Sudan: 10 Civilians Killed in Fresh Militia Attack in North Darfur

Photo: Tim McKulka
Displaced (file photo).

Khartoum — Ten people were killed on Friday during an attack by militiamen in Sigili village located 40 kilometers southeast of the capital of North Darfur state , Al-Fasher.

A picture by published by Najla Elshaikh, a Darfur activist on its facebook page, showing the bodies of the 10 victims of 2 Nov attack on Sigili village surrounded by their relatives in Al-Fashir on Saturday 3 November 2012.

Different reports say between 4 to 5 other villagers including a child were wounded, as the hybrid peacekeeping operation (UNAMID) cited reports about the abduction of a civilian and "widespread displacement" of villagers from the area, following the deadly attack.

The rebel Sudan Liberation Movement led by Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) which was the first to reveal the attack on Friday claimed that the assailants are members of the Sudanese army and affiliated militia forces while the state government spoke about armed men without providing further details about their identity.

UNAMID said in a statement released on Saturday evening that Sudanese army stopped on Saturday a verification team at Zam Zam checkpoint located 15km south of Al-Fasher, and prevented it from reaching the attacked area.

North Darfur deputy governor, Abu Al-Abbas Abdallah Al-Tayeb Jido told reporters in a press conference held on Saturday that the attack took place after a series of tribal clashes in the area during the past months.

He said that violence in the area began with the killing of farmer on 2 September, adding it was followed by an attack on the neighbouring area of Abu Dliq on 17 October where 15 people were killed .

Jido went further to reassure the relatives of the victims that the government will hold accountable thoses who committed these crimes adding they asked Darfur crimes prosecutor to take the necessary steps to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice.

The deadly attack triggered a series of protests in Al-Fasher on Saturday. The relatives of the victims and villagers demonstrated outside the Al-Fasher Hospital, the central market and premises of the state government.

Several hundreds of demonstrators also gathered outside the UNAMID headquarters where they brought the 10 bodies of civilians killed during the attack and called on the mission to fulfil its mandate and protect them from militia attacks.

A group representing the families of the victims who were received by the UNAMID's leadership urged the latter to investigate the incident and to escort them to bury the victims.

The acting UNAMID chief Aichatou Mindaoudou condemned the attack and said " very concerned over the repeated incidents that have led to the killing, injury of the local population, as well as their displacement."

The SLM-MM military spokesperson Adam Saleh Abkar said in a statement that the attack aimed to force the villagers, who are mainly from the Zagawa ethnic group, to leave the area and to confiscate their properties.

Following the signing of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur in July 2011, Darfur region witnessed a relative calm and civilian started to return to their villages leaving the camps where they were living since 2004.

However, violence escalated in the region generally and North Darfur particularly after the resumption of hostilities between the government forces and rebel groups who forged an alliance with the rebels of Sudan People's Liberation Movement - North.

Also the clashes between the different tribes in the region contributed to worsen the situation particularly when the pro government militia use their weapons to defend tribal interests and attack groups accused of being hostile to the government or supporting rebel movements..

A government linked militiamen killed 87 civilians in a two-day attack in Hashaba area of Kutum in North Darfur. Eye witness from the region reported that the assailants were well equipped with heavy arms.

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