they fired two bullets at him which killed him instantly. [This inability to farm or return to farms they once owned is the most deadly legacy of fourteen years of violent destruction and expropriation of the assets (land, cattle, valuables) of non-Arab/African populations throughout Darfur—ER]
Displaced people and residents of Fata Borno of Kutum locality in North Darfur have complained about continued attacks by the militias against the residents and their cattle trespassing the farms by force of arms. Yesterday displaced persons and residents of Fata Borno told Radio Dabanga that large numbers of militias after being driven out of Kutum by the rapid support forces have moved to Fata Borno and stationed there. A farmer said that 10 days ago these militias began taking their livestock to graze in the farms by force of arms and assaulting the residents in the market, the camp and the districts of Fata Borno. The farmer demanded government forces to speed up removal of these militias from the area.
A woman named only as Amina was wounded in a shooting at Guldo in Jebel Marra in Central Darfur on Thursday. One of Amina’s relatives told Radio Dabanga that one of the herders shot her while she was trying to drive the camels from her farm. He said the shooting caused serious wounds to her thigh, abdomen and shoulder and that she was taken in a serious condition to Guldo Hospital.
• South Darfur displaced call for UNAMID protection after Sudan government show of force | November 3, 2017 | KALMA CAMP
[See my extended commentary on the implications of this terrifying episode for the IDPs at Kalma camp, which has been violently attacked previously by both regular and militia forces of the Khartoum regime—ER]
• “Enforced Darfur arms collection enters second phase”: Vice President [Hassabo] November 1, 2017 | KHARTOUM / NYALA
[The second phase, of course, is forcible confiscation of weapons, or declaring such confiscation to be the goal in attacks on IDP camps, this as part of the effort to dismantle the camps, something that Hassabo has long championed—ER]
• Displaced in South Darfur’s Mershing to demonstrate against herder attacks | October 31, 2017 | MERSHING
The residents of the camps for the displaced in South Darfur’s Mershing plan to stage a demonstration on Wednesday against attacks by herders on farmers in the locality.
The demonstration against the killing of Mohamed Abakar and Adam Hassan on Saturday will move from the mourning tent to the locality’s headquarters, a camp sheikh told Radio Dabanga. The two displaced farmers were shot dead by militant herders when they were trying to drive livestock from their land near Mershing on Saturday afternoon. A number of other farmers were wounded. [Until non-Arab/African farmers can resume, with security, their traditional farming lives—in large numbers—the violent tensions that plague all regions of Darfur will not end. This basic point seems lost on those international actors—including especially the U.S.. the European Union, the UN, and the African Union—who have fashioned the various peace “processes” and “agreements” that manage to exclude the voices of Darfuri civil society—ER]
Military troops managed to capture three of the alleged attackers, who are now being held in the prison of Menawashi. Market vendors closed their shops on Monday for the second day in a row in protest against the frequent herders’ attacks on farmers in the area. The camp sheikh said that the protesters plan to hand a memorandum to the authorities of Mershing demanding that “the perpetrators will escape trial on the pretext that they belong to government militias such as the Rapid Support Forces or the Border Guard as happened so many times in the past.” [It is difficult to overstate the significance of this quiet impunity after arrest of those who have served in Khartoum’s militias: giving the appearance of “justice,” the arrests are typically a complete hoax—ER]
• Displaced woman shot in North Darfur camp | October 31, 2017 | KUTUM
A woman was shot during a rape attempt at her home in Kutum camp in North Darfur on Sunday. A relative of victim told Radio Dabanga that a gunman raided the shelter of Halima Ahmed in Kutum camp on Sunday evening with the intention to rape her. “When she resisted, he shot her in her chest and thigh,” he said. “She is now being treated in Kutum Hospital.” Camp residents and policeman set up a search posse that managed to apprehend the attacker.
• North Darfur: RSF troops shoot two, shave Mahameed girl’s head | October 31, 2017 | KUTUM / DAMRAT EL SHEIKH
Two people were wounded when members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia opened fire on a vehicle in Kutum in North Darfur on Monday. The vehicle was carrying a Mahameed tribesman and his daughter from Damrat El Sheikh, who were on their way to Kutum to complain that militiamen had shaved the girl’s head. Member of the North Darfur parliament Adam Manan told Radio Dabanga that RSF militiamen opened fire on the commercial vehicle carrying the 13-year-old Mahameed girl and her father. He said that El Haj Zakariya and another passenger named Juma sustained bullet wounds. They were rushed to Kutum Hospital. The MP condemned the militiamen for shaving the girl’s hair after they learned she belonged to the Mahameed tribe [the clan of the (Arab) Northern Rizeigat to which Musa Hilal belongs—ER], and called on them not to discriminate against people on the basis of their tribe. [Here we have a clear picture of what kind of “authority” Khartoum has given preeminence in Darfur—ER]
He said that the girl and her father arrived safely in Kutum where they had a meeting with the commander of the Kutum military garrison. “An RSF legal administration officer arrived today [Monday] from El Fasher, who said they will investigate the incident and bring the offenders to trial.”
The girl was accosted by RSF militiamen while taking livestock for grazing near Damrat El Sheikh in Kutum locality on Friday. When they learned she belonged to the Mahameed clan, headed by Musa Hilal – a janjaweed leader who turned against the government during the last years – they shaved her head and released her. Hafiz Mohamed, a cousin of the victim, told this station that the incident aroused huge resentment among the victim’s relatives. “We consider it a straightforward provocation.”
He said that members of UNAMID, including a human rights defender, accompanied by RSF officers, visited the family of the victim in Damrat El Sheikh on Saturday. “They promised to investigate the incident and punish the perpetrators.” [It is difficult to imagine a more absurd or unlikely prospect than UNAMID investigating and prosecuting a crime committed by a member of the RSF—ER]
• Gunmen wreak havoc in Darfur’s East Jebel Marra | October 31, 2017 | DERIBAT
Militiamen have free rein killing and robbing people in the area of Deribat in East Jebel Marra without any action buy authorities to stop them, according to several residents. “On Saturday and Sunday, groups of militiamen plundered three shops at the Deribat market, stole 10 donkeys from market visitors,” a shop keeper reported to Radio Dabanga from the market. “The price of a donkey exceeds SDG 10,000 (close to $1,500),” he added. He said that the security situation in the area deteriorated despite the presence of government forces guarding the market. “They are doing nothing against militia attacks, although they weekly collect SDG 10,000 protection fees from each shopkeeper.” [We should expect to see a great deal more extorted protection monies of this sort, by the RSF and other elements of Khartoum’s “security” forces—ER]
He called on UNAMID to establish a base in Deribat and protect the residents and their property. [It is deeply painful to see the people of Darfur, year after year, put their faith in the failing and rapidly collapsing UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), the greatest peacekeeping failure in UN history—ER]
• West Darfur Koran student abducted by Chad soldiers | October 31, 2017 | SIRBA
A group of Chadian soldiers abducted a Koran student in West Darfur’s Sirba locality on Sunday. Speaking to Radio Dabanga, a fellow student told Radio Dabanga that a group of Chadian troops in a Land Cruiser stopped in front of the Holy Koran Institute in the area of Soni in Sirba at about 4 pm on Sunday. They raided the premises, seized Adam Osman (45) at gunpoint, and took him with them in the direction of Chad. “Nobody understands why this happened,” he said. “We have informed the authorities in Sirba, but they have not taken any action so far.” [Far too many violent actions in Darfur have no clear cause—or resolution—ER]
• Herders attack, kill farmers in South Darfur | October 30, 2017 | MERSHING / GIREIDA / KHARTOUM
Two displaced farmers were shot dead in the area of Mershing on Saturday. On Sunday, herders attacked and injured two women farmers near Gireida… “About 20 herders on camels opened fire on farmers because they were trying to remove livestock from their land near Mershing on Saturday afternoon,” a resident of Hashaba camp for the displaced reported to Radio Dabanga. “Mohamed Abakar from Tuntubaya camp and Adam Hasan from Hashaba camp were killed instantly.” The farmers formed a search team that traced the herders, and found them in a nomad settlement in the area of Kerengo, seven kilometres from Mershing, on Sunday morning. “The janjaweed then opened fire on the team members. This prompted a military force to go out to the settlement. After an exchange of gunfire with the herders, they captured three of them and took them to the Mershing police station,” the source said. The people of Mershing closed the town market in protest against the repeated attacks by herders on farmers.
In an attack by herders on farmers in Gireida on Sunday, two women farmers were injured. An activist told this station from Gireida that 10 herders wearing military uniforms grazed their cattle on farms in the area of Sennar, seven kilometres south of Jokhana. “When the women attempted to chase the livestock from their land, the herders fired in the air to intimidate them. They then began to beat Khadija Adam, and broke her right hand. Her sister Hanan sustained head injuries. They were both taken to the Jokhana Health Centre.” He cited a previous incident at Donki Sagur, 30 kilometres south of Gireida, where a group of seven gunmen ambushed farmers and robbed them of their mobile phones, a horse, and 20 goats. [This is the grim legacy of fourteen years of unrestrained genocidal counter-insurgency, in which Khartoum’s militia forces were “paid” with the booty of attacks on non-Arab/African farms and villages. Until the issue is recognized and addressed, peace will not come to Darfur, despite various unctuous pronouncements by European diplomats—see in particular my comments on the recent disingenuous and expedient comments of EU Ambassador to Sudan, Jean-Michel Dumond | October 31, 2017—ER]
• Villagers robbed a month after voluntary return to Darfur’s East Jebel Marra | October 28, 2017 | EAST JEBEL MARRA
At least five people, including a young woman, were wounded and many others are missing after an attack and robbery by militiamen on the area of Leiba in South Darfur’s East Jebel Marra on Friday. Hundreds of livestock and villagers’ belonging were stolen.
A village elder complained that the government troops stationed in the area did not intervene to protect the people: “They only fired into the air to protect themselves and to avoid attack by the militiamen.” [This failure to protect any but themselves will be the hallmark of Khartoum’s “security” forces in Darfur going forward—ER]
Fleeing villagers told Radio Dabanga that militiamen in three vehicles mounted with dushka machineguns, and others riding camels and horses, attacked the area of Leiba on Friday morning and fired heavily into the air during the attack. They pointed out that the people, who were previously displaced by hostilities, moved back to the area of Leiba just a month ago in the context of voluntary return. Gisma Adam (18), Abdelhalim Yahya (35), Abdelrazek Yousef (55), Kaltoum Abaker (62), in addition to a girl named Hikma are listed as injured, but callers cautioned that there might be more casualties as several people are still missing or unaccounted for.
• Coal miners abducted in North Darfur | October 28, 2017 | TAWILA
A man and a woman have been forcibly abducted from a coal mine north of Tawila in North Darfur on Friday. A relative of the abductees told Radio Dabanga that four armed militiamen driving a Land Cruiser attacked Abdelhalim Suleiman and Adam Hamed in the afternoon while they were working in a coal mine near Dubet Neira seven kilometres south of Dubo El Omda. They seized Suleiman and Hamed at gunpoint and have taken them to an unknown destination. The motive behind the abduction is still unclear, and relatives have no received any demands for ransom. [Yet another of countless examples of the random and unstoppable violence that Khartoum has loosed upon Darfur and which the international community has proved helpless to halt—ER]
• RSF raid on Darfur gold mine nets weapons, motor cycles | October 27, 2017 | JEBEL AMER / JEBEL MARRA
Large formations of Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in dozens of armed vehicles entered Jebel Amer gold mine in North Darfur, carried out a large-scale search campaign, confiscated weapons and motor cycles and removed kadamols [face-covering masks or scarves—ER] from faces while the opposition militants reportedly fled the mine. At the same time, the same forces carried out another raid at Ghurra area during which they seized weapons and motorcycles. Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that one of the militia members at Ghurra area refused to remove his kadamols and drew a knife, but the soldiers opened fire, wounded him on the leg and then shaved his hair. Colonel Abdelrahman El Jaali said that the forces at Ghurra area managed to seize a large number of motorcycles used by the militias in stealing property of citizens. [Khartoum’s most valued militia force—the Rapid Support Forces (RSF)—are not concerned with legal niceties or indeed capable of any restraint; they will provoke increasing violence in North Darfur and engage in ruthless acts of extortion, murder, and rape as they see fit—ER]
Request for EU support
In Khartoum, the Sudanese government asked the European Union for political and technical support for the arms collection process in Darfur and the rest of the states. The government’s request came during a meeting between the Vice President of the Republic, Hasabo Abdelrahman and the European Union Ambassador to Khartoum, Jean-Michel Dumond at the presidential palace yesterday.
[Let’s be clear what Vice President Hassabo is asking for, and all too likely to receive from the EU: support for the RSF and its actions in “securing” Darfur. Yielding to Khartoum’s request will mark a high-point in European expediency in its rapprochement with the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime—ER]
• Vaccination team injured by gunfire in North Darfur | October 26, 2017 | BIRKAT SERIA
Three members of a child immunisation team of the Ministry of Health in North Darfur were seriously wounded by gunfire by militants at Birkat Seira area in Saraf Omra locality on Tuesday evening. Callers from Birkat Seira told Radio Dabanga that at 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, two militants riding a motorcycle and wearing kadamols opened fire on a rickshaw at Bargo valley in the Birkat Seira area. “El Haj Abdallah, Yagoub Adam, and Nureldin Mohamed were seriously wounded, and taken first to Saraf Omra Hospital and then to El Sareif Beni Hussein Hospital. The attack on the team reportedly took place as they returned from the Malika area east of Birkat Seira after the completion of a vaccination campaign for nomadic children. [There are no limits to the chaotic violence the Darfur genocide has loosed—ER]
• Marauding militants rob and rustle in Darfur | October 26, 2017 | DARFUR
Three people were shot dead and three others were wounded in an attack by militants on Fara village in Tullus locality in South Darfur on Tuesday. The attackers stole a number of cattle.
In a separate incident, militants intercepted two vehicles at Bismillah gate near Mellit in North Darfur on Tuesday and robbed the occupants at gunpoint.
At Um Geigou area south of El Fasher, militants stole 30 camels belonging to a trader, while a number of farmers were injured in a clash with the herders at Azum area of Central Darfur on Wednesday. A woman and a man were taken to Ronga Tas Hospital.
East Jebel Marra
A number of people were wounded, three of them in serious condition in an attack by gunmen on Fogni village north of El Malam in south Darfur’s East Jebel Marra on Tuesday night. Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday night gunmen on camels and horses attacked Fogni village, opened dense fire in the air during the attack and wounded a number of people. Three of them were seriously wounded including: 12-year-old Hawa Younes Ibrahim, Aisha Mohamed Ibrahim and Musa Hamid Ibrahim. Witnesses said the gunmen seized money, property and livestock of the villagers. They pointed to the displacement of a number of the villagers to El Malam in East Jebel Marra locality, and and Dubo El Omda in Tawila locality in eastern Jebel Marra. [This is life for the people of Darfur; the victims of these attacks continue to be, overwhelmingly, of non-Arab/African ethnicity—ER]
• Grazing livestock destroy tracts of Darfur food crops | October 22, 2017 | KUTUM / FORO BARANGA
Farmers in North Darfur’ Kutum locality complain that large tracts of farmland have been destroyed by herders driving livestock onto farms, while their complaints to the police and UNAMID go unanswered. Several farmers independently told Radio Dabanga that they are powerless to prevent the armed herders from driving their livestock including camels and cattle onto farms. They say that especially in Si Janna, Folo, Wadi Zuma, and Wadi Tali, fields of millet, sorghum, okra, watermelon, and Faggous cucumber have been destroyed. This represents a major loss, as the crops are ready to be harvested. [This agricultural destruction will add to the widespread malnutrition in North Darfur: a 2014 UNICEEF report—leaked but unpublished because of pressure from the Khartoum regime—indicates that North Darfur is especially prone to malnutrition, and especially among children. UNICEF reported at the time:
28 percent acute malnutrition among children in North Darfur
35 percent chronic malnutrition (“wasting”) among children in North Darfur]
They said they have filed several complaints to the authorities and UNAMID without any response. UNAMID’s lack of responsiveness to such complaints is entirely in character and of longstanding—again, the Mission represents the greatest failure in the history of UN peacekeeping, a failure to which the African Union leadership has contributed mightily, even while celebrating UNAMID as an “exemplar” for future peacekeeping missions in Africa, a self-congratulating assessment that defies comprehension—or forgiveness—ER]
Farmers of Foro Baranga of West Darfur have also complained of armed herders driving sheep and goats onto their farms by force of arms. The farmers demanded that the authorities to intervene to protect them and their farms against violations and abuses by herders