1 December 2012

South Sudan: Growing Violence in Darfur Deserves Honest Reporting, Not More Flatulent UN Nonsense

UN and UNAMID leadership, including Acting JSR for UNAMID Aichatou Mindaoudou, the UN High Commission for Human Rights, the UN Special Rapporteur for the Human Rights of Displaced Persons-all seem content to paper over Darfur's rapidly deteriorating humanitarian and security crisis with unctuous words and feckless declarations. In place of meaningful responses to this desperate situation, they offer anodyne pronouncements, glib "proposals" without substance or detail, and silence on key issues of human security-preeminently rape, widespread murder, violence in the camps and towns, and the ongoing appropriation of arable land by Arab militia groups, often by violent means. In the absence of reporting by international news organizations, and given the denial of all access for human rights investigators-now for many years-Darfuris have made Radio Dabanga their voice. That voice, reporting largely on the basis of eyewitness accounts, deserves all possible amplification.

Events have finally compelled the UN and the UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) to acknowledge that violence is escalating in Darfur, a sharp reversal of the self-congratulatory statements by the likes of former heads of UNAMID Rodolphe Adada and Ibrahim Gambari. For example, Gambari recently celebrated his retirement as UNAMID Joint Special Representative (JSR) by declaring that he was "gratified to note that barely 31 months on, all the objectives I set out to meet have largely been met." But of course this is despicably dishonest and self-serving, given the dramatic increase in the level of violence, vast human displacement, and the deterioration of humanitarian access and resources that accelerated under Gambari's tenure. UNAMID-with an unforgiveable belatedness-now acknowledges some of these realities, although with a deeply disingenuous timeline. UNAMID leaders and spokespersons would have us believe that this sharp upswing in violence is quite recent; in fact, it has been accelerating dramatically since late 2010.

I and others have chronicled the massive evidence of increasing violence in Darfur since late fall 2010, when Minni Minawi defected from the regime in Khartoum. Minawi was the only rebel signatory to the disastrous Darfur Peace Agreement (Abuja, Nigeria, May 2006) and belatedly rues his decision. For not only was he completely marginalized within the regime, his defection from the figurehead position he occupied has made his Zaghawa people the target of ethnic violence that is almost completely unreported by UNAMID or any other source.

Fortunately-at least for the sake of any historical account-Claudio Gramizzi and Jérôme Tubiana have provided a remarkably full overview of this violence in a report from the Small Arms Survey (Geneva): "Forgotten Darfur: Old Tactics and New Players," (July 2012). Their report is based on field research conducted from October 2011 through June 2012, and supplemented by extensive interviews, a full desk review of available reports, and a wide range of communication with regional and international actors. The opening paragraphs in their Executive Summary gives a sense of what UNAMID chooses not to see:

"Since 2010 Darfur has all but vanished from the international agenda. The Sudanese government has claimed that major armed conflict is essentially over, that armed violence of all kinds has declined significantly, and that such violence is now dominated by criminality rather than by military confrontation [ ]. This view has been bolstered by statements from the leadership of the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur and by those invested in the under-subscribed 2011 Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, who have hailed declining violence and wider regional transformations as conducive to a final resolution of the conflict [citation of statements by Ibrahim Gambari].

"Notwithstanding such celebratory assertions, Darfur's conflict has moved largely unnoticed into a new phase. While several parts of Darfur have become demonstrably more peaceful since 2009-particularly as the geography of conflict has shifted eastwards away from West Darfur and the Sudan/Chad border-late 2010 and the first half of 2011 saw a significant offensive by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and militias, backed by airstrikes and aerial bombardments, targeting both rebel groups and the Zaghawa civilian population across a broad swathe of eastern Darfur."

In fact, events have overtaken this generalization, which while accurate as a characterization of eastern Darfur does not do enough to take note of the violence that is now most conspicuous in North Darfur, but which has seriously escalated in South and West Darfur as well (some of this occurred after the time-frame of the report). I have for over the past two years, at regular intervals, chronicled this broader escalation of violence in some twenty analyses (see Appendix 1). What we are seeing was eminently predictable, and the character of the violence has been in evidence during this entire period. Despite various assurances that the "security situation is relatively calm," that "violent incidents are decreasing," that there is unfettered access to civilians, and that there is "no major fighting," just the opposite is true.

Camps have become free-fire zones, an epidemic of rape continues to plague women and girls, murders are common, and aerial bombardment of civilian targets has been relentless (see www.sudanbombing.org). Perhaps most tellingly, more than 1 million people have been newly displaced since UNAMID took up its mandate on January 1, 2008; and as has been the case since the beginning of conflict in Darfur, the greatest cause of displacement is violence. The scale of this new displacement has never been acknowledged by UNAMID, which prefers instead to celebrate the small-scale "returns" of displaced persons that are optimistically measured in the tens of thousands. And the engine of displacement-ethnically-targeted violence in camps and rural areas, rape, and land appropriation by Arab groups taking advantage of this displacement-continues to race. Radio Dabanga provides daily updates that find no place in the infrequent and disgracefully uninformed and unrevealing reports from UNAMID.

Indeed, UNAMID and UN officials-including the Secretary General in his reports on Darfur-no longer even mention the reality of massive sexual violence against women and girls. Nor is UNAMID able to confirm the vast majority of bombing attacks reported by Radio Dabanga: concentrated recently in the eastern Jebel Marra areas, these attacks have caused tremendous numbers of civilian casualties, as well as large losses of livestock. UNAMID cannot gain access to Jebel Marra, or any number of other locations where violence has been reported. Instead, the mission offers only silence, which then perversely becomes evidence of an improved security environment. Only Radio Dabanga, on the basis of interviews conducted with eyewitnesses to the countless attacks that continue throughout the IDP camps and rural areas, provides any meaningful account of what is occurring.

Recent statements by UN and UNAMID officials, along with the familiar mendacity of the Khartoum regime, appear efforts to make the current situation seem one of growing concern but "manageable," even by a UNAMID that has begun to draw down its forces. This is simply not true, even with present resources; moreover, it is shameful to suggest that such proposals as have been made concerning human security and humanitarian access amount to anything new or substantial. These "proposals" are no more than vague exhortations.

Acting UNAMID Joint Special Representative Aichatou Mindaoudou seems especially gifted in offering sympathy and little else, even as she continues her predecessors' perverse deference to Khartoum's demands and expectations:

"Aichatou Mindaoudou, Acting Joint Special Representative of UNAMID, announced that the Mission is in the process of developing a new strategy to protect civilians in the regions. The process is based on cooperation with various parties in order to access some of the targeted areas and remedy the escalating violence... [Mindaoudou] demanded the state government to urgently grant UNAMID and humanitarian organizations access to the targeted areas in Darfur. She added that granting access will prevent the issue from having a negative impact on the donors' conference." (Radio Dabanga, November 29, 2012)

This occurs as UNAMID is withdrawing security personnel from the mission and recent news reports confirm that Ethiopia has withdrawn its five critical (if only briefly deployed) helicopter gunships from the mission, as of October 2012. Unsurprisingly, no details of this "new strategy" have been provided; they are, however, likely to depend entirely on the good will and agreement of the increasingly embattled National Islamic Front/National Congress regime in Khartoum. In fact, the regime is already setting the stage for refusing its terms:

"The government of North Darfur State voiced reservations over a security strategy that the United Nations-African Union Peacekeeping Mission in the region aims to adopt in order to protect civilians in Sudan's western region, saying it undermines national sovereignty. North Darfur governor Osman Kibir told a UNAMID delegation headed by the mission's Acting Joint Special Representative Aichatou Mindaoudou on Wednesday that the protection of the state's citizens is considered a direct constitutional responsibility of the government and the state's security committee. He warned against interfering with that responsibility and stressed that the government will reject the strategy should it undermine national sovereignty." (Sudan Tribune, November 28, 2012)

"Reservations" is simply Khartoum's way of declaring "irreversible objections." Of course Khartoum has its own policies for "civilian protection" in Darfur (and areas such as South Kordofan and Blue Nile); they consist mainly of orchestrated violence against these very civilians populations. As propaganda cover, the regime also offers absurd agreements, mendacious declarations, and announcements of "campaigns." For example, on the critical threat of sexual violence, which the regime vehemently denies is an issue in Darfur, the problem will be resolved bureaucratically:

"The State Minister of Welfare and Social Security, Ibrahim Adam Ibrahim, said the national campaign to combat violence against women will start on Sunday in Khartoum under the auspices of Vice President Al-Haj Adam Yousuf.... He said Sudan had recognised women's rights since time immemorial and the Islamic faith has promoted and guaranteed women's rights and dignity. He said the campaign will begin on 25 November and last for 16 days" (Sudan Vision [state-controlled], November 23, 2012)

"Vice President, Dr. Al-Haj Adam, has affirmed state's commitment to protect women, combat violence against them and remove all legal impediments preventing the establishment of women police and courts." (Sudan Vision [state-controlled], November 25, 2012)

In fact, it remains virtually impossible for women in Darfur to report rape to legal authorities, and UNAMID has ceased to investigate these war crimes. For a sense of how pervasive rape is in Darfur, and how complete the impunity is for those guilty of these brutal crimes, see my lengthy overview of available data and research ("Rape as a Continuing Weapon of War in Darfur," March 4, 2012 at http://www.sudanreeves.org/?p=2884). Khartoum's words are utterly meaningless-a perverse substitute for holding accountable the pro-regime militia elements responsible for the vast majority of sexual violence.

West Darfur has seen a staggering number of rapes in recent years. And yet during her time in the region UNAMID AJSR Mindaoudou said nothing about sexual violence, indeed was not able to meet with senior officials in el-Geneina, capital of the region. Instead, meeting with orphans in West Darfur, she declared:

"Supporting children is close to my heart. They are the future of their communities, they can only be a positive influence if they know their rights and respect the rights of others, said Ms. Mindaoudou." (Radio Dabanga, November 28, 2012)

What about the children who see their sisters-some as young as seven or eight-raped, along with their mothers? What about the children born to women who have been raped? What about children whose mothers have suffered grave or incapacitating trauma during rape? What about the families that are torn apart by the fact of a woman's having been raped? How likely are these children to "know their rights and respect the rights of others"? This is moral pabulum, served up to people desperate for more than unctuous words-people, certainly including children, who need nothing so much as the security Ms. Mindaoudou's UNAMID has proved utterly incapable of providing.

For his part, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, Chaloka Beyani, was equally vacuous in his suggestions, making no specific proposals and offering only the most obvious of generalities.

"'A key step in this direction is addressing the very dire situation of IDPs in terms of safety, and their basic rights to adequate food, shelter, health, education, water, and livelihoods,' said UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons [Chaloka Beyani] at the end of his nine-day mission to Sudan from 14 to 22 November 2012. 'Concerted efforts are needed in order to meet these and other assistance and protection needs of IDPs, to create an enabling environment in which to achieve new political solutions, and put in place practical measures to ensure the implementation of agreements that have already been signed.'" ("Durable solutions and respect of internally displaced persons' rights, key for peace and stability," African Press Organization news release, November 26, 2012)

"'I urge the Government of Sudan to adopt a comprehensive approach to durable solutions, which facilitates voluntary returns as well as local integration and resettlement,' [Beyani] said. 'I also encourage the Government and the international community to integrate displacement-affected communities into urban planning, development, and livelihood projects." (APO, November 26)

"Durable solutions"? What, specifically, does Mr. Beyani propose? Does he even recognize why people remain displaced in Darfur, some for almost ten years? Why won't he say as much-explicitly? "Concerted efforts" of what sort, one must ask Mr. Beyani? And by whom? It is Khartoum that denies access to UNAMID, denies humanitarians space in which to work, and at the same time denies that it is restricting relief activities in any way. It is the Khartoum regime that sustains a climate of impunity ensuring that no "durable solutions" to the profoundly distressing problems of Darfur will be found. Of course, such undirected exhortation frees Beyani from speaking the difficult truths about Khartoum's vigorous efforts to prevent just such "an enabling environment." His refusal-and that of the UN generally-to speak honestly about Khartoum's actions, including deliberately creating a brutally hostile "environment," is craven and morally dishonest.

One wonders what fantasy version of Darfur Beyani has created when he declares:

"Special Rapporteur Beyani highlighted the ongoing efforts of the international community to restore peace and security and find lasting solutions to internal displacement in Sudan."

"A UN human rights expert has expressed happiness with the progress so far made in observing the human rights of internally-displaced persons (IDPs) in Darfur, Sudan, but stressed that much remains to be done to fully implement the rights of hundreds of thousands of people living in camps in the region, the size of France. 'A key step in this direction is addressing the very dire situation of IDPs in terms of safety, and their basic rights to adequate food, shelter, health, education, water and livelihoods, [said Special Rapporteur Beyani]....important opportunities currently existed to address the needs of many IDPs in Sudan, [he said]." (PANA [Khartoum], November 24, 2012)

What of substance do we learn here and in other UN pronouncements? Absolutely nothing. What is the international community able to show for its "ongoing efforts to restore peace and security in Darfur"? The Darfur genocide commenced in earnest in April 2003, almost a decade ago. And still the victims of murder, arson, brutal robbery, rape, violent extortion, and land appropriation are overwhelmingly from the non-Arab or African tribal groups. How can one speak of "progress so far made" almost ten years after Darfur's nightmare began? It was only this past October that Khartoum-allied Arab militia forces-extremely heavily armed, according to UN sources-mounted a well-planned ambush against a substantial UNAMID patrol on its way to investigate atrocity crimes committed by these same militia forces and SAF troops in Hashaba, North Darfur. The investigation still has not been undertaken, and the victims of Hashaba remain unaccounted for-only the most recent example of civilians being slaughtered without any investigation or accountability. Khartoum's preposterous account of events (November 22, 2012) will stand as the last word on this terrible incident.

It is also worth noting that Khartoum denied Beyani access to Kassab camp in North Darfur, scene of much of the worst violence in Darfur over the past four months. Is this not worth highlighting? Is this not entirely consistent with the denial of access to Hashaba? Does yielding to such denial-by the UN Special Rapporteur for the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons-not make of his office a travesty? No place in Darfur has seen more abuse than Kassab, although it certainly has many rivals-and yet the Special Rapporteur accepts denial of access quietly, as the UN does uniformly.

Throughout the diplomatic discourse and posturing about Darfur, the one constant is celebration of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (July 2011). And yet no peace agreement ever made in Sudan had fewer contributions from representative civil society leaders or indeed the rebel combatants with real power in the field. The agreement was signed on behalf of all Darfuris by a completely factitious "Liberty and Justice Movement," now widely reviled by Darfuris, even as the DDPD has been universally rejected by those most affected. "Doha," as one highly informed observer and negotiator has remarked, "is Abuja replayed as farce." But like the Abuja agreement, the DDPD has the potential to intensify violence, and to convince Darfuris that the international community is simply not serious about securing a meaningful peace for the region. Khartoum of course has a nose for such diplomatic expediency, and if we wish to understand the current escalation of violence, we can do no better than examine the complacency with which the UN, the AU, the U.S., and the European Union have all accepted the DDPD as the basis for bringing peace to Darfur.

It cannot do so, though it certainly emboldens Khartoum, which not only sees international expediency but can claim, with justice, that it is one of the two signatories to the DDPD-no matter that the other signatory is a "rebel group" with no real power on the ground, no political support, and that is deeply resented as a merely diplomatic artifice, not a legitimate negotiating party. And an emboldened Khartoum sees no reason to halt its intense aerial bombardment of civilians, no need to rein in the Central Reserve Police (Abu Tira), or permit access to UNAMID or humanitarians trying to reach desperate civilians. UNAMID is being relentlessly weakened: not only is the force being drawn down, not only has Ethiopia quietly demanded that its five helicopter gunships be returned, but UNAMID morale is plummeting as the death of 43 courageous comrades weights deeply; the number and effectiveness of patrols has fallen commensurately. In short, conditions are all too conducive to the widespread violence that Radio Dabanga continues to report, on the basis of eyewitness accounts and an extraordinary determination not to allow the world to silence Darfuri voices.

Realities provided by Radio Dabanga:

In aggregate, the dispatches below-from just the past two weeks-suggest how pervasive violence is, how constrained humanitarian organizations are-even the UN's World Food Program-and how complete the reign of impunity remains. Notably, a great deal of the violence reported here occurred in West Darfur, which the New York Times found to be a harbinger of peace in March of this year, this on the basis of an extremely limited, fully controlled trip to Nyuru, West Darfur (southeast of el-Geneina). Some of the violence reported here (at Mornei camp, for example) is quite close to Nyuru.

An extraordinarily full account of violence in Tabet, North Darfur was offered by Radio Dabanga just today; it should be borne in mind that "clearances" of the sort referred to here are Khartoum's euphemism for ethnic destruction and displacement, in Darfur, in Blue Nile, and in South Kordofan:

• Rapes, violence and looting reported in Tabet

TABET, North Darfur (30 November 2012) - Intensive looting, rapes and violence were reported in Tabet, North Darfur, by several witnesses who spoke with Radio Dabanga on Friday, 30 November. They said that pro-government militias from Kutum and El-Waha localities are targeting citizens who come from 'all areas of East Jebel Marra' to shop and trade at the weekly Tabet market. The 'Friday market' is the largest in the region, attracting thousands of citizens from the surrounding areas every week.

'At least seven raped'

Numerous witnesses told Radio Dabanga that the militias 'positioned themselves on all main roads leading to Tabet' on Thursday early morning. They explained that all streets leading to Tabet connect at least 30 villages to the market each. On Friday, sources continued, the militias began looting all citizens heading to and from Tabet, 'stripping them of all of their possessions.' In addition, at least seven women were raped in front of their families and bystanders, they asserted. The militias also beat, tortured, insulted, and accused civilians of being Torabora (rebel movements), leaving several injured. Onlookers explained that, at this point, it is difficult to assess the exact number of victims.

The victims

According to reports, the first rape took place at Galab Street, located one kilometer from Tabet. In this event, three girls aged between 12 and 13 years old were 'collectively raped by a group of militiamen.' Witnesses declared the second assault occurred on Karafullah Street, in which four women aged around 18, 19 or 20 years old, were the victims. Onlookers said that several other women were attacked, but they could not yet assess the exact number of victims. They explained this is because there are many streets leading to the 'Friday market,' with thousands of people passing by, what makes it difficult for them to keep track of the correct amount of casualties.

Looting

Other witnesses informed Radio Dabanga that the militia Janjaweed is responsible for the looting, which they affirmed was backed-up by an Antonov airplane flying over the streets leading to Tabet. [ ] Victims told Radio Dabanga that the militias beat and then and stole all of their belongings, including the goods they were going to sell at the market. Afterwards, the perpetrators brought the stolen items to their main base located near Tabet, sources recounted. Some of the witnesses affirmed these are the same militias who carried out the attacks in Hashaba last September [and October].

Civilian clearances

Several sources stressed to Radio Dabanga that while beating them, militiamen were screaming that they are following official instructions to [NB] 'clean and crush the whole of East Jebel Marra.' Besides, the militiamen were instructed to 'clear the roads between El-Fasher and Nyala,' according to testimonies. Witnesses affirmed the instructions came from the Minister of Defense Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein and Sudan's first Vice-President Ali Osman Mohammed Taha. The federal authorities, sources recounted, reportedly ordered the militias to 'clean up the area within three months and report back to them once the job is done.' In addition, the armed groups brought very sophisticated weapons from Kutum, which were used during the looting 'to make the locals poor' according to their systematic policy, sources said.

'Largest of its kind'

This is reportedly the second large attack carried out by militias at the 'Friday market'; the first occurred earlier this year during the month of Ramadan. Sources reported to Radio Dabanga that during the previous assault militias looted citizens in front of the Sudanese army, which was based in the region by then. Onlookers stressed that this is the largest incident of its kind at the Tabet market, in which thousands of people were targeted. Citizens and local residents urgently called on the UN to protect them. They affirmed to have 'lost everything and declared they cannot flee to El-Fasher as the roads leading to it are being guarded by militias.' The militias, victims completed, are shooting everyone in the area and are claiming their properties belong to them.

• Camp activist: 'No food distribution for 5 months'

ARGO CAMP / DALI CAMP, North Darfur (21 November 2012) - Displaced residents from Argo and Dali camps in North Darfur have complained about the stop in food ration distribution over the past five months, Radio Dabanga learned on Tuesday November 20. A camp activist claims that food rations have not been distributed in Argo and Dali camps since last July. He revealed that the World Food Programme apologized for not delivering the rations to the two camps. In a meeting with camp representatives on Friday, the organization explained that the security situation in the region does not permit WFP to deliver the food rations, despite the fact that the region is under government control.

• UN denied access to Kassab camp

KASSAB CAMP, North Darfur (20 November 2012) - Sources from North Darfur announced that Sudanese authorities denied UN Special Rapporteur Chaloka Beyani access to Kassab camp, in Kutum locality, on Saturday, 17 November, they told Radio Dabanga. Beyani, who is currently in Sudan, was scheduled to visit various sites of displacement and return, and meet with displaced persons, local authorities and affected communities. Leaders and sheikhs from Kassab had reportedly prepared a reception to welcome the rapporteur to the camp, but were 'surprised' when UNAMID informed them that Sudanese authorities did not grant Beyani permission to visit the camp and assess the local conditions.

• Militants allegedly kill two and rape three

GEREIDA, South Darfur (27 November 2012) - Two displaced persons were killed and another four injured when an alleged pro-government militia opened fire on them in the village of Kobe at approximately four kilometers from Gereida in South Darfur on Monday morning, November 26, sources told Radio Dabanga. In addition, the militants reportedly raped three girls, after killing and injuring a group of displaced persons. Witnesses, who fled the scene, described the militia as 'loyal to the government' and added that the group consisted of about 18 gunmen on camels and horses. The militants crossed the group of displaced persons, who were working at their farms in the village of Kobe near to Gereida, and randomly opened fire on the displaced without any warning. The witnesses explained that the random firing resulted in the death of Omer Abdel Kareem and Ali Abdel Kareem, both residents of Sabi camp. Additionally, the firing resulted in the injuring of Mariam Dawood Hamad, Haleema Dawood Hamad, Abdullah Abdel Kareem and Nimeiri Abdel Kareem from Gigi camp. [ ]

They added that the gunmen raped three girls between 18 and 25 years old, after randomly shooting at the group of displaced. The witnesses told Radio Dabanga that the incident caused fear and panic among the displaced women and explained that both the police and UNAMID were informed about the incident.

• Armed group reportedly rapes displaced women

MUKJAR CAMP, West Darfur (25 November 2012) - An armed group reportedly raped three displaced women from Mukjar camp in Burgi area, Central Darfur, on Friday November 23, sources told Radio Dabanga. A source told Radio Dabanga that one of the victims is a 14-year-old girl. A relative of one of the victims, describing the armed group as a 'pro-government militia,' said that the gunmen attacked the three displaced women while they were on their way back from the farms in the area of Burgi, approximately four kilometers west of Mukjar.

• Herders critically injure four displaced, sources

MORNEI, West Darfur (29 November 2012) - Four residents from camp Mornei in West Darfur were critically injured after being heavily beaten by herders on Wednesday, 28 November, eyewitnesses informed Radio Dabanga. The herders had allegedly invaded the victims' farm in Wadi Balah, West Mornei, to graze their cattle, and the displaced were beaten after attempting to release the livestock. Onlookers affirmed the victims, beaten with rifle butts and whips, were transferred to a Mornei hospital for treatment. According to camp's residents, the herders' cattle completely destroyed the farm.

[By "herders" Radio Dabanga means to suggest the typically nomadic Arab herders of camels and cattle; the displacement of farmers from their lands (see immediately below) is indeed the "greatest threat to peace in Darfur," and yet UNAMID and the UN are doing nothing to reverse this extremely dangerous trend-ER]

• 'Settlements largest threat to peace in Darfur'

SARAF OMRA (18 November) - Residents from Dankoj, Naseem and Jebel camps in Saraf Omra locality, North Darfur, disclosed to Radio Dabanga on Friday November 16 that new settlers have changed the names of their villages of origin. The name changes have been made after the indigenous population has been displaced as a result of attacks by the Government of Sudan (GoS) and its militias, a displaced person added. A displaced person explained in an interview with Radio Dabanga that the new settlers have caused a widespread demographic change in the area of Wadi Barry, which connects North Darfur to Central Darfur.

He disclosed that some villages' names have been changed, for example: Jebel Kadees is now called Alwaha, Singo became Doha, Bordeau is now called Jimal Lummat, Buram Buram became Waha East, Albela village is now called Riyadh, and Tubou Jerto became Almalumma, Aotorreh is now called Nagah, and Timber village became Alraigeen. Additionally, the camp resident blamed the international community for reportedly ignoring the issue of the new settlers and the demographic change it has created, which has been imposed by the Government of Sudan and its militias. He explained that the settling constitutes the largest threat to peace in Darfur....

• Herders accused of killing 3 farmers

KEREINEK, West Darfur (13 November 2012) - Gunmen, who witnesses believe to be herders, were accused of having shot dead two residents from camp Kereinek, West Darfur, on Monday morning, 12 November. On a separate incident, witnesses have accused herders of killing another farmer recently in West Darfur. The displaced, Adam Ahmed Ibrahim, and his son were shot inside their own farm, located about three hours away from the camp, witnesses told Radio Dabanga. According to reports, the perpetrators had entered the victims' farm at nighttime with their livestock and the displaced got shot when they tried expelling the gunmen from their land.

• Gunmen kill elderly woman in North Darfur

UMM LAOTA, North Darfur (27 November 2012) - A 70-year-old woman was killed inside a farm in Umm Laota, North Darfur, as a result of random shots fired by members of the Sudanese Central Reserve Forces and pro-government militias, witnesses told Radio Dabanga on Tuesday, 27 November. According to testimonies, the armed groups were driving seven vehicles and were coming from Kutum. Upon their arrival in Umm Laota on Tuesday morning, they began shooting indiscriminately towards the villages. [Eyewitnesses] added that besides killing Hawah Yahia, the armed groups also killed horses and donkeys. Local sources explained that as a result of the attacks, they are prevented from going to their farms, to water wells and to fetch firewood. Residents from the villages of Tabarik, Karfalah, Koto, Dali Umm Tretir, Hashaba, Shroufa, Tabeldiya, Dalma, Kunjara, Kouchna, Watrodona, Goz Dor and Timo are now living in fear as they do not know what will happen.

• Herders kidnap police, injure displaced

SARAF JIDAD, West Darfur (20 November 2012) - 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. [ ]

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

• Armed herders accused of stabbing displaced persons

BENDESSEY CAMP / MUKJAR CAMP, West Darfur (26 November 2012) - Armed herders are being accused of stabbing a displaced resident from Bendessey [also Bindisi] camp and another one from Mukjar camp in Central [formerly West] Darfur on Friday November 23, witnesses told Radio Dabanga.

• Armed herders accused of killing farmer

KENDEBE CAMP, West Darfur (26 November 2012) - Adam Abkar, a displaced person from Kendebe camp in West Darfur was allegedly shot dead by armed herders inside his farm on Sunday evening, November 25, Radio Dabanga has learned. A witness told Radio Dabanga that the armed herders reportedly opened fire on the farmer and shot him in the head and chest. The farmer was killed on the spot when he tried to chase the herders from his farm in Wadi Jughana at about 1 kilometer from Kendebe camp.

• Third day of attacks in Saraf Jidad

SARAF JIDAD, West Darfur (21 November 2012) - Armed herders allegedly attacked the area of Saraf Jidad, Sirba locality, in West Darfur on Tuesday November 20 for the third day in a row, Radio Dabanga has learned. An armed group of herders attacked Saraf Jidad camp in Sirba locality on Sunday morning and allegedly kidnapped three policemen. 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. Additionally, the herders are being accused of torturing more than 60 camp residents and looting of homes, shops and properties. [ ]

[An advisor to the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) said that] state authorities are also responsible for burning farms in the areas of Bir Dagig and Kendebe about two weeks ago. He accused the government of West Darfur of 'knowing about the burning of farms on forehand; with the purpose of starving residents and displacing them, to make room for new settlers,' he added to Radio Dabanga from el-Geneina.

• Gunmen ambush displaced men

KASSAB CAMP, North Darfur (29 November 2012) - Gunmen, alleged members of a pro-government militia, looted the belongings of two displaced persons from Kassab camp near Kutum in North Darfur. [Again, it was to Kassab camp that Khartoum denied access to the UN Special Rapporteur for the Human Rights of Displaced Persons-ER]

• Herders accused of killing 4 farmers

KODILL, North Darfur (23 November 2012) - Herders were accused of killing four farmers in two separate incidents in the last few days in North Darfur, witnesses told Radio Dabanga. The latest incident took place on Friday evening, 23 November, at 7pm, in Kodill village, east of Korma in which armed herders shot and killed the farmers Morheyedin Abdallah Farrah and Suleiman Hassan Omar. The herders had invaded the victims' farm with their livestock, and the displaced got shot when asking them to leave, sources recounted. Omda Ahmed Ateem, North Darfur camps' coordinator and the local omda, condemned the incident and affirmed that these things occur often in the region. Speaking to Radio Dabanga, Ateem asserted the herders were armed by the government of Sudan, adding that nobody was yet held accountable for the latest events. The other incident took place in the Birka Saira area, Saraf Omra locality, according to witnesses' accounts. They told Radio Dabanga that a group of camels' owners attacked farmers on Tuesday evening, leaving two of them dead and another 10 injured.

• Militants kill camp resident

DANKOJ CAMP, North Darfur (19 November 2012) Residents from camp Dankoj in Saraf Omra locality, North Darfur, accused a pro-government militia of killing a displaced man on Sunday night, 18 November, they told Radio Dabanga. The displaced Idriss Issa Nahar was killed at the eastern sector of the camp when two gunmen driving a motorcycle, opened fire on him, according to an eyewitness. He said the perpetrators went to the victim's home at 9:40pm and, calling out his name, asked him to come outside. The moment Nahar stepped out, the witness continued, he was shot dead and the perpetrators fled. According to the source, such incidents, along with looting, happen continuously at the camp.

• 'Continuous attacks' in Saraf Omra camps

SARAF OMRA (16 November 2012) - Displaced persons from Saraf Omra camps in North Darfur have complained about the high level of insecurity in the area due to the continuous attacks executed by pro-government militias, they told Radio Dabanga on Friday, 16 November. Residents from the Naseem, Dankoj and Jebel camps affirmed that pro-government militias carry out armed robberies and fire random shots targeting the camps. A camps activist told Radio Dabanga that security is lacking in the area, stressing that the lives and properties of local residents are constantly under threat.

• Bombardment East Jebel Marra kills two

EAST JEBEL MARRA (November 15, 2012) - An aerial bombardment in East Jebel Marra on Wednesday morning, November 14, reportedly killed two people, Radio Dabanga was informed. The aerial bombardment was said to be carried out by the Sudanese Air Forces in several villages in East Jebel Marra. Mustafa Tambour, military spokesperson of Sudan's Liberation Movement-Abdelwahid Nur, disclosed to Radio Dabanga that the heavy shelling started at nine in the morning and lasted for approximately two hours. Tambour said that the areas of Vanaga, Jebel Hareez and East Jebel Marra were exposed to bombardments. He added that the shelling resulted in the death of a number of civilians and appealed to the UN Security Council for an intervention to stop the bombardments targeting civilians, Tambour added to Radio Dabanga from the field. At the same time, witnesses from Zam Zam camp told Radio Dabanga they heard sounds of shelling and aerial bombardments coming from Wadi Murrah and Tangarara. The witnesses added they saw at least 20 aircrafts take off from El-Fasher airport in the direction of East Jebel Marra, they added to Radio Dabanga from Zam Zam camp.

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