Radio Dabanga (Hilversum)

8 January 2013

Sudan: 'War' By North Darfur Mine Ongoing, 20 Villages Burnt - Tribal Leader

Jebel 'Amer — The highest leader of tribe Beni Hussein announced that the "war" in the surroundings of the gold mine area of Jebel 'Amer, North Darfur, is still ongoing, during an interview with Radio Dabanga.

Nazer Ajideiy Adam Hamid also announced that at least 20 villages in the al-Sref Beni Hussein locality were burnt by Abbala tribesmen and suggested that more villages may have been set ablaze.

He was not able to assess the total number of deaths as of Tuesday, 8 January, given the critical situation in the vicinity.

The flames reportedly led to the displacement of families from all of the 20 affected villages, next to the displacement of gold miners who are traveling to al-Sref, Kabkabiya and Saraf Omra. The nazer described the conditions of those on the run as "miserable", as most of them were looted and stripped from all of their belongings, including of their mobile phones.

Hamid asserted that the fighting has currently extended to others villages, including Khedera and Jabak Allah. He drew attention to the "complete absence" of the government and its forces on the ground to protect civilians and end "the bloody clashes".

"Nobody has been given directions or guidance concerning the situation, there is no one here to stop the fighting between us. The only thing I saw was an airplane that came picking up some of the injured", the tribal leader stated.

According to the nazer, the conflict began due to a dispute between members of the Abbala and of the Beni Hussein tribes that developed into a "war", in which "brothers are killing each other and burning villages".

On Monday, Radio Dabanga reported that at least 60.000 gold explorers fled the gold mining area of Jebel 'Amer after fierce clashes erupted between the Arab tribes of Abbala and Beni Hussein, killing dozens over the weekend.

Hamid urged all of the neutral tribes of Darfur to move quickly to Jebel 'Amer and help them put an end to the fighting, noting that "conflicts are a part of life". He also urged the government to send its troops and give assistance to those who fled Jebel 'Amer and are currently arriving in al-Sref, Kabkabiya and Saraf Omra.

"Bullet-proof jackets"

Alike the nazer, a source also reported to Radio Dabanga about the complete absence of government troops and about an UNAMID airplane picking up 13 injured victims to be transferred to El-Fasher on Tuesday.

The same source observed "heavily armed" Abbala members in bullet-proof jackets burning at least six villages in the Jebel 'Amer surroundings. He confirmed the names of five of these villages: Hilat Abuyahiya, Warmarra, Warkubakiya, Wadi Omdireisaya and Samuti.

In addition, the man heard sounds of gunshots and saw smoke coming from the west direction of al-Sref Beni Hussein, calling this a "serious" situation.

He asserted the Abbala tribesmen were driving vehicles and riding horses.

Burnt village

Abbas Mahmoud, a resident of Jebel 'Amer revealed that Abbala men burnt his village called Umm Seneinah, along with another one called Umm Kutur, at 8:00am on Monday. Both villages are located about 11 kilometers south-west of Jebel 'Amer.

In addition, the villages of Umm Direisaya, Ghanamaya and Abu Sadira were burnt, according to the resident.

He asserted that after burning the villages, Abbala members, driving 20 Land Cruisers, moved south towards Wadi Bare.

Mahmoud saw smoke coming from that area from a distance, but was not able to confirm what exactly happened there. He also saw smoke around Birkasaira, however it is not clear to him what took place in that area.

This source also emphasized the absence of government forces in the area when speaking to Radio Dabanga.

76 bodies

Adam Yahiya Hamid, who claims to have been the last person to leave Jebel 'Amer, affirmed he counted 76 bodies lying near the "completely empty" gold mine on Monday.

Hamid used to own a shop in Jebel 'Amer which was recently looted. He recounted that during the initial clashes some of the workers were thrown in the wells.

The man noted that the fighting began because Abbala men were going after Beni Hussein members, but that tension escalated and evolved into "indiscriminate killings".

While on the road, Hamid allegedly counted another nine dead bodies and came across injured gold miners, whose mobile phones had been looted. One of these men is called Mohamed Hussein. The others did not know their identities because they do not hold any documents, the source related.

Hamid explained he placed four of the wounded men on the back of a donkey and took them to a hospital in al-Sref Beni Hussein locality, where he saw another nine wounded victims.

In addition, upon arriving in al-Sref, the witness could see nearby villages burning and hear gunshots.

Thousands still arriving

Residents from Kabkabiya and Saraf Omra informed Radio Dabanga that "thousands" of people are still arriving in both places.

According to them, locals are looking after the displaced and providing some assistance.

On Tuesday, a witness affirmed that four villages west of Kabkabiya were set ablaze as part of the ongoing clashes between the Abbala and Beni Hussein tribes. These villages are Nogi Deah, Sabarna, Baraka and Hilat Adimitu.

SRF

The Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) led by Abdel Wahid condemned the aggressions in Jebel 'Amer and called on the Abbala and Beni Hussein tribes "to listen to the voice of reason".

The rebels are blaming the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) for what is happening in North Darfur and are asking the conflicting parties to "direct their weapons" towards Khartoum, instead of against each other.

Abdel Wahid, who is also the vice-chairman of the SRF, suggested that the tensions in Jebel 'Amer are actually an attempt of the central government to divert the attention from the "New Dawn" document that calls for the regime's overthrow. He also suggested that the only beneficiary of the clashes is the NCP.

He is calling on all tribes to immediately halt the fighting and told Radio Dabanga that the "SLM-AW [integrated in the SRF] is ready mediate the conflict and stop the bleeding".

In addition, Abdel Wahid called on all people of Sudan, including those from the Awlad Heiban and the Awlad Serur clans (referring to recent tribal clashes in South Kordofan), to resolve their differences.

According to him, differences come from oppression and slavery, adding the NCP oppresses "all people of Sudan".

Lastly, the rebel leader told Radio Dabanga: "I hope that my words will be a good gesture for you to stop the fighting immediately and reconcile. Conflicts are natural, but it is not natural that they lead to death".

JEM

The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) also blames the government for the violence between Abbala and Beni Hussein members, according to what the spokesman Jibril Adam Bilal told Radio Dabanga.

He affirmed that NCP militiamen have burnt more than 10 villages in the area of Jebel 'Amer and that the clashes left more than 47 people dead and over 280 injured.

Bilal confirmed other reports about an UNAMID plane airlifting some of the wounded.

The spokesman appealed to members of both tribes to stop the "bloodshed", whatever the reason is it began.

SLM-MM

Adam Saleh Abkar, military spokesman of the Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM), appealed to all tribes to immediately cease hostilities.

Alike Abdel Wahid, he also declared to Radio Dabanga that the only beneficiary of the fighting is the NCP and that the opposing parties "must listen to the voice of reason".

The spokesman affirmed that more than 150 people were killed as a result of the hostilities so far, and 18 villages have been burnt. In addition, he continued, tribal tensions have led to theft, to looting and to the displacement of several families from their home-villages.

Abkar suggested that arming tribes is in favor of the system, as it is them who provided these groups with "all kinds of weapons and missiles" that are now being used in the fighting.

He accused the NCP of arming and inciting tribes against each other and stated that "the government can give you all kinds of weapons for free, but on the other hand, it cannot give you any slice of bread".

The SLM-MM is urging all parties to cease hostilities, to unite and to cooperate with each other in order to topple the regime. He also urged them not to skip the chance of joining the "New Dawn" document and oust the regime.

According to the movement's spokesman, the NCP is inciting the fights so it can remain in power.

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