7 January 2013

Sudan: Abu Tira Injure Displaced, Loot Zam Zam Market

Zam Zam Camp — A large group composed of Central Reserve Forces (known as Abu Tira) and of "local forces trained and armed by the government" attacked and "completely looted" the central market of the Zam Zam camp, North Darfur, different sources told Radio Dabanga.

The assault, which occurred at 3:30pm on Monday, lasted for more than two hours, camp leaders, witnesses and activists reported.

According to them, several Abu Tira and local militiamen infiltrated the market and pretended to be "shopping", before they began firing gunshots in the air.

Next, they divided themselves into three groups and launched a "fully organized" attack, as an onlooker described it. The first group would shoot in the air, the second would stab and beat up victims and the third would loot "money and any other goods they could carry with them from the market", one of the sources recounted.

Eight victims were critically injured and taken to a hospital for treatment, including the displaced Mukhtar Adam Rajab and Najib Adam Mohamed. Witnesses said four of these victims were stabbed and the others were injured from beatings.

Speaking to Radio Dabanga, a witness explained that this attack occurred at a time in which the flow of displaced to Zam Zam has significantly increased, with several people coming in from East Jebel Marra.

He pointed out that about 600 individuals are currently arriving at the camp on a daily basis.

"UNAMID merely monitored"

A witness told Radio Dabanga that Zam Zam's traders' union informed the military and the police about the assaults, who "helped evacuating the displaced to the hospital".

UNAMID, on its turn, "merely monitored" the ongoing attacks at the camp from its watchtowers, according to testimonies.

Different sources called the circumstances of the incident at the market as "strange", given it happened in the afternoon and in front of the police, of the army and of UNAMID.

The camp's population called on UNAMID's headquarters in El-Fasher to assume its responsibility of protecting the "defenseless displaced".

A displaced student called on the North Darfur government to assume its responsibility and protect its people from those who are armed by the government, or to resign, if it cannot fulfill its duty.

The student pointed out that normally attacks by Abu Tira or pro-government militias occur in much smaller-scale, with no more than four members attacking small groups of displaced. She stressed not seeing an attack of this magnitude in about four years now.

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