At least 10,000 flee the militias’ recent raids, North Darfur

Darfur and Sudan News Update by Radio Dabanga (14 – 20 January)

January 20, 2015 (SSNA) — Mass raids in North Darfur have affected tens of thousands of Darfuris, and caused a large influx of refugees into the camps for displaced people. Tawila locality is swarming with government-backed militias since the launch of Sudan’s military campaign against the armed movements in East Jebel Marra at the end of last year. The militias have pillaged villages and robbed livestock, even from camps, newly displaced people reported to Dabanga during the past weeks. A coordinator of three camps for displaced people in Tawila claimed that more than 20,000 people sought refuge there during the past weeks. Unicef verified that 10,415 people are newly displaced by the recent violence in Tawila and East Jebel Marra, with among them about 6,000 children.

Over the weekend, various villages between Tawila town and Tabit, south-west of El Fasher, came under attack. Fleeing residents claimed that the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and gunmen burned down houses and stole about 2,000 head of cattle. Some herders took matters into their own hands on Friday, after RSF members stole hundreds of sheep in Galab area. Fifteen militiamen and seven herders were reportedly killed in the gunfight following the pursuit.

Multiple sources confirmed to Dabanga that thousands of paramilitary troops are present, "from Zamzam camp [near El Fasher] until Shangil Tobaya [southern Tawila]". President Omar Al Bashir said in a public speech on Sunday that the rebels in Darfur "will soon be crushed" by the RSF.

Meanwhile, coordinator Bosh explained that the newly displaced in the camps try to survive "without food or shelter, in the severe cold wave". UN’s humanitarian office, OCHA, said last week that the region is not secure enough for international aid organisations to access most of the affected areas. Unicef has dispatched blankets to Tawila. Sudan’s military offensive started on 30 December 2014, when the RSF launched widespread attacks on villages in East Jebel Marra, accompanied by heavy air raids.

Wounded at South Darfur protest against killings

Thirteen people sustained injuries in Nyala, capital of South Darfur, during a mass protest against attacks by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, on Tuesday. After a member of these RSF shot a young man dead in El Shaabi market on Monday, angry citizens took to the streets to protest the killing. The participants of the – much larger – demonstration on Tuesday moved towards the offices of the South Darfur state government, chanting “Hit us with your bullets”, and “Down, down with the Rapid Support Forces”. One of the demonstrators reported to Dabanga that police and security forces in vehicles mounted with machine guns attempted to block them, but the demonstrators took another route. "They then used tear gas and live bullets to disperse the crowd. 13 people, among them six women, were seriously injured, and were taken to the Nyala Teaching Hospital." Another source said that security forces detained at least 11 demonstrators.

The governor of South Darfur state, Maj. Gen. Adam Mahmoud Jarelnabi, said in a press conference in Nyala on Tuesday afternoon that eight people were injured during the protests, “five civilians and three police forces”. He suspected "certain infiltrators" of being behind the demonstration. About the murder of the young man, Jarelnabi said that the authorities "have taken the necessary legal proceedings against the RSF militiaman accused of the killing". In the past years, the capital of South Darfur witnessed several demonstrations against the rampant insecurity in the city and surroundings. In July 2014, the South Darfur state imposed a number of emergency measures in an attempt to curb the lawlessness. An Emergency Court was established in August, to speedily try offenders of the measures that banned the wearing of masks, the carrying of weapons by civilians, and the use of unregistered cars, and motorcycles.

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