Radio Dabanga (Hilversum)

Sudan: Herders Kidnap Police, Injure Displaced

Saraf Jidad — A group of herders reportedly kidnapped three members of the community police after raiding their station at a displaced camp in Saraf Jidad area, in Sirba locality, West Darfur, on Sunday morning, 18 November, a resident told Radio Dabanga.

The source added that the same group has tortured more than 60 camp residents, severely injuring 11, in two consecutive days of attacks. He explained the first wave of attacks began on Sunday morning and lasted until the same evening and the second wave began on Monday at 6am.

Onlookers recounted that besides the kidnapping, the perpetrators stole all weapons belonging to the police station and beat other policemen before locking them up in the station's prison center.

The reason for the attack, according to the perpetrators, is because they believe members of the community police killed a herder. They claimed to have found his body at Mruro area, five kilometers north of Saraf Jidad on Saturday.

According to witnesses, some of the perpetrators were driving Land Cruisers, while others were riding horses and camels.

11 injured

A source noted that despite the arrival of the Sirba locality commissioner, Abdul Khaliq Ibrahim Mattar, and the military to the area on Sunday night, abuses continued.

Onlookers said that herders looted homes, shops and cattle and beat and tortured more than 60 people, severely injuring 11, between assaults that took place on Sunday and Monday.

According to sources, before attacking the camp on Monday morning, perpetrators fired heavily in the air and then began beating the residents.

Witnesses who managed to escape the area told Radio Dabanga that the perpetrators also carried out assaults in the areas of Banjedid and Moro on Monday.

The incidents over the past two days caused 'a major wave of displacement towards camps Arminkol, Abu Suruj and Tendelti', sources explained.

Agreement suspended

In order to solve the situation, a meeting was held on Sunday night between Sirba's commissioner, herders and the displaced, Radio Dabanga has learned.

During this meeting, the commissioner decided that the displaced must give 50 camels and pay 15 million Sudanese pounds to compensate the herders for their comrade's death.

However, the Omda of Saraf Jidad, Yahia Ulma, suspended the agreement 'until further notice' once he received confirmation that new attacks took place in the area on Monday, he told Radio Dabanga.

'Cannot go back'

The omda recounted to Radio Dabanga that he was in El-Geneina, West Darfur's capital, to inform the state's governor about the agreement that had been reached on Sunday night when he learned about Monday's fresh attacks.

Ulma then said he informed the authorities about the suspension of the agreement instead, and affirmed that him and his delegation cannot go back to Saraf Jidad. He explained the situation there is dangerous at the moment and that they fear for their lives.

'Unacceptable'

On his turn, the executive director of Sirba locality, Abdou Abdel Karim described the situation as 'critical and serious' and said that what happened in Saraf Jidad is 'unacceptable'.

He acknowledged that an armed group opened fire near the police station station of Saraf Jidad but denied that policeman were kidnapped or locked up and that displaced were beaten and that their properties were looted.

Karim and other local authorities claimed to disapprove that parties 'take matters in their own hands', he told Radio Dabanga.

He stressed that there were no casualties in Saraf Jidad and asserted that authorities from El-Geneina sent the military to the area to contain the situation.

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