Sudan: Thousands Flee Attacks in Darfur's Jebel Marra

Intercommunal violence in Darfur has left millions in need of assistance. Pictured here, an IDP settlement in Sortoni (file photo).

Jebel Marra / El Geneina / Khartoum — More than 3,000 people have fled their villages east of Jebel Marra and sought refuge in valleys and caves higher in the mountains in the past three days. On Sunday, groups of gunmen attacked villages in the area at the South and North Darfur border. An initial report mentioned six people killed. The attackers are still roaming the area.

Spokesperson for the Darfur Displaced and Refugees General Coordination Adam Rujal reported yesterday that the villages Falouja, Kebe, Rogola, and Hillet El Faki Ahmed Zakariya in eastern Jebel Marra were raided on Sunday and Monday (January 24 and 25).

"Eight people were killed on the first day, and three on the second day. Dozens of others were injured and went missing," he stated.

Part of the villagers fled to the area of Dubo El Omda in Tawila locality, North Darfur, where a number of them took refuge in a school, others are hiding in caves in the mountains. They lost all their property, their homes, food stocks, and their livestock, spokesperson Rujal said.

Rujal criticised that the attack on the villages, which began on Sunday morning at 6 am, lasts until now. The Sudanese security forces stationed in the area did not do anything to protect the people, he said.

Activist Hasan Adam told Radio Dabanga yesterday that the gunmen are still roaming the area. They control all roads, which led to the displacement of more villagers.

The villages that were attacked and plundered are Falouja and Kebe in South Darfur's East Jebel Marra, and Marra, Debbat Nayra, and Rogola in Tawila, North Darfur, Adam said.

The displaced people are living in tragic humanitarian conditions due to lack of food and medicines, Adam reported. A number of the wounded in the attack were unable to reach clinics or hospitals in the surrounding areas because the gunmen control the main roads.

Adam called on the United Nations and the international community to intervene and protect the newly displaced.

Arab tribesmen sit-in

The sit-in of Arab tribesmen continued in the Naseem neighbourhood of El Geneina for the third day in a row.

The protestors said that that no officials have contacted them so far. They adhere to their demands: Dismissal of the state governor, the appointment of a new governor "coming from outside the state", the removal of the camps for the displaced outside El Geneina, and the transformation of these camps into residential villages.

The protestors also demanded "impartiality" from the security forces in West Darfur.

West Darfur is home to the Masalit, a non-Arab sedentary tribe, and the governor and local government employees belong to this tribe.

Last week's excessive violence in El Geneina was triggered by the killing of an Arab herdsman by a member of the Masalit. Though the perpetrator was arrested, the relatives of the victim sought revenge by themselves. In the early morning of January 16, large groups of Arab tribesmen attacked El Geneina and the two Kerending camps "from all directions". In the violence that continued the next days, at least 163 people were killed.

The protesting Arab tribesmen are reportedly also angry because the governor claimed that the Arab tribesmen who attacked the city and the camps were supported by groups from North and Central Darfur and from the border area with Chad.

West Darfur governor Mohamed El Doma said that the media play a major role in both the peace process and peaceful coexistence in the state. The media should, El Doma said, not use "a discourse of racism and regionalism, but counter negative stereotypes and refute malicious rumours that are meant to destabilise". He called on the state media to create an "atmosphere for peace". The governor deeply regrets recent hate speech on social media.

Blood donation campaign

Activists in Khartoum organised a major campaign at the tennis courts on Airport Road to donate blood for the victims of the recent violence in El Geneina, capital of West Darfur, in which at least 163 people were killed.

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