13 January 2013

Sudan: Army, Rebels' Battle Continue - Central Darfur Citizens Still Fleeing

Golo — Citizens from West Jebel Marra in Central Darfur are still fleeing the region amid ongoing battles between government forces and its militias against rebel groups for more than two weeks now, witnesses told Radio Dabanga on Sunday, 13 January.

Especially the areas of Jildu and Golo area affected, they said, adding that large numbers of displaced "are pouring" into the cities of Nertiti, Central Darfur, and Kass, South Darfur.

Those who still did not manage to reach safer areas are currently based in places such as Kodi Mari, Kiti and Kola. Kodi Mari is located between Jildu and Nertiti whereas Kiti is east of Jildu.

The displaced told Radio Dabanga they are facing critical humanitarian conditions, explaining that food is scarce and that temperatures are getting very low at this time of this year.

They stressed that battles between the government and the Darfur rebels are still ongoing and that the Sudanese air force is still bombing the West Jebel Marra area.

A displaced speaking from Nertiti city said that about 3.000 people have reached the town since the beginning of the clashes. He appealed to humanitarian organizations to speed up their provision of aid to these people.

On Saturday, Radio Dabanga reported that more than 30.000 people fled their homes in Golo and Guldo towns because of clashes between government troops and its militias against rebels, according to a United Nations report.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), about 2.800 people escaped to a camp in Nertiti.

This camp is already home to 42.000 displaced persons, the report pointed out.


Fighting in the region reportedly broke out on 23 December, when the Darfur rebel group Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdel Wahid (SLM-AW) claimed to have captured the Jildu garrison, leaving the government with only two strongholds in the area.

According to some testimonies, ground offensives by the government are coupled with aerial bombings of several nearby villages. Dozens have died so far according to several reports, including civilians.

Jildu is an important junction that connects East and West Jebel Marra (prized for its fertile land), located near the central town of Golo in Central Darfur.

Last Tuesday, 8 January, Central Darfur's governor informed UNAMID that "armed groups had taken control of the towns of Golo and Rockero in west Jebel Marra", a mission's statement read.

He also said that about 850 families have been displaced and fled to Nertiti as a result of the fighting, while others are believed to be wandering in the mountains seeking safety.

On Wednesday, the Sudanese army denied losing the territory and declared to be in full control of the Jildu garrison area, "despite attempts made by the rebels to capture it".

The day after, Radio Dabanga reported that residents of Nertiti city were claiming the town had been receiving 150 displaced "every day, for the past five consecutive days".

They asserted these people were coming from the Jildu garrison and Golo areas.

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