Unrelenting Violence in Darfur: Recent Reporting by Radio Dabanga
Eric Reeves | January 11, 2018 | https://wp.me/s45rOG-8415
Violence, especially sexual violence against girls and women, remains unchecked in Darfur; violence associated with the ruthless Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and its campaign of “disarmament,” also remains a threat throughout Darfur. The militia force is undisciplined and given a free hand to steal, intimidate, extort, rape, and murder. Much of this occurs under cover of Khartoum’s ghastly “disarmament” campaign for Darfur.
The UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), which took up its civilian protection mandate exactly ten years ago, has never seemed more impotent and unresponsive to civilian needs. It has proved utterly impotent in halting the predations of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Khartoum’s primary militia force in Darfur. Having been officially incorporated into the Khartoum regime, the RSF enjoys total impunity in committing its massive and widespread predations.
And yet UNAMID is all the international community is willing to offer to protect the 3 million people internally displaced in Darfur or refugees from Darfur in eastern Chad. Coupled with declining humanitarian resources and continuing regime hostility to international relief efforts, the future looks unspeakably grim for the non-Arab/African people of Darfur who make up the overwhelming majority of those displaced—and the some 600,000 people who have died from the direct and indirect consequences of violence over the past fifteen years.
The new budget proposed by the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime—promising catastrophic effects on poorer civilians throughout Sudan, and in certainly Darfur—has led to the beginning of countrywide protests. Two have been killed so far (the first a secondary student in el-Geneina, West Darfur), many have been injured, and there have also been a great many arrests. Violence in recent weeks has been especially prominent in Central and South Darfur (UNAMID has of course not established the base at Golo that was part of the withdrawal agreement with the Khartoum regime made last June; there are no signs that it will become active anytime soon in this extremely volatile part of Central Darfur).
But violence is pervasive, if largely unseen in Darfur; Radio Dabanga is our only regular, detailed source of information, and it can only be partial in its coverage.
It is difficult to recall that ten years ago Darfur was a cause célèbre among activists, human rights groups, anti-genocide campaigners, journalists, and even politicians. Today Darfur’s agony is shamefully, disgracefully invisible…
Dispatches from Radio Dabanga, December 28, 2017 – January 11, 2018 (many dispatches report multiple violent incidents against civilians)
• Darfuri student killed in Sudan protests against price hikes | January 8, 2018 | EL GENEINA / NYALA / ED DAMAZIN / KHARTOUM
On Sunday, the third day of demonstrations against the 300% price increases that hit the country last week, a student was killed in the West Darfur capital of El Geneina. Other parts of the country witnessed protests as well, When demonstrators in El Geneina set fire to the local headquarters of the ruling National Congress Party in the city, government forces opened fire on the crowd. Secondary school student El Zubeir Ibrahim Sikiran was killed instantly. Eight others were wounded. Dozens were detained.
The West Darfur authorities ordered the formation of committee to investigate the killing. All schools are closed for a week.
Sudan imports many food items and most of the medicines needed. In 2015, Sudan imported more than two million tons of wheat at a cost of $1.5 billion. The recurrent flour crises during the past few years have been attributed to the scarcity of foreign currency.
Rapid Support Forces
On Sunday morning, secondary school students demonstrated also in Nyala, capital of South Darfur. They chanted slogans against the doubling of the bread price. Others blocked the main three streets in the city with burning tyres for several hours. The South Darfur authorities deployed large numbers of militiamen belonging to the Rapid Support Forces in the centre of the capital to support the state police. In Ed Damazin, people took to the streets on Saturday morning. The security forces used tear gas and excessive force to break up the demonstrations that moved from various neighbourhoods of the Blue Nile State capital to the city market. A student reported to this station that two houses in El Zuhour district burned down during the violence. Dozens of demonstrators, among them a number of students of the Blue Nile University, were held, and have been taken to an unknown destination.
The Rapid Support Forces are extremely well armed and equipped by Khartoum; they operate with total impunity.
On Friday and Saturday, Khartoum, Atbara, and Sennar witnessed small protests in a number of neighbourhoods as well. A demonstration of students of the University of Khartoum on Sunday afternoon was immediately halted by police forces who closed the nearby streets, and used tear gas to disperse the protesters. Students told this station that many of them suffered from breathing problems because of the excessive use of tear gas. An unknown number of students were wounded. Dozens were detained.
On Sunday, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Interior Affairs, Babikir Digna, told the press in Khartoum that his Ministry “will not hesitate to crack down on any subversive demonstration against the price hikes.” “We will suppress any sabotage attempts,” he stressed, and added that peaceful demonstrations are permitted after obtaining a permission from the authorities in advance, “just as in any other country in the world.”
[This comment about “allowing peaceful demonstrations” is of course a cruel joke, but one that the international community seems inclined to credit, at least partially—ER]
• Central Darfur: Military Intelligence detain five, firewood collector killed | January 8, 2018 | NIERTETI
Members of the Military Intelligence in Nierteti in Central Darfur detained five people last week.
A resident of the Northern Nierteti camp for the displaced was shot dead while collecting firewood on Saturday.
Speaking to Radio Dabanga, a camp sheikh said that on Tuesday, Haydar Idris Suleiman, a 25-year-old secondary school student living in the Northern Nierteti camp for the displaced was taken by Military Intelligence agents to the town’s army garrison without providing a reason. “On Saturday, they returned and took Hafiz Abdelrahman (24) and Adam Khamis (21) with them.” A listener reported that a camp resident named Siddig and a resident of Nierteti were detained by Military Intelligence agents from the town’s market on Saturday as well.
[Military Intelligence remains the ultimate security forces authority in Darfur, as it has from the beginning of the genocide; the RSF is the militia “muscles” of Military Intelligence—ER]
The Northern Nierteti camp sheikh also reported that camp resident Adam Abdeljabbar was shot dead on Saturday afternoon. “Adam was collecting firewood together with his wife nearby the camp when a group of gunmen riding on horses suddenly opened fire at them. He was killed instantly. His wife suffered no injuries,” the sheikh said. Camp residents reported the incident to the police. When no action followed, they staged a protest in front of the police station. The police dispersed them with tear gas and firing in the air.
• Nine injured, 20 detained in South Darfur RSF raid | December 28, 2017 | GIREIDA
Nine people were injured and 20 others detained during a raid by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) government militia on the Sadoun area of Gireida locality in South Darfur. A large force of RSF is currently assigned to collect illegal weapons and vehicles in Darfur. Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that a force of the rapid support militia surrounded Sadoun area from all sides on Saturday. They drove men, women, and children into one place, and beat them with whips and sticks, seized the amount of SDG 7,000 and 14 mobile phones.
[Having been officially incorporated into the Khartoum regime, the RSF continue to enjoy total impunity in Darfur and elsewhere; they have proved utterly ruthless in their treatment of civilians–killing, raping, stealing, and torturing. The UN/African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has consistently proved completely helpless in controlling the RSF—ER]
Among those detained include Ahmed Gamar, Jedo Mohamed Ahmed, Bashir Abakar, Abdelrahim Yagoub, El Ghali Haroun, Adam Yagoub, Azrag Mohamed, Adam Daoud and others whose names were not identified. The residents of Gireida called on the authorities to form a committee of inquiry into these violations and return the seized items and money.
In Wadi Saleh locality in Central Darfur, the RSF attacked Abuja market at camp Aradeiba in Garsila, and robbed the displaced people of money and a number of mobile phones. Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that elements of the RSF in a Land Cruiser led by a lieutenant named Sabour raided Abuja market, beat the displaced people and wounded Abdelmahmoud Ibrahim with a bullet, seized the amount of SDG 7,000 from merchant Ahmed and 17 mobile phones from the displaced people.
Residents of Tullus have complained of being beaten and tortured by RSF militiamen to force them to confess to weapons possession. They said 11 people had been subjected to torture during a raid by the militia on a number of markets.
The brutality of Khartoum’s various “security” forces in Darfur was well captured in this photograph from the notorious “Nierteti Massacre” (January 1, 2017)
[This is the true face of Khartoum’s “disarmament campaign” in Darfur—ER]
• RSF militiamen beat up, detain community leaders in South Darfur | January 7, 2018 | FALLUJA
On Friday, members of the Rapid Support Forces, Sudan’s main government militia, beat and detained two community leaders in South Darfur’s East Jebal Marra locality.
Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces riding in four Land Cruisers raided the area of Fallujah in East Jebel Marra on Friday afternoon. They accused Abakar El Rashid and Ismail Ahmed of being behind the disappearance of a number livestock in the area ten days ago, and severely beat them. The militiamen took El Rashid with them to El Malam. The sources could not give information about the whereabouts of Ahmed.
• Darfur returnees forced to remain in insecure area | January 1, 2018 | EL MALAM
On Thursday, members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Sudan’s main government militia, prevented dozens of formerly displaced South Darfur villagers to flee again. Two weeks ago, about 300 people returned from the Shangil Tobaya camps for the displaced in Tawila locality to their home villages in the area of El Malam in northern South Darfur.
There has been a distinct uptick of violence in South Darfur in recent months…
[This represents an intolerable threat to these people, and yet the UN (and UNAMID), which encourages such returns, is nowhere to be found—ER]
When they discovered that militiamen and other gunmen are still roaming in the area, dozens of them decided to return to the relative safety of the camps. RSF troops, however, prevented them from leaving, and detained four village sheikhs who protested their action. “Ismail Azhari, Yagoub Younis, Adam Hamid, and Adam Suleiman are now being held at the prison of El Malam,” a returnee told Radio Dabanga from the town. “The South Darfur governor will decided on their fate, as well as the fate of 71 villagers who were prevented from leaving.” The source said that the area of El Malam is “devoid of any security.”
• Man killed near factory in Tawila, North Darfur | January 11, 2018 | TAWIL
A factory worker was killed west of Tawila in North Darfur on Wednesday. On Wednesday, armed herders killed Mohamed Ahmed Hussein at Dulu district, west of Tawila. Hussein was working in a charcoal factory in Dulu. A relative one of the deceased told Radio Dabanga that the gunmen shot Hussein and that he was killed on the spot.
“This incident was the third of its kind this week. Armed herders have also threatened to beat or kill anyone who comes to this area to collect wood or go farming,” the relative reported.
[In addition to the RSF, irregular militia forces continue to present intolerable risks to civilians throughout Darfur. They have not been disarmed in the current “disarmament” campaign, and as long as they pose no threat to Khartoum’s interests in Darfur, are free to continue their assault on non-Arab/African farmers attempting to return to or work their lands—ER]
A week ago, gunmen killed two brick factory workers in El Adradib El Ashara in Tawila.
• Firewood collector abducted in North Darfur | January 7, 2018 | TAWILA
Armed herders kidnapped a 35-year-old woman in Tawila locality in North Darfur on Friday. “Hawa Adam Ishag was collecting firewood together with three other women in Mashrou Abuzeid near Dubbo El Omda, when a group of three armed herdsmen attacked them,” an eyewitness reported to Radio Dabanga. “The three other women managed to escape, but Hawa was not that lucky,” she said. “The janjaweed seized her and took her with them to an unknown destination.”
Girls and women throughout Darfur continue to be intolerably at risk of sexual violence—see | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1QG
[Most non-Arab/African Darfuris still refer to militia forces of any kind as “Janjaweed”—ER]
• Three people wounded in Central Darfur weapons search | January 11, 2018 | NIERTETI / TUR
Three people were seriously wounded in house-to-house searches by the paramilitary Rapid Support Force in Nierteti camp for displaced people in Central Darfur on Wednesday. In the past weeks, several Nierteti villagers have been detained for unknown reasons. The raid on Wednesday morning in Nierteti camp was led by three officers of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Sudanese soldiers carried out the raid under the command of a military lieutenant named Musab and police was also present at the scene, sheikhs reported to Radio Dabanga. The joint force entered the northern Nierteti camp and conducted house-to-house searches and raided shops for three continuous hours, until 10am. “They found no weapons in the camp,” according to the sheikhs.
“After the searches the force accused the displaced people of supporting the rebels and hiding their weapons,” he said. A number of people were beaten, and three of them sustained serious injuries. The three wounded have been taken to the hospital. Hassan Ahmed El Tahir was in a coma when he was transferred to Nierteti Hospital, a sheikh reported. Abdelrahman Abdelaziz, Mustafa Mohamed El Tahir and a woman who was not identified, were taken to the same hospital in a critical condition. Large amounts of cash and mobile phones were seized, amounting to an estimated 100 phones. Victims have reported the incident to the police.
Weapons search in Tur
Another force of RSF, driving dozens of vehicles, searched the area of Tur in Nierteti for illegal weapons, starting at 3 pm on Wednesday. Witnesses reported to Radio Dabanga that a number of residents were beaten by the paramilitary forces. “They stole goods in the town market and houses.” A source said that the RSF was still in the area until late Wednesday.
During the past two weeks, the Military Intelligence unit in Nierteti detained 25 people, including a sheikh. A reason was not provided.
In the past weeks, people in Darfur repeatedly reported that soldiers of the RSF used violence while carrying out the collection campaign of illegal weapons in the region. The Sudanese government announced the campaign in July, to begin with in Darfur and Kordofan. RSF and the army began collecting illegal arms and unlicensed vehicles from civilians in the regions the following month. The campaign has entered the stage of compulsory collection of weapons by the reinforcements of RSF and the Sudanese army. In North Darfur alone, 12,500 RSF and police have been deployed to assist with the arms collection and the controls of unregistered vehicles.
• Camel herders kill two policemen in South Darfur | January 10, 2018 | TULLUS
On Monday, two policemen were shot dead in Tullus locality in South Darfur. Speaking to Radio Dabanga, a farmer reported from Sargeila in Tullus that a group of militant herdsmen wanted to graze their camels on the land of his neighbour, and threatened to kill him if he would chase away the amimals. After having received a complaint from the farmer, the police of Sargeila sent a lieutenant-led force to the site of the incident, which ordered the herders to leave the farm. The gunmen however refused to comply on the grounds that they were members of the Rapid Support Forces militia, and started shooting. The force commander and a policeman were killed instantly, the farmer said.
[Whether actually members of the RSF or not, Arab militia forces, however irregular in organization, act with the same impunity—here feeling free to shoot and kill local police—ER]
• Darfur Military Intelligence continues detention campaign in Nierteti | January 10, 2018 | NIERTETI
During the past two weeks, the Military Intelligence unit in Nierteti, Central Darfur, detained 25 people. A reason was not provided. Multiple sources told Radio Dabanga from Nierteti that members of the Military Intelligence held seven people, including three displaced people, from their homes on Tuesday morning. “They seized Sheikh Hamed Mohamed Ali, from his house in Garsila district, along with Abaker Mohamed, and the brothers Abbas and Ishag Idris,” a source said.
A camp sheikh reported that Suleiman Abdelrasoul, Mohamed Abaker, and Omar Hasan were detained on Tuesday morning from the Garsila camp for the displaced in the town. The detainees were taken to the Nierteti military garrison. Another 18 people are being held at the military garrison, an activist informed this station on Tuesday. “They were all detained within the past two weeks. Reasons for their arrest have not been given and their families or lawyers have not been allowed to visit them,” he said, and called for their immediate release.
[Arbitrary arrest, detention, and torture are all tools fully available and regularly used by Military Intelligence, the most fearsome security force in Darfur—ER]
• South Darfur market stalls demolished in surprise RSF raid | January 4, 2018 | KASS
A contingent of the main Sudanese government militia, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), has demolished market stalls and subjected displaced people to abuse in a surprise raid on the market of Kass in South Darfur. The RSF were reportedly under the supervision and guidance of the Commissioner of Kass locality, Abakar Mohamed. Callers told Radio Dabanga “the RSF broke dozens of shops in the southern market, the majority of which are owned by displaced people without any announcement or notification.”
Witnesses said the RSF raid was also accompanied by widespread abuses against the residents and shoppers who happened to be in the market. The RSF reportedly ripped the young men’s trousers with knives on the pretext that their trousers were “indecent and not commensurate with the public order.” They also subjected women to abuses. Those affected said the campaign on the market has caused severe losses to the merchants without compensation.
[The intent to humiliate non-Arab/African Darfuris could not be clearer than in this cruel vignette—ER]
The displaced in Kass and activists said that the RSF also inspected some camps under the pretext of searching for weapons without coordinating with UNAMID or the presence of the mission’s troops. The activists confirmed to Radio Dabanga from Kass that the inspection was accompanied by violations, including seizing of property such as cash, blankets, telephones, and light weapons, this along with ripping the identity documents of some people.
The activists also explained that on Monday evening the locality commissioner visited the camp south of Kass and threatened the displaced that he would evacuate more than 10 schools and move them, which is threatening with a humanitarian disaster in the event of non-intervention of international entities to stop what they called “the locality commissioner’s absurdity.”
The displaced people of the Kass camps confirmed that they are in favour of collecting weapons, provided that it should in a legal manner under UN supervision and UNAMID participation, so that the collection process would not be a sham as it is now. They also pointed to the absence of coordination with UNAMID as many of the spots that pose a security threat to Kass and Shattaya localities have not witnessed any weapons collection process.
[UNAMID has proved utterly worthless in constraining the abuses that define the “disarmament campaign,” and so regularly reported by Radio Dabanga—ER]
On Wednesday activists from Saraf Omra reported to Radio Dabanga that the RSF in Saraf Omra in North Darfur have threatened to arrest and imprison any travel agent transporting more than two sacks of millet or sorghum outside the locality. Merchants have considered the decision unfair and contrary to the policy of price liberalisation announced by the government. In the same context, the locality Commissioner Abdallah Abdallah Bilal charged a fee of SDG 2,645 for each shopkeeper as a renewal of the license for the year 2018 and retroactive royalty charges for two years.
Activists in Saraf Omra said the Commissioner had given merchants a week to remove the umbrellas and the cottage shops built with local materials. They pointed out that the fees and royalties they collect are not spent on services but on the commissioner and his affiliates.
[Gross corruption and self-enrichment are the specialty of all who enjoy power by virtue of their support of Khartoum’s policies—ER]
• Darfur crimes: Two men killed, villagers beaten | January 5, 2018 | TAWILA / WADI SALEH / UM KEDDADA
Gunmen killed two factory workers in Tawila locality [North Darfur] on Wednesday.
In Central Darfur, people were beaten and forced by militiamen to keep food inside their town.
Armed men killed Adam Osman and Rayeldin Mohamed Adam in El Adradib El Ashara in North Darfur’s Tawila locality on Wednesday. A relative of one of the dead reported to Radio Dabanga that armed herders, riding camels, opened fire on the two men while they were working at a brick factory.
Members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have subjected residents of Amarjadeed market in Wadi Saleh locality to severe beatings, witnesses in Central Darfur said. A RSF group that was led by Maj. Mohamed Bonjos raided Amarjadeed’s weekly market and ordered the owners of crops not to sell millet or sorghum for more than SDG 700.
[The RSF is now part of Khartoum’s violent economic price controls—the foolishness of this effort is surpassed only by its destructiveness–ER]
They also ordered people not to take these crops out of the area. A witness said that when the merchants and owners of crops protested against the decision, they were beaten and expelled from the market. Some of them were robbed of their belongings. “People filed reports against the RSF members with the police in Garsila,” he concluded.
Gunmen opened fire on a vehicle that belongs to the state’s medical supplier and wounded the director of a hospital and his driver in Hijer Jabir in Um Keddada locality on Wednesday.
The medical director of Jabir hospital in northern El Taweisha, Mohamed Adam, and the driver of the vehicle, Hadi Yagoub, were hit by the bullets and had to be transferred to El Fasher Hospital. They were on an official mission to El Taweisha, Um Keddada and El Lait clinics for periodic supervision and also to open pharmacies in Hijer Jabir and El Taweisha hospitals.
• Two injured in South Darfur market shooting, women beaten by herders | January 3, 2018 | OTASH CAMP
At least two people were injured when two members of the Rabid Support Forces (RSF), Sudan’s main government militia, opened fire at market in Otash camp near Nyala, capital of South Darfur on Monday. Seven women were severely beaten by herders north of the camp. One of the sheikhs of the camp told Radio Dabanga that two RSF militiamen raided Komboi market where they threatened the shoppers to hand over their money and mobile phones. However, when one of the displaced people confronted them, one of them opened fire on him and seriously wounded two people. The sheikh said the displaced people pursued the attackers, arrested them, and handed them over to the authorities.
[The RSF is completely out of control and acts with total impunity throughout Darfur–ER]
In a separate incident near Otash camp, armed herders beat and injured a number of displaced women. One of the camp sheikhs told Radio Dabanga that five herders attacked seven displaced women who went out to collect firewood north of the camp, beat them with sticks, them and caused them varying injuries. Two of them, Fatima Juma and Makkah Mohammed were taken to Nyala Hospital.
• Family of ‘tortured’ Darfuri student turn to Sudan’s Human Rights Commission | January 2, 2018 | KHARTOUM
Relatives and friends of Darfuri student Nasreldin Mukhtar, detained by the Sudanese security apparatus for more than four months, have submitted a memorandum to Sudan’s National Human Rights Commission demanding his immediate release or referral to a court. The memorandum, submitted on Sunday, said that since Mukhtar’s detention in front of the gate of the University of the Holy Koran in Omdurman on August 22. The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) have allowed his relatives to visit him twice. The first time was after two months.
Mukhtar’s brother told Radio Dabanga after his visit to Mukhtar that he noticed clear marks of torture on his relative. He had lost sight in his left eye and sustained severe injuries in his legs as a result of beatings. The reason for his detention is unknown. His family called for his immediate release or a fair trial. They have appealed before, to international organisations including Amnesty International and civil society organisations, to intervene to save him. They have also raised memoranda to the Attorney-General, the Minister of Justice, and the NISS.
Mukhtar is the former head of the Darfur Students Association branch of the University of the Holy Koran. He was detained earlier by the NISS, in 2015, for months, and released when his health deteriorated.
• Grenade blast kills West Darfur drug police, 11 dead in Sudan road carnage | December 29, 2017 | EL GENEINA / ATBARA / WAD MADANI
Two anti-drug policemen were killed and three other people injured in a blast when a suspect threw a grenade at them during a chase in El Geneina, capital of West Darfur, on Wednesday afternoon. Two other members of the combat forces were injured as well as the owner of a cart. Ibrahim Idris (23), and Kaltoum Adam (43), were wounded by members of the Border Guards at Dankoj area, 10 km east of Zalingei in Central Darfur. The sources told Radio Dabanga that two Border Guards’ members opened fire in the direction of a gathering in the market area after a verbal clash between them and restaurant owner, Kaltoum Adam over the bill for a meal.
• Fires destroy dozens of houses in Darfur towns | January 11, 2018 | KUTUM / AZUM
Fires have destroyed dozens of houses in Kutum and Azum localities this week, affecting villagers and people who recently returned from camps for displaced. North and Central Darfur have witnessed fires that destroyed dozens of houses in Teital, Kutum locality (North Darfur), and Balali, Azum locality (Central Darfur).
In Teital 33 houses were destroyed and large quantities of food, including cash crops, went up in flames. 76 houses burned to the ground in Balalali. The press office of the Governor of Central Darfur, Jaafar Abdelhakam, said that the governor has promised every affected family in Balali a compensation of SDG 2,000, as well as a sack of millet. Activists in Teital appealed to the neighboring villages in Kutum and to be generous and provide food and shelter to the affected families. The village of Balali hosts more than 370 families who returned from camps for displaced people under the voluntary repatriation programme in Sudan.
[Arson is a notoriously difficult crime to prove in any circumstances, but particular in those that prevail in most of Darfur; there are often suspicious features to fires such as reported here, but no resource are available to investigate. Here again, UNAMID has been an abject failure and a disgrace to UN peacekeeping—ER]