As UNAMID deploys out of Darfur: ethnically-targeted violence continues on a wide scale | A bi-weekly compendium, No. 5
Eric Reeves | December 4, 2017 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-29s
The failed UN/African Union “hybrid” Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)—the greatest failure in the history of UN peacekeeping and one of the very most expensive—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 have been assembling a brief bi-weekly compendium of foreshortened dispatches from Radio Dabanga and Sudan Tribune (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:
For the period November 18, 2917 – December 4, 2017 (also including several alarming medical dispatches concerning cholera, as well as haemorrhagic fever in Kassala):
• No return of IDPs to their areas despite violence reduction in Darfur: UN official | Sudan Tribune | 19 November 2017
An international official deplored that the decline of clashes with the rebels groups and inter-communal violence did not help to create a conducive environment for the return of displaced people to their area of origin.
[This comes perilously close to blaming the victims for their plight–for the insecurity that UNAMID has been unable to end despite its ten-year deployment (beginning January 1, 2008). The reality is that people don’t leave the displaced persons camps, or the refugee camps in eastern Chad, because they feel—on the basis of excellent intelligence—that security is simply not adequate. Khartoum’s Arab militia forces are still engaged in murder, rape, extortion, robbery, and a range of other violent actions, often specifically directed at returnees; see below—ER]
“The armed groups in Darfur today had largely been defeated, the ferocity of inter-communal violence had declined, and there had been no new large-scale displacements, Bintou Keita,” Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, told the Security Council on Thursday during a presentation of the UN Secretary General’s latest report on the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) “However, those positive developments had not led to the voluntary and sustainable return of internally displaced persons,“ Keita further said, noting that nearly one-third of Darfur’s population remained displaced.
[These “positive developments” most conspicuously do not include a return of land and farms violently expropriated by Khartoum’s militia forces—this is the single greatest obstacle to any sort of meaningful peace agreement. Moreover, those who do attempt to return, having been guaranteed security, are typically assaulted and forced to flee again; this is the reason the camps populations and refugee population in eastern Chad have been so grimly stable for so long: see below—ER]
She pointed that the slow return of IDPs reflects anxiety about security and lack of confidence about present and future prospects due to slow progress in addressing such issues as land, poor resource management, accountability, and security sector reform. According to the UN agencies, nearly one-third of Darfur’s population remained displaced. However, the number of displaced people has remained stable.
[The total population of displaced persons—internally displaced in camps, displaced outside of camps, and refugees in eastern Chad—is approximately 3 million civilians, overwhelmingly from the non-Arab/African populations of Darfur, which were a demographic majority before the war, when the population was estimated to be 6 million to 6.5 million (there has been no reliable census in the region for decades). In other words—and especially if we consider the massive mortality of the past fifteen years—we are talking about HALF the pre-war population, not a “third”—ER]
• AU, UN team visits Darfur to assess UNAMID reconfiguration process | Sudan Tribune | November 17, 2017 (KHARTOUM)
A joint team from the African Union and United Nations has visited Sudan to assess the first phase of the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) reconfiguration [euphemistic crap for “withdrawal“—ER] and make recommendations for the second phase.
[The “second phase” of a perversely self-celebratory failure is certain to be nothing more than further self-celebration, even as the mandate of the Mission continues to be betrayed in the most fundamental ways. Such language is the cruelest of jokes on the people of Darfur—ER]
• Sudan women centres run campaign against gender-based violence | Radio Dabanga | November 24, 2017 | KHARTOUM
Sudanese women rights centres launched the Women’s Initiative and Building Trust campaign to combat violence against women on Thursday, against the backdrop of activities against tea sellers in Khartoum. The campaign will run for 16 days straight until 10 December and shed more light on the issue of gender-based violence while raising efforts to combat the problem in Sudan. The Sima Centre for Training and Protection of Women and Children’s Rights, the Gender centre, Sobat, Asimat, and Alaq participate in the campaign.
They will host a number of activities and events. Nahid Jabrallah, the head of the Sima centre in Khartoum, told Radio Dabanga that she is surprised that female genital circumcision and domestic violence have still not been criminalised in Sudan. “This should be included in the personal status laws.” Jabrallah also pointed to the prevalence of sexual violence against women. “The campaign is aimed at ending sexual, social and economic violence against women.”
[Sexual violence against girls and women has been something UNAMID has never taken seriously, and it has failed massively in its reporting responsibilities in this arena. The quarterly reports of former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon typically reflected UNAMID’s reporting failures—ER]
• Mother killed, daughter raped on farm in North Darfur | Radio Dabanga | November 21, 2017 | TAWILA
A woman was stabbed to death and her daughter raped in Tawila locality in North Darfur on Monday. Two armed men attacked Maryam Yagoub Suleiman and her 16-year-old daughter when they were willing their farm in Daba Naira, north of Tawila. “They attempted to rape the daughter,” said a relative of the two. “Maryam fought back, but the attackers stabbed her with a knife and killed her on the spot.” The attackers, two armed herders, subsequently raped the daughter at gunpoint. “She has been taken to El Fasher for treatment. We have filed a complaint to the police,” the relative reported to Radio Dabanga.
[The need for adequate reporting by UNAMID and other international actors on the continuing epidemic of sexual violence in Darfur could hardly be more obvious. The continuation of such attacks is but one more measure of UNAMID’s ghastly failure—ER]
• Sudanese forces storm IDPs camp in West Darfur in search of weapons | Sudan Tribune | November 20, 2017 (KHARTOUM)
A joint government force on Monday has raided Abu Zar camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in West Darfur state as part of the forcible phase of the disarmament campaign.
[We should expect to see many more such reports as the “disarmament campaign” continues, and Khartoum pursues its plans for dismantling the camps for displaced persons—ER]
• Sudan plans to attack IDPs camps in Darfur: SRF | Sudan Tribune | November 24, 2017 (KHARTOUM)
The Sudanese Revolutionary Forces (SRF) led by Minni Minnawi has warned against government plot to attack the IDPs camps in Darfur under the pretext of the disarmament campaign.
[There is already far too much evidence of such plans on the part of the Khartoum regime; whatever one thinks of the SRF as a source of intelligence, there is a cogency to the claim here that is not only supported by the evidence to date but by the announced ambitions of the Khartoum regime. See especially report by Suliman Baldo for the Enough Project:
Ominous Threats Descending On Darfur: Overview: Weapons Collection Campaign With “Shoot to Kill” Orders | Suliman Baldo, The Enough Project | November 9, 2017
• UNAMID, OHCHR urges Sudan to focus on Darfur displaced civilians | Sudan Tribune | November 21, 2017 (KHARTOUM)
Sudanese government has to improve security, humanitarian and human rights situation of displaced people in Darfur as the end of armed clashes creates conducive conditions to engage in effective, and durable policies said a joint UN report released on Tuesday.
[These are meaningless, vacuous demands, made of a regime that it is fully capable of ignoring ALL UN and international demands—ER]
From January 2014 to December 2016 the hybrid peacekeeping operation (UNAMID) documented 1,286 allegations of human rights abuses and violations against 3,358 victims, including 2,108 women and 299 children.
[Such recordkeeping by UNAMID is grotesquely inadequate to the realities it is supposed to reflect. UNAMID’s gross failure to keep adequate records of murder, rape, violent expropriation of farmland, and much else reflects the poor morale of the Mission, its refusal to investigate much of what is reported to it by Darfuris, and a profound incompetence. The Mission continues to stand as the greatest peacekeeping failure in UN history, even as it has been one of the very most expensive—ER]
• UNAMID probing Mission worker on sexual assault allegation | Sudan Tribune | November 28, 2017 (EL-FASHER)
The hybrid peacekeeping in Darfur (UNAMID) said the Mission and the Sudanese authorities are investigating an allegation of sexual offences by a Mission worker.
[A grim indication of the attitude toward sexual violence by the Mission as a whole, and an indication as well about morale within the Mission—ER]
• Children injured in North Darfur gunfire | Radio Dabanga | November 29, 2017 | TAWILA
Two children were seriously injured when armed militants opened fire on a group returnees in the Katur area of Tawila locality on Monday. Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that armed elements in three Land Cruisers with machine guns and others on camels opened fire indiscriminately at a group of people who have returned to Katur area in the framework of voluntary repatriation. They said that 12-year-old Saadia Hamid Eisa and seven-year-old Abdelhameed Abdelmajeed Adam were seriously injured. The attackers also stole 21 cows and five donkeys.
[To date, this has been a theme for a great many, if not the majority of those who have sought to return to their villages, having been assured of adequate security. This does much to explain what Bintou Keita,” Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, complains of (see first dispatch above—ER]
• Man killed, hijacks in North and South Darfur | Radio Dabanga | November 24, 2017 | KUTUM / KATOR
Militiamen killed a man in a gold mine area near Kutum, North Darfur, on Wednesday. Two government vehicles were hijacked in separate incidents in Darfur.
Three unknown gunmen shot and killed Adam Abdallah Musa at Hashaba, east of Kutum, a witness told Radio Dabanga. At 10 pm the gunmen, riding two motorcycles, opened fire in the Hashaba gold mine area and killed Musa on the spot. On Thursday, eight gunmen hijacked a Land Cruiser belonging to collectors of the locality of East Jebel Marra in South Darfur. A source said that the gunmen opened fire from their vehicle on the road between Deribat to Kator. They shot Abu El Gasim Haroun and seized their vehicle.
[As part of its genocidal “counter-insurgency on the cheap,” Khartoum has created a monster that neither UNAMID nor the RSF can control, and the victims of this militia lawlessness are the civilians of Darfur—ER]
• Three dead in Darfur gun violence | Radio Dabanga | November 20, 2017 | KUTUM / TULLUS / EL SALAM
Three people have died in separate incidents of gun violence in Darfur over the weekend. A farmer was gunned-down in North Darfur, while government forces collecting arms in South Darfur. Witnesses from Farok area north of Kutum in North Darfur told Radio Dabanga that gunmen opened fire on Abdallah Adam while he was tilling his farm at Farok area north of Kutum and killed him instantly. The motive for the shooting was unclear.
In separate incidents, government forces engaged in the campaign to collect arms in Darfur fired on a group which killed two people and injured six others after severely beating them in Tullus and El Salam localities in South Darfur.
• Traditional gold prospector killed by gunmen in North Darfur | Sudan Tribune | November 25, (El-Fasher)
A traditional gold prospector on Thursday was killed by three gunmen in North Darfur state.
[The Jebel Amir gold mining area of North Darfur will remain the epicenter of very considerable violence in North Darfur for the foreseeable future—ER]
• North Darfur tribe leader’s house damaged | Radio Dabanga | November 28, 2017 | MELLIT
The house of King Yasser Hussein Ahmadi, the leader of the Berti tribe in North Darfur, was stormed by members of the Rapid Support Forces on Friday morning. His house has been searched several times. The house search in Mellit locality resulted in the damage to some furniture and was conducted “in a humiliating manner”, the head of the Berti youth group, Mohamed El Haj Yousif, told Radio Dabanga. He reported that a number of RSF members, driving 14 Land Cruisers, raided the King Ahmadi’s house. “They beat one of the guards, broke the outside door and searched the house.” Inside, they broke chairs and parts of the tribal brass artefacts. “This is the fifth time his house has been searched in this shameful and unfortunate manner,” El Haj said. He was unable to report the reasons for the house searches.
[This assault on the king (or Malik) of the Berti is fully revealing of the contempt of the RSF for non-Arab/African people. This should be seen as a portent of the future for African tribal culture in Darfur, and for those non-Arab/African Darfuris in Khartoum, now an immense number—ER]
• Dead, injured in Darfur road accident, shooting | Radio Dabanga | November 22, 2017 | NYALA / GIREIDA
• Al Bashir asks Russia to ‘protect Sudan against US aggression’ |Radio Dabanga | November 26, 2017 | SOCHI
[A powerfully revealing example of the hypocrisy, mendacity and expediency of the Khartoum regime leadership; coming after the lifting of U.S. sanctions, such absurd charges as al-Bashir made in seeking protection against “U.S. aggression” ignores (among other things) the reality of the immense value the U.S. intelligence community places on its new Khartoum embassy, filled with state-of-the-art surveillance, monitoring and other intelligence equipment: it is now the prime U.S. listening post in northern Africa—ER]
• Sudan’s RSF accuses Darfur tribal leader of involvement in foreign conspiracy | Sudan Tribune | November 27, 2017 (KHARTOUM) – Commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, (aka Hametti) Monday confirmed the arrest of Darfur tribal leader Musa Hilal accusing him of involving in a foreign conspiracy against Sudan. Heavy clashes erupted on Sunday between the SRF and Hilal’s Border Guards Forces (BGF) at his headquarters in Mistiriyha, North Darfur state. Hametti told the official news agency SUNA that Hilal and three of his sons, as well as a number of his aides, were captured, stressing the RSF director of general supplies Brigadier Abdel-Rahim Gumma and a number of RSF elements have been killed during the clashes.
[This attack could spur further violence in this part of North Darfur, violence in which civilians will inevitably be caught in the cross-fire—ER]
• Man shot dead | Radio Dabanga | December 1, 2017 | NIERTETI
A man was shot and killed in his house in Central Darfur. The 30 year-old Eisa Adam Eisa Abdelrahman was shot and killed in his house in El Wehda district, Nierteti town, by unknown gunmen. A listener reported to Radio Dabanga that three gunmen arrived at his house and called him to come outside. “They shot him dead on the spot and fled the scene.” Abdelrahman was married and had two children.
• Man murdered, mother found dead in Central Darfur | Radio Dabanga | December 4, 2017 | NIERTETI / ZALINGEI
Gunmen shot and killed a displaced man from Nierteti North camp in Central Darfur on Friday night. In a separate incident, the lifeless body of a displaced woman was found near a market on Saturday. Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that on Friday night gunmen wearing military uniforms opened fire on Jarelnabi Adam Ishag at Block 4 of the Nierteti North camp and instantly killed him.
[Perhaps the most appalling failure of UNAMID is its almost complete inability to protect the camps for displaced persons; indeed, if those attacking the camps are regular troops, the RSF, or sanctioned militias, UNAMID forces simply watch—ER]
• 23 people killed in North Darfur clashes with Musa Hilal fighters: army | Sudan Tribune | November 29, 2017 (KHARTOUM)
North Darfur clashes between the government’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and fighters of the Border Guards Forces (BGF) of Musa Hilal resulted in the death of 23 people from the two sides…
• North Darfur Defence Minister denies civilian casualties in Misteriya raid | Radio Dabanga | November 30, 2017 | MISTERIYA
[Despite the denial by someone who is nothing more than a spokesman for the Khartoum regime, Radio Dabanga reports:
Member of Parliament Eisa Mustafa claims that at least 12 civilians died during the raid on Sunday. Witnesses who fled from and around Misteriya told Radio Dabanga that there was a campaign of arrests of youths and men conducted by the RSF. In an interview with Radio Dabanga, they said that they fled to live rough in the mountains and valleys as the Misteriya area has been besieged and all the roads leading to it were closed since the events broke out Sunday. Appeals via social media demand the siege to be lifted as it is apparently preventing people from burying the dead as bodies are left to decompose in the open.
On Wednesday the UNICEF Resident Representative, Abdallah Fadil, said that a UN delegation would be sent to Misteriya to find out the situation resulting from the clashes in the area. Fadil told a news conference in Khartoum that a UNAMID team would arrive in the area within the next few hours to conduct a field investigation. He added that “we would investigate the violations against the civilians and children there, certainly there are children.”
[Indeed, so where was UNAMID at the time of the obviously impending violence?—ER]
• Detained Central Darfur tribal clan leader dies in Khartoum | Sudan Tribune | November 29, 2017 (EL-FASHER)
A tribal leader and one of the prisoners arrested in Mistiriyha, North Darfur, died on Monday night in a hospital belonging to the Sudanese security service in Khartoum, as his family has accused the has accused the government of executing him.
• Central Darfur prince ‘dies of torture’ in Khartoum | Radio Dabanga | November 29, 2017 | KHARTOUM
The family of Adam Khater, the Prince of Olad Eid in Central Darfur, have accused Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) of torturing the prince to death.
[Such action would be entirely in keeping with the character of NISS. They are masters of torture, and have a free hand from the regime to use this savagery however they wish—ER]
Prince Adam Khater was one of those arrested in Darfur and transferred to Khartoum on Monday along with Musa Hilal, former janjaweed leader and chairman of the Revolutionary Awakening Council. The son of Prince Adam Khater’s brother accused the security apparatus of torturing his uncle to death. He said his uncle was arrested with Musa Hilal at Misteriya and transferred with him to Khartoum. They family was notified of his death after arriving in Khartoum.
The Sudanese Communist Party has warned of the transformation of Darfur into an arena of regional and international conflict and massive wars, as well as bearing the danger of tearing apart the rest of the country in the wake of events in Misteriya, where Hilal, his sons, brothers, and many followers were detained in a raid by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
• West Kordofan students ‘waterboarded’ by Sudan security | Radio Dabanga | November 30, 2017 | BABANUSA
• Sudan Liberation Movement accuses Khartoum government of ‘eliminating Darfur Prisoners of War’ | Radio Dabanga | November 27, 2017 | OMDURMAN
The Sudan Liberation Movement faction led by Minni Arko Minawi (SLM-MM) and the SLM-Transitional Council have accused the government of physically eliminating some of their affiliates, and torturing and amputating parts of others who were captured in fighting in Darfur in May.
The head of the SLM Transitional Council, El Hadi Idris Yahya, explained in an interview with Radio Dabanga broadcast on Monday that 245 members of the two movements were captured. Two of them died in the prison, while some prisoners had legs and hands amputated. He conceded that he was not sure whether the amputations were the result of combat wounds or physical torture.
[We may be sure that whatever the truth of these allegations, they will never be investigated by UNAMID, the UN, or the International Committee of the Red Cross—the Khartoum regime would never permit any such investigation—ER]
• Court orders 83 students shaved in public in northern Sudan | Radio Dabanga | November 26, 2017 | DONGOLA
The community security police of Dongola in Sudan’s Northern state arrested 83 youths last week, most of them students, for ‘odd shaving and wearing inappropriate uniforms’. The arrests are part of an apparent police crackdown on ‘inappropriate dress and hair styling’ for which strict rules apply under Islamic law.
[How shari’a works in Sudan—ER]
• Sudanese returnees face harsh restrictions in Blue Nile state | Radio Dabanga | December 3, 2017 | AL TADAMON
Sudanese pastoralists who have returned to Al Tadamon locality in Blue Nile state complain of restrictions and deterioration of the security situation, especially from militia activity on the border with South Sudan. The pastoralists, many of whom have returned to the town of Bout after being refugees in South Sudan, complained to Radio Dabanga of restrictions imposed by security services and military intelligence on goods coming out of the town and the deterioration of the security situation in the border areas with South Sudan. Callers said that the security services do not allow the pastoralists to take more than 10 kilogrammes of sugar and one kilogramme of flour from the markets. Goods are also allegedly confiscated on the pretext that “they exceed the quantities authorised without a permit from the security services.”
The residents of Bout have confirmed the deterioration of the security situation, especially in the areas bordering South Sudan, because of the presence of South Sudanese militias in the areas of Goz El Mafaza, 80 kilometres southwest of Bout. The pastoralists also complain of the confiscation of more 13 tractors during this year, as well as “the imposition of indiscriminate taxes on the pastoralists while crossing to South Sudan.”
[Blue Nile returnees will have much in common with those attempting to return to their lands in Darfur—ER]
• New cholera cases emerge in Port Sudan | Radio Dabanga | November 29, 2017 | PORT SUDAN
Despite reports of the cholera epidemic abating in Sudan, medical sources continue to note the emergence of new cases of cholera in Port Sudan. Journalist Osman Hashim told Radio Dabanga that according to medical sources “on Friday the Ministry of Health opened two isolation wards at both Port Sudan Hospital and the Children’s Hospital.” He said that on Friday the wards received 12 cholera patients; seven at Port Sudan Hospital and five at the Children’s Hospital.
[The failure of the UN—particularly the World Health Organization and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs—has ensured that cholera has not and likely will not been eradicated in Sudan: there are now simply too many reservoirs of the highly contagious Vibrio cholerae bacterium—ER]
• ‘New cholera cases in Sudan’s Sennar but epidemic abating’: Doctor | Radio Dabanga | November 20, 2017 | SINGA
[This was in Sennar State: nine days later, twelve new cases of cholera were reported in Red Sea State—ER]
• More haemorrhagic fever cases in eastern Sudan | Radio Dabanga | November 19, 2017 | KASSALA
Medical sources report an increasing incidence of haemorrhagic fever in Kassala in eastern Sudan. Three deaths were reported at Kassala hospital in early November. In an interview with Radio Dabanga a healthcare worker who asked not be named strongly criticised “the authorities’ neglect and lack of seriousness in dealing and coping with the disease.” The doctor expressed surprise and dismay that the Ministry of Health has consistently denied an outbreak of the disease in Kassala. He said that most patients must receive treatment at home after being seen by doctors in outpatient clinics because of lack of adequate health care in the hospital.
[An increasing number of haemorrhagic fever cases in Sudan is an extremely alarming development—but yet again, officials of the Khartoum regime refuse to acknowledge the crisis. And again, no comment from the UN’s World Health Organization—ER]