Radio Dabanga (Hilversum)

Sudan: 27 000 Flee North Darfur Clashes to Rebel-Controlled Area

Abu Gamra — Around 27.000 people fleeing the battle between the Abbala and Beni Hussein tribes have arrived in Abu Gama, a rebel-controlled area in North Darfur, several sources told Radio Dabanga on Thursday, 17 January.

Most of the displaced are women, children, elderly, the sick and the wounded, Saleh Mohamed Haroun, omda of Sabarna area in al-Sref Beni Hussein locality said. He is one of the 27.000 people who fled the tribal clashes.

The omda said they are living out in the open, under the shade of trees or around mountains and valleys.

Temperatures are rapidly dropping in Darfur and water, food and medicine are becoming sharply scarce. These conditions have a great impact especially on the wounded, the sick and on children, Haroun stressed.

He added that the displaced are drinking water from creeks as the wells were destroyed by the government.

According to the omda, Abu Gamra is a small area, with very little infra-structure and basic services.

When asked by Radio Dabanga if the area has received any aid, Haroun denied and said nothing has arrived; "not from the government, not from foreign aid organizations".

He noted that the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), which controls Abu Gamra, is stationed in the area and added the displaced "welcome" the presence of the movement.

The SRF provides them support, such as picking up the wounded from roads and having them treated in Abu Gamra, and safety, according to the omda.

He appealed to local, state and federal authorities, and to humanitarian organizations to speed up their rescue and assistance to the displaced.

Villages

Omda Haroun told Radio Dabanga that the displaced currently stationed in Abu Gamra come from the following villages: Sabarana, Birka Zuur, Nogudiya, Jokhan, Nurian, Hajjam, Tega, Malaha, Jebel 'Amer, El-Deleba, El-Haran, Medecis, Ta'ah, Terter, Sirba, Guenduliaat, Adar, Al-Djuruf, Umm Boa, Wogara Kunjara, Abushikan, and Khedera, and Gebgui, Keeno, El-Ghejer, Kreker, and El-Mura.

These villages were "completely burned" and its residents left many of their relatives behind, especially children, elders and the sick. Haroun added that many people are still missing.

A large number of bodies were also left behind in these villages, the omda said. According to him, they could not yet be buried because former residents fear being attacked if they go back to their homes.

All directions

Another displaced living in Abu Gamra called Khadija Mohamed Ali, told Radio Dabanga that Abbala men attacked his village, Medicis, when the clashes broke out.

He recounted that the perpetrators invaded his community from "all directions" and carried out large-scale killings, looting and burning. The survivors fled to Abu Gamra, but left several children, elders and sick behind. Ali pointed out that several children are arriving in Abu Gamra without their families.

The displaced are living under trees without food and water, amid very low temperatures. The critical humanitarian conditions in the area are leading to the death of several children, the displaced told Radio Dabanga, adding that women are also "severely affected".

He appealed to authorities and organizations to expedite the provision of food, medicine and blankets.

Chairman of humanitarian affairs

Abdul-Karim Salim Bashir, chairman of Humanitarian Affairs Committee for residents of Abu Gamra, told Radio Dabanga that the number of displaced arriving in the village is "way above" capacity it can handle.

He explained that local residents shared their food, water and medicines with the newly-arrived, but stressed that now "everyone ran out of goods".

"The region is running out of food and the provision of water, which is already a problem in the area, is reaching its end", he said.

The chairman emphasized that the situation of children, women and wounded is "very difficult" and denied that aid has arrived in Abu Gamra, whether from the government or from organizations.

He appealed to organizations and to authorities to speed up the submission of food, medicine and tents and to provide drinking water to the displaced.

SLM-MM

Adam Saleh, military spokesman of the Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM), which holds control of the Abu Gamra area, confirmed to Radio Dabanga that 27.000 displaced have arrived at the village.

Most of them are women, children and the sick and their condition is "very bad", he stressed.

They are living out in the open, under the shades of trees and without food, medicine and blankets amid low temperatures.

According to the spokesman, Abu Gamra now comprises the largest gathering of displaced fleeing the clashes between Abbala and Beni Hussein.

He stressed the current situation requires urgent intervention and appealed to the UN and other humanitarian organizations to provide them assistance immediately.

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