Militiamen murder residents in ‘return village’ in North Darfur

Darfur News Update by Radio Dabanga (10 – 16 December)

December 17, 2014 (SSNA) — In an attack by militiamen on a village in South Darfur, nine residents were reportedly killed, and their homes burned to ashes, on Saturday afternoon. A camp in North Darfur was also raided this weekend. A large group consisting of "about 100 militiamen" on camels and horses attacked Abu Jabra in South Darfur, "without any warning or clear reason", an eyewitness from a neighbouring village explained. He told Radio Dabanga how the people of Abu Jabra, Gireida locality, had started to return to the village since five weeks ago, within the framework of a voluntary return programme in Darfur. During their attack, the militiamen killed nine people and pillaged the place, before setting it ablaze, the witness said. About 500 families, and six wounded, arrived at the Babanusa camp for the displaced in Gireida, a camp elder reported to Radio Dabanga. "The newly displaced told us that there are at least 200 families that fled into the desert.” Another camp leader in the neighbouring Bielel locality expects the villagers to return to El Salam camp as well, after the attack and the mounting insecurity in the area.

In North Darfur, a large group of militiamen raided Rwanda camp, and plundered a number of shops on the outskirts of Tawila town on Sunday. An army commander intervened, and returned much of the stolen goods. A robbed shopkeeper explained that the residents were terrified. The attack was immediately reported to army commander El Hadi Mohamed Hamed, who then stopped and searched the militiamen ́s vehicles for the goods. He also issued an order prohibiting militiamen to enter Tawila town with their cars and weapons, according to the listener.

Gold mining supervision by tribal administrations and North Darfur state

Gold diggers were violently robbed by gunmen in the area of Jebel ‘Amer, North Darfur, on Sunday. The militiamen beat the workers and stole more than $4,700 and an amount of gold. The Jebel ́Amer mining area lies in El Sareif Beni Hussein locality. Sadam Hamad Mohamed, one of the victims, reported to Radio Dabanga that afterwards, the militiamen left into the direction of Kabkabiya town. The North Darfur state announced the establishment of a coordination council for traditional mining last week, that will resolve problems in the mining areas. The Federal Ministry of Mines and representatives of El Sareif Beni Hussein, Kutum, El Malha, Um Keddada, and Kabkabiya localities in this council will also supervise the licensing and collection of fees for the traditional mining sites. 

In the same week, the Revolutionary Awakening Council (RAC) and the native administration of the Beni Hussein tribe agreed on establishing their own management board for the gold mining area of Jebel ’Amer. The RAC spokesman told Radio Dabanga that the participants in the meeting decided that they will be responsible for the gold mine. “Anyone who wants to visit, or work in Jebel ‘Amer, will have to request permission from the supervisors appointed by the board.” RAC leader Musa Hilal and his militias, responsible for Janjaweed campaigns against civilians in Darfur since 2004, were armed by the Sudanese government, but he distanced himself from the regime this year. His militia attacked several villages North Darfur, where Hilal established an administration. 

Gold has become one of Sudan’s biggest sources of revenues after the secession of the oil-rich south in 2011. As reported extensively by Radio Dabanga, in 2013, the Abbala and Beni Hussein tribes fought violently over control of the Jebel ‘Amer gold mine, leaving about 500 people dead. The UN estimated that more than 100,000 people were displaced by the conflict.

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