Kutum — At least nine people have been killed and 17 others wounded during an attack by militiamen on the sit-in at Fata Borno camp for the displaced in Kutum locality in North Darfur on Monday morning. A State of Emergency has been declared throughout the state.
The militiamen riding camels, horses, and motorcycles, violently broke-up the sit-in. They plundered and torched the camp market of Fata Borno and a number of homes, and set two vehicles on fire.
Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that the attackers left the camp gradually at about 15:00, taking with them the stolen goods, large numbers of livestock, and three vehicles taken from the camp.
Police in three vehicles attempted to counter the attack, but the intensity of the fire and the large numbers of attackers forced police to withdraw.
When a force of peacekeepers from the UN-AU Mission in Darfur (Unamid) reached the area, they halted on the opposite side of the valley and did not interfere, the sources said.
Video clips sent to Radio Dabanga by activists show the dead and wounded in the temporary clinic that has been set up at the sit-in. Flames and smoke cam be seen in the background. Sounds of heavy gunfire can be heard and people screaming.
The dead among the displaced of Fata Borno camp include Mohamed Jafoun, Abdallah Ibrahim, Abakar Ibrahim, Khadija Ibrahim, Ahmed Ibrahim, Noureldin Saleh, Ishag Babikir, Abdallah Abakar, and Yasir Abdallah.
Teacher Yahya El Khumus, leader of the Freedom and Change Forces in Kutum, told Radio Dabanga that the attack began at 10:00 on Monday, when militiamen stormed the camp from all directions, until they reached the sit-in.
Khumus said they informed the state authorities immediately after the attacks began, but they did not respond until 15:30.
State of Emergency
In response to the Kutum violence, the governor of the North Darfur Maj Gen Malik El Tayeb declared a State of Emergency on Monday in all parts of the state until further notice.
In a statement on Sunday evening, the governor announced the pursuit of suspects in the events of Kutum and Fata Borno in order to bring them to justice, and pledged to send more troops to the Fata Borno Administrative Unit, Kutum, and neighbouring Kabkabiya and El Sareif Beni Hussein localities.
On Thursday, the sit-in in Fata Borno had secured its first victory as the locality director banned all motorcycles, which are a preferred means by militiamen for hit-and-run attacks. The locality director also promised to protect the farmers on their farms.
Unamid peacekeepers deployed to Kutum on Sunday (Picture: Unamid)
The displaced informed a delegation of the North Darfur Security Committee that visited the camp on Sunday of rumours that militiamen would attack the camp.
People from Kutum and Fata Borno living in Khartoum, in cooperation with members of Resistance Committees, organised a solidarity vigil in front of the Council of Ministers on Monday, condemning the bloody events in Fata Borno.
Participants in the sit-in delivered a memorandum to the Prime Minister's Office demanding that the violence in Kutum locality be stopped.
The memorandum called on the federal government to immediately intervene to stop the attacks and form an independent committee to investigate the events that took place in Kutum and Fata Borno on Sunday and Monday, along with a visit by a delegation from the federal government to visit the region to find out the events.
Participants in the vigil disputed the accuracy of the information contained in the statement of the government of North Darfur about the events in Kutum on Sunday, calling on the government to secure citizens and their property, and to restore the Rule of Law through the police, prosecution, judiciary, agricultural insurance, and enabling farmers to cultivate their lands.
In the memorandum delivered to the cabinet, they stressed the evacuation of settlers from agricultural lands, holding criminals accountable and prosecuting them, in addition to raising the police post in Fata Borno to a police station, sacking those responsible for their inability to fulfil the demands, sacking the governor, and his security committee.
According to a statement issued by the North Darfur Security Committee on Sunday evening, protestors burned the police station of Kutum and 14 vehicles when a group of officials, journalists, and security personnel entered Kutum following a visit to the sit-in of Fata Borno.
When entering the town, the delegation was besieged from all sides and assaulted with stones, a number of members of the delegation were injured, media equipment was damaged.
The delegation was forced to resort to the Kutum police headquarters to take shelter in it, but the protestors pursued them inside the police headquarters, assaulted and burned the police station and 14 vehicles.
The North Darfur Security Committee visited the Fata Borno region at the request of the protestors and received from them a memorandum containing six demands of the protestors.
The protestors in Fata Borno called for an educational meeting with the security committee, but some of them refused this meeting, so the security committee cancelled it and returned to El Fasher by plane. The committee expressed its regret for what happened and confirmed its complete concern for the safety of any citizen and support for legitimate demands.
On Sunday, the North Darfur Security Committee visited Fata Borno near Kutum town at the request of the sit-in, and received from them a note containing six demands of the sit-in.
In its statement on Monday, the committee said that it had responded to three of them immediately, and had formed a committee of protestors to follow up on the rest of the demands.
The statement said that some of the protestors in Fata Borno called for an educational meeting with the security committee, but some of them refused this meeting, so the security committee cancelled it and flew back to El Fasher.
The committee expressed its regret for what happened and confirmed its complete concern for the safety of any citizen and support for legitimate demands.
The Sudanese Central Committee of Doctors reported that three people were shot during the events that took place on Sunday, as well as a number of cases of tear gas inhalation.
The committee said in a report that one of the wounded was shot in the foot, which resulted in the amputation of two toes, and indicated that two others were shot, one with a superficial wound in the chest and the second with a deep wound in the thigh.
The report mentioned a number of cases of tear gas inhalation. The committee condemned the use of bullets against citizens, explaining that it is the duty of the police to protecting citizens and not to harm them.
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