Farmers targeted and killed, militias assemble near North Darfur capital

Darfur and Sudan News Update by Radio Dabanga (17 – 23 December)

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December 23, 2014 (SSNA) — People in El Fasher went to the streets in protest against the killings of eight farmers, reportedly by herders, on Sunday and Monday. One farmer was shot dead in Jedid El Seil area, north of El Fasher, when he refused to hand his crops to gunmen on Sunday, a witness reported. The source also told Radio Dabanga that a farmer, his two wives, and their sons were killed in Yadkun El Eish on Monday. "They were taking a rest after harvesting crops in the afternoon. Camel herders fired at the farmers after they refused to hand over their harvest. Seven were killed instantly, and five others sustained injuries." The wounded were taken to El Fasher hospital, where the news shocked people, a listener told Radio Dabanga from the capital city of North Darfur. The Governor claimed during a press conference on Tuesday that three men accused of one of the attacks have been arrested.

Meanwhile, large numbers of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces have been concentrating in an area between El Fasher and Shangil Tobaya since Friday. Multiple sources told Radio Dabanga that also militia forces in more than 100 armoured vehicles arrived nearby, south of Tabit. "Their arrival has led to a mass displacement of people in the area," a villager said. "Almost all of them fled towards Tabit, Shangil Tobaya, and Zamzam camp near El Fasher." Other witnesses claimed that troops of the RSF contingent attacked two villages near Tabit on Friday at noon, and that they beat and robbed residents. 
Tabit area has been the battlefield between several rebel movements and militia. It also was the scene of a mass rape of many women and girls, reportedly by Sudanese soldiers, on 31 October this year. The reports have raised international calls for independent inquiries into the allegations. Sudan, however, refused the Unamid permission for a second investigation in Tabit, and has requested the UN-AU peacekeeping mission to prepare an exit strategy for the region.

Detained Sudanese lawyer taken to hospital

Faroug Abu Eisa, chairman of a large alliance of Sudanese opposition parties, was taken from prison to a hospital in Khartoum on Tuesday after his health deteriorated. He and civil society leader and human rights lawyer Dr Amin Mekki Madani have been detained and held incommunicado by Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) since 6 December. Meanwhile, Khartoum security forces attacked members of the Sudanese Democratic Lawyers who were holding a sit-in against the detentions on Monday morning. Five people were detained. One of the lawyers, Amal El Zein, told Radio Dabanga: “After we had gathered in front of the court at about 11 this morning, security forces surrounded the area, and prevented colleagues to join us. We ran away after they began to beat us.”

The two prominent figures were detained inside their homes in Khartoum after their return from Addis Ababa, where they had signed the Sudan Appeal with the SRF, an alliance of the main armed rebel movements, and the opposition’s National Umma Party. The European Parliament passed a resolution on Thursday, condemning the detentions, including those of Farah El Agar, a legal consultant of the rebel SPLM-N who was also detained on 6 December.

Abu Eisa’s health deteriorated after he and Dr Madani were transferred to Kober prison on Monday. "My father has lost a lot of weight caused by solitary confinement for more than two weeks," daughter Nahla Abu Eisa told the press in Khartoum on Tuesday. A NISS officer has notified the head of the defence team that they have filed criminal charges against the Sudan Appeal signatories, related to undermining the constitutional order, which is punishable with the death penalty.

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