(7 August 2017) There has been a marked upsurge in targeted attacks by Sudanese Government forces on civilians in Darfur since May when Government forces clashed with two rebel groups – the Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minnawi (SLA-MM) and Sudan Liberation Movement – Transitional Council (SLA-TC) – in east, central, and north Darfur states. Tens of thousands of civilians were displaced during the clashes and subsequently as a result of attacks by Government forces and allied militia on civilian areas.
The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) previously documented a number of attacks on civilian villages between 28 May-15 June in Central and North Darfur. In late June and early July, ACJPS documented a continuing trend of targeted attacks on civilians in Central and West Darfur. The attacks on civilians appear to have been prompted by the earlier clashes between Government and armed opposition forces, and intended to punish or otherwise intimidate civilians living in the areas of rebel activity.
On 28 June, a prominent youth activist and leader in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in Nertiti, Central Darfur, was killed by an unidentified militia group in front of his home in Nertiti. The police refused to file a criminal complaint and the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) prohibited his family from holding a public funeral or erecting a marquee for visitation and consolation. The local hospital also refused to accept his body for an autopsy.
On 29 June, around 50 uniformed soldiers from the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) fired live ammunition on the market in Golo, Central Darfur, killing eleven people, including four children. Ten women and girls were raped and several homes and shops in the market were looted. At least thirty men were arrested and taken to the nearby SAF garrison. Rapid Support Forces (RSF) fighters have since been deployed to Golo and have prevented civilians from entering or leaving the area.
On 6 July a youth activist from Tor, Central Darfur, was abducted by an unidentified militia group on the road between Tor and Kass. His body was found four days later in a remote area near Tor, with gunshot wounds to his head and chest. The police refused to issue Criminal Form 8 to document the crime and the hospital refused to conduct an autopsy.
On 9 July, the Police and RSF forcibly shut down Karnidinq market in El Geneina, West Darfur. One woman and two children were killed during the incident, and twelve people were injured.
ACJPS calls on the Government of Sudan to cease attacks targeting the civilian population in Darfur, in particular killing, sexual violence and looting committed by its armed forces and allied militia. The Government of Sudan should immediately put in place measures to protect civilians throughout Darfur and respect customary international law obligations regarding internal armed conflicts which prohibit deliberate attacks on civilians; indiscriminate attacks on civilians even where there may be armed elements amongst civilians; attacks aimed at terrorizing civilians; and attacks against civilian objects.
Militia killing of IDP leader in Nertiti, central Darfur
At midnight on 28 June 2017, youth activist Nazir Abdel Aziz Salih was killed by an unidentified armed militia in front of his home in the IDP camp in the Al Omda neighbourhood of Nertiti, Central Darfur.
Nazir Abdel Aziz Salih, 29 years of age and a member of the Fur ethnic group, was a known youth activist leader in the IDP camps of Nertiti. He owned a small shop in Nertiti and ran a range of voluntary initiatives, including setting up an English language school for IDP youth where he worked as a voluntary teacher. He was a fluent English and French speaker and was arrested several times by the NISS between mid 2015 and February 2016 for providing translation services to international organizations that visited the IDP camps to speak to residents. He was also a known environmental activist and had been outspoken on issues such as deforestation and poor sanitation in Central Darfur.
On the night of 28 June, eight armed men arriving on four motorcycles broke into Mr. Nazir’s home, tied his hands behind his back, and forced him onto the street, where he was shot dead in front of his father and other family members. Members of his family went to the Nertiti police station to file a criminal complaint the same night but the police refused to file a criminal complaint and told them to take his body to the Nertiti hospital. The hospital director refused to accept the body for an autopsy and told them to bring Criminal Form 8 from the police. Form 8 is a standardised medical evidence form used in criminal proceedings related to death or grievous hurt, including rape. Article 48(1)(c) of the 1991 Criminal Procedure Act requires that where an offence relates to death, or grievous hurt, the police must take the necessary steps to call a competent medical doctor to examine the body, or the injured person, and take them to the nearest hospital. All victims of grievous hurt must therefore be provided with a Criminal Form 8 by the police, both for the medical examination or autopsy and to serve as evidence. In October 2016, the Minister of Justice issued a circular permitting public and private hospitals to treat emergency cases even if Form 8 is not available and stating that the courts shall use the report prepared by the doctor as medical evidence.
Three officers from the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) arrived at the hospital and ordered the family to take Mr. Nazir’s body home and have a quiet funeral. They were instructed not to erect a marquee for consolation, due to concerns that it would lead to a large attendance by other IDPs which may spark a demonstration.
SAF killings and rapes in Golo Town
On the morning of 29 June 2017, members of the SAF attacked Golo town, Jebel Marra, central Darfur state. The attack was prompted by the killing earlier the same day of a uniformed SAF officer who, together with four other soldiers, had attempted to rape a group of ten girls collecting water on the outskirts of the town.
During the morning hours, residents of Golo town reportedly responded to cries for help from the group of ten girls at a water pump. Residents attacked the group of five uniformed SAF soldiers who had attempted to gang rape the girls by throwing rocks. They stoned one of the soldiers to death and the others fled to the nearby SAF garrison. A short while later, around 50 SAF officers in uniform returned to Golo Town, armed with submachine guns and small arms. The soldiers raided homes and shops in the market, killing at least eleven people, including four children, and wounding twenty others. Ten women and girls were raped. At least thirty men were arrested from the market and forced to carry goods stolen by the soldiers to the nearby SAF garrison.
The names of eleven individuals killed during the attack are:
- Ali Abakar Eisa, (m), 27 years of age.
- Rogia Adam Daldo, (f).
- Najeeb Adam Abdelkaber, (m), 50 years of age.
- Ibrahim Abdelrahman, (m), 28 years of age.
- Hawa Eisa Jalab, (f).
- Fatima Daaod Idris, (f).
- Mussa Ahmed Yousif, (m), 45 years of age.
- Tariq Jumma Ahmed (m), child of unknown age.
- Nada Ahmed Mohammed (f), child of unknown age.
- Thoria Babiker Mohammed (f), child of unknown age.
- Abdelazim Idris Abaker, (m), child of unknown age.
Hundreds of people from the area fled to caves and hill tops, whilst it is thought a few thousand others sought refuge in the IDP camps of Nertiti, Kass and Zalingei. After the attack, a large number of RSF fighters were deployed to the area and prevented civilians from entering or leaving the area. Residents have been prohibited from using their mobile phones and some mobile phones have been confiscated.
Extra-judicial execution of IDPs at Kirinding market, El Geneina
At around 3pm on Sunday 9 July 2017, uniformed members of the Police and the RSF, arriving in fourteen Land Cruiser vehicles, arrived at the market in Kirinding IDP camp in El Geneina town, West Darfur, and forcibly shut it down. Kirinding market is the only market for displaced persons in the multiple IDP camps around El Geneina. No prior warning was issued for the closure. The Police and RSF fired live ammunition to disperse people from the market, causing everyone to flee.
Three IDPs, including two children, were shot and killed:
- Farid Ishaq, (m), 7 years old.
- Yasmin Khalil Ismail, (f), 16 years old.
- Fatima Hassan Mohammed Abaker, (f), 40 years old
Nine others sustained gunshot wounds, including:
- Abdulmalik Hassan Idris, (m).
- Abdul Ghani Adam Abdulnabi, (m).
- Abujmaa Mohammed Isaac, (?).
- Issam Abaker Mousa, (m).
- Abdullah Ismail Yahya, (m).
- Said Adam Mohammed, (m).
- Hafez Bashir, (m).
- Mutasim Hussein Mohammed, (m).
- Mohammed Adam on Toush, (m).
The market remained closed in the first week of August 2017. The official reason given for the closure is to regularise the market, which is an informal market within the IDP camp.
Abduction and extrajudicial killing of activist in Tor, Central Darfur
On Thursday 6 July 2017 at around 2.30pm, a group of unidentified militiamen wearing military uniforms intercepted a car travelling between Kass and Tor towns in Central Darfur state and kidnapped youth activist Mr. Adam Ahmed Wad Seeb. He was taken to an unknown location and his body was found four days later, on Monday 10 July 2017, in a remote area near Tor, with gunshot wounds to his head and chest.
Adam was travelling through Lolab village with seven other men when about five armed militiamen intercepted the vehicle and pulled Adam out. On the morning of Monday 10 July the perpetrators contacted Adam’s family by telephone and told them that they had killed Adam, and where to find the body. Adam’s family members buried him without an autopsy from the hospital in Tor, because the police refused to issue Criminal Form 8 required by the hospital.
Adam had been subjected to a previous assassination attempt in 2016 when militiamen opened fire on his home, but he was not there.
Fighting broke out between the between the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and armed opposition groups in Ain Siro and Garga localities in North Darfur on 28 May causing massive civilian displacement. At dawn on the same day, an the RSF together with an unidentified government-sponsored militia arriving with more than one hundred vehicles attacked a number of civilian villages in the Ain Siro locality. At least twelve people were killed and ten injured during the attack. The following day, 29 May, the RSF and allied militia –arriving on motorcycles and camelback – burned seven villages to the ground in the Ain Siro locality and looted markets, homes and livestock in seventeen villages. Eleven civilians were killed and nineteen injured during the attacks. Further villages around Ain Siro and Kutum were attacked and looted by unidentified militia in North Darfur on 1-6 June.
The RSF and an unidentified allied militia attacked a number of villages in the Jebel Marra area of Central Darfur on 14-15 June. On 14 June, three people were killed and eleven were seriously injured during attacks on Tor village. Ten women were abducted from Tor and it is estimated that at least 5,000 people were displaced. On 15 June, the RSF, Border Guards and an unidentified Government-sponsored militia riding horses and camels attacked six villages in the Rokoro locality of Jebel Marra, Central Darfur. The markets and homes were raided and looted, and a number of livestock were stolen. Later in the day on 15 June, the same militias attacked the Nertiti area, and abducted seven men.
Contact: Mossaad Mohamed Ali, ACJPS Executive Director / Emily Cody, ACJPS Senior Programme Officer: +256 779584542 / +256 788695068 (Kampala), or firstname.lastname@example.org.