Denial of mass rape case by Unamid “shocks” North Darfur

Darfur News Update by Radio Dabanga (5 – 11 November)

November 12, 2014 (SSNA) — The villagers of Tabit in North Darfur are shocked after Unamid concluded on Monday that it did not find “any evidence or information” about a reported mass rape. The UN-AU peacekeeping mission visited the village, accompanied by government officials, five days after a verification patrol was denied access to investigate the mass rape of many women and girls in Tabit on 31 October. A delegation of five members of the Coordination Committee of Refugees and Displaced Persons in Darfur also visited the village last Friday. They told Radio Dabanga that they “met 60 women and girls, we looked into their eyes while they told us they were raped by Sudanese soldiers (…) How can [the Unamid] conclude the rape did not take place?”. A group of women in Tabit claimed it has treated “at least 50 women” who were raped. “What about all those girls? They are suffering.”

Several UN Security Council members raised serious concerns about the presence of Sudanese military while Unamid peacekeepers interviewed the villagers, atthe council’s meeting on Monday. “I think that every Unamid staff member was accompanied by at least three people, from the security, police, or military,” a Unamid team member described to Radio Dabanga. A couple of Sudanese opposition parties and the council of Fur tribes on Tuesday demanded the formation of an independent inquiry into the mass rape, following Unamid’s statement. Despite the mounting evidence that the mass rape took place, Unamid stated last Monday that it “neither found any evidence, nor received any information regarding the allegations in the media during the period in question”.

Radio Dabanga last week recorded testimonies of several victims and two local leaders. They confirmed that government forces raped many, “around 200”, women and girls in the night of 31 October, when the soldiers were looking for a comrade who had gone missing in the area. The spokesman for the Sudanese army, Colonel El Sawarmi Khaled Saad, dismissed the allegations in a press conference on Sunday. He wondered how 200 women could have been violated, while Tabit is a small village. “The accusation does not resemble Sudan’s moral values. This is impossible.” He explained that a UN verification patrol was denied access to Tabit earlier last week because it had not obtained permission from the authorities.

Farmers slain by herders as land disputes flare up

Tensions between farmers and herders in the Darfur region flare up, owing to the grazing of livestock that coincides with the start of the harvest season. Militant herders killed four farmers in separate incidents in North Darfur this weekend. Three farmers were shot dead when armed herders opened fire on them in Shangil Tobaya, south of El Fasher, on Friday, a relative of one of the deceased told Radio Dabanga. Three other farmers were wounded, he said. In Kabkabiya locality, a mother was shot dead when she tried to prevent the herders from letting their cattle graze on her farm on Saturday. Her son barely survived the attack, a witness in Um Laota, 4 km north of Kabkabiya, reported. Farmers in villages east of Kutum town in North Darfur reported that their crops were damaged by the grazing cattle of herders. “They let their animals graze by force of arms,” one of the farmers revealed. He estimated the damage of the crops at “thousands of Sudanese pounds”. The early grazing does not start until February, farmers in Manawashi, South Darfur, stressed last week. Via Radio Dabanga, they called upon the herders to adhere to this schedule.

Insecurity and displacements in Darfur and South Kordofan areas will have a negative impact on the harvests that start in October, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network reported in September. Sudan’s staple food crops did enjoy above-average rainfall during the rainy season last summer.

More news from Radio Dabanga:

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‘Sudan army has no right to dismiss Darfur rape reports’: activist

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NYALA (10 Nov.) – Leaders of El Salam camp in Nyala locality, South Darfur, have asked the newly displaced people who left the camp to work on farms, to return immediately. They will be registered… FULL STORY

EU ambassadors call for improved access in Darfur

NYALA (9 Nov.) – European Union ambassador Tomas Ulicny stressed that the conflict in the Darfur region continues to witness “serious human rights violations”, and called on all Sudanese parties… FULL STORY

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KASS (7 Nov.) – The security service arrested six more displaced people in South Darfur’s Kass camp, accusing them of collaborating with armed rebel movements. 33 persons in total are now in… FULL STORY

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PORT SUDAN (7 Nov.) – A number of high government and corporate officials in Port Sudan were arrested on charges of collaborating with foreign countries, sources say. The arrests seem to follow a… FULL STORY

EU delegation donates €11 mln in aid to South Darfur

NYALA (7 Nov.) – The European Union will donate €11 million in aid to support development projects in South Darfur, following a visit of EU ambassadors to Nyala’s Kalma camp on Thursday. They met… FULL STORY

‘Corruption in Nyala land selling’: South Darfur committee

NYALA (6 Nov.) – Corruption and serious violations in the selling of investment lands took place in Nyala locality, South Darfur, without the knowledge of the Director of Lands of the state. The… FULL STORY

‘Al Bashir unfit to chair any reconciliation’: Sudan’s Umma Party

KHARTOUM (6 Nov.) – The National Umma Party described President Omar Al Bashir’s speech on Sunday, in which he slammed the opposition party’s agreement with a rebel alliance, as “lies” and “… FULL STORY

Civilians injured as artillery pounds Darfur’s East Jebel Marra

DERIBAT (5 Nov.) – At least seven civilians were injured in heavy artillery bombardments by Sudanese government forces on an area north of Deribat in East Jebel Marra on Tuesday. Witnesses told… FULL STORY

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