Khartoum — On Sunday, the trial of 15 militiamen of the Popular Defence Forces began in Khartoum. They are charged with attacking a village in Abbasiya in South Kordofan last year. Eight villagers were killed.
On 2 September, a group of paramilitary Popular Defence Forces (PDF) attacked the villages of El Senadra and El Shawaya in the area of El Abbasiya Tegeli.
Eight people were killed and 16 others were injured in the attack, which drew thousands of people to the hospital of El Abbasiya where they staged a protest against the attacks and the alleged impunity of the government militia.
One of the demonstrators told Radio Dabanga at the time that PDF troops "in two Land Cruisers mounted with Dushka machineguns, and others on about 70 motorcycles" raided the two villages early in the morning. After shooting 24 villagers, they plundered the villages, and set fire to the houses.
He contradicted the version of the locality's commissioner who said that the attack came from a group of outlaws who were searching for missing livestock.
After repeated pressure from the people in El Abbasiya Tegeli, 15 PDF members were arrested. The trial was referred to Khartoum because of security reasons and fears for retaliation by other militia members.
Defence lawyer Kamal Abdallah told Radio Dabanga on Sunday that the first trial session began at 10 o'clock that morning. "The preliminary hearing however, was not completed because of the absence of the investigator and one of the accused. The guarantor of the latter is supposed to be arrested."
He added that the judge ordered the defendants not to appear in military uniform in the court during the trial. The next second session has been scheduled for 14 September.