13 January 2013

Sudan: Abbala and Militias Threaten to Attack Kabkabiya City, North Darfur

Photo: IRIN
Armed men in Darfur (file photo).

Kabkabiya — Shops closed their doors in Kabkabiya, North Darfur, and residents reportedly sought shelter in their homes after Abbala men and militias threatened to attack the city on Saturday, 12 January.

The day before, two Abbala leaders had called for a truce via Radio Dabanga, and announced their intention to end hostilities and violence between their tribe and Beni Hussein.

Sources suggested the Abbala tribesmen had gone to Kabkabiya to capture a prominent Beni Hussein leader called Adam Ajideiy. Shops and homes still had their doors shut on Sunday, local residents affirmed.

Kabkabiya's population is living "in extreme panic" since the beginning of the weekend, especially after Abbala men arrived at the site with 15 Land Cruisers. They were allegedly joined by a militia group who happened to be shopping in the town at the moment.

"Shoot Abbala"

Also on Saturday, local residents told Radio Dabanga that the army commander of the Kabkabiya garrison ordered his troops to shoot any Abbala member who would try to invade the city to capture Ajideiy.

His order led the attackers to retract and leave the city. On their way out, they killed the citizen Mohamed Abdul Majeed, who was working on his farm located near a valley called Burgo, sources reported. They added the perpetrators looted Majeed's sheep.

Beat, looted, chased

Sources trying to flee al-Sref Beni Hussein locality told Radio Dabanga they continue to live in panic and fear, explaining they were beat, looted and chased by Abbala tribesmen on Saturday and Sunday.

Vital roads in the region had been closed by the Abbala last Thursday. The tribesmen reopened them on Sunday morning, but sources reported they were closed again on the same evening.

According to testimonies, these roads are the ones connecting Kabkabiya and Saraf Omra and al-Sref Beni Hussein and Saraf Omra.

Locals affirmed that gunmen are "everywhere" and therefore, they have not been able to reach safe areas. Many displaced are currently "hidden in valleys and forests and cannot return to their towns or walk around the region safely".

At the same time, the tens of thousands of people who managed to flee and have arrived in Kabkabiya are currently "living in inhumane conditions". They come mostly from Umm Sheena, Ahmed Abdullah, Umm Geredai, Umm Kolol, Abushikan, Alajaab and Khora Azauy, sources pointed out.

Different displaced in Kabkabiya told Radio Dabanga they have been sleeping on the ground and out in the open for the past three days. Additionally, food, medicine and covers for the low temperatures are scarce, they said.

However, they pointed out to the efforts by the Sudanese Red Cross and of the World Food Programme to help them out. Sources suggested these organizations are underway to help them dig latrines, for example, to prevent the further deterioration of the environment.

Hostilities in the gold mining area of Jebel 'Amer began as a result of a dispute between members of the Arab tribes of Abbala and Beni Hussein on 6 January. Initial reports suggested that at least 60.000 workers fled the region in the first few days of clashes.

On 8 January, Radio Dabanga reported that at least 20 villages had been burnt and that the fighting appeared to have expanded further than the gold mine area of Jebel 'Amer.

The day after, a total of 25 villages had been set on fire and the conflicting parties had reportedly received backup from communities from Central, South, West and parts of North Darfur.

In the fifth consecutive day of violence, 10 January, Abbala gunmen allegedly enclosed the capital of al-Sref Beni Hussein locality and burned another four villages in the vicinity.

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