(14 January 2016) Sudanese authorities should immediately put in place measures to ensure the protection of civilians in and around El Geneina, the capital city of West Darfur state, and reign in state security forces following the lethal shooting of at least ten civilians by police and security personnel and the burning and looting of the nearby village of Mouli, approximately 15 kilometers south of El Geneina over the past week. Mouli was attacked and burned to the ground by suspected members of the Government’s Rapid Support Forces on 9 and 10 January. Four residents of Mouli were abducted during the attacks and their whereabouts remain unknown. On 10 January, Central Reserve Police and National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) fired live ammunition and tear gas to disperse an angry crowd that had gathered in front of the West Darfur Governor’s offices in El Geneina and set fire to property. It is thought that most people in the crowd had been displaced from Mouli earlier that morning and headed to the State governor’s office to demand protection. At least seven people were killed, including one 16-year old boy, and ten were injured when authorities fired on the crowd.
The next day, on 11 January, members of the NISS again fired live ammunition to disperse a large crowd of mourners gathered for the funeral of the deceased. Three people, including one twelve-year-old boy, were shot dead and seven others sustained gunshot wounds at the cemetery in El Geneina. The same day, members of the Sudan Armed Forces and the police set up a military camp nearby to Mouli village and reportedly prevented an investigation team sent by the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) from visiting the site on 12 January. Most residents of Mouli are thought to have evacuated the village, with an estimated 400 residents crossing the border into neighbouring Chad. The UN has estimated around 1000 people fled to Abu Zar camp for internally displaced persons (IDP camp) in El Geneina.
The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) calls on the Sudanese authorities to immediately put in place measures to protect civilians in and around Geneina. Authorities should conduct an urgent investigation with a view to identifying and prosecuting persons responsible for the attack and abuses committed in Mouli village and establishing the whereabouts and safety of the four abducted men. Authorities must further ensure that medical and other appropriate support services are available to all those in need including displaced persons and anyone left behind in Mouli village.
The UN and AU should urgently press Sudan to allow independent investigation teams, including from UNAMID, unfettered access to Mouli village to assess and verify the alleged attacks on 9 and 10 January leading to the mass forced displacement of its residents.
Sudanese authorities should also be urged to launch an independent, impartial and thorough investigation into the deaths of the ten people – including two children – in El Geneina on 10 and 11 January and injuries sustained by others. Law enforcement officials responsible for the use of unlawful lethal force or the otherwise unnecessary or disproportionate use of force should be held to account.
International standards on law enforcement practice dictate that force of any kind should only be used exceptionally, when it is strictly necessary and proportionate. These standards prohibit the lethal use of firearms except when their use is strictly unavoidable to protect life. The policing of assemblies, including those that are violent, must respect human rights, including the rights to life, liberty and security of the person and the right to be free from torture or other forms of ill-treatment. Where a small minority turns a peaceful assembly into a violent one, law enforcement officials should use only necessary and proportionate force, protect the peaceful protesters and not use the violent acts of the few as a pretext to restrict or impede the exercise of the fundamental rights of the others.
Attack on Mouli village
Mouli residents told to ACJPS that scores of militia members, some in military uniform and others in plain clothes, launched armed attacks on their village over two days on 9 and 10 January. Eyewitnesses reported that the village was almost completely razed to the ground and most residents have fled across the border to neighbouring Chad or into El Geneina town.
At around 5pm on 9 January, residents told ACJPS that nine armed men on horseback approached the outskirts of Mouli village, randomly fired gunshots, beat residents with the branches of trees, and set homes on fire. They retreated after about an hour. The following morning, at around 8.30am, scores of men armed with Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs), Kalashnikov rifles and JM3 Machine guns, using around 13 vehicles and with 25 men on horseback, raided the village. The attackers burned and looted property, including homes and farmland, and beat residents with their guns. Four men were abducted and their whereabouts remain unknown.
Residents told ACJPS they recognised some of the attackers as members of the Rapid Support Forces from a local unit. A number of the Land Cruiser vehicles used during the attack also featured the distinctive green colour of vehicles belonging to the Sudanese Armed Forces.
Lethal shooting of seven protestors outside state governor’s office
Hundreds of Mouli residents fled to El Geneina town on the morning of 10 January and an angry crowd gathered outside the West Darfur Governor’s office to demand protection from the authorities. The protestors reportedly demanded to meet with the state governor and set fire to a vehicle in the compound. The government office was later set on fire. Armed members of the NISS and the Central Reserve Police arrived at the scene and shot live ammunition and tear gar to disperse the crowd. At least seven people belonging to the Masalit ethnic group, including one 16-year-old boy, were lethally shot, and ten others were injured. Nine sustained gunshot wounds including one member of the Sudanese Red Crescent who was shot in the leg with live ammunition. Another member of his team was rushed to hospital with head injuries after being hit over the head with a metal bar by security forces. They had arrived on the scene to respond to the casualties.
Killing of three mourners, including one child, at funeral for gunshot victims
The next day, on 11 January, three people were killed and seven others sustained gun-shot wounds when members of the NISS fired live ammunition to disperse a large crowd of mourners at the funeral for the deceased. Mourners at the cemetery in El Geneina town nearby to Abu Zar Camp IDP camp were reportedly chanting “death to (members of the) national security”. Three died on the scene from gunshot wounds, including one 12-year-old boy.
It is thought that the attack on Mouli village was in retaliation to the killing in unknown circumstances of a pastoralist named “Akhbash” from the Beni Halba ethnic group, who had grazed his animals near the village of Mouli on 7 January. His dead body was found under a tree in Mouli village on 8 January. His father, accompanied by four other people, reportedly visited Mouli village late in the evening on 8 January and spoke to residents, reportedly threatening to burn the village if they failed to disclose the names of the people who killed Akhbash.
Names of the deceased and injured at the Governor’s office on 10 January
Seven people from the Masalit ethnic group, including one 16-year-old boy, died after sustaining gunshot wounds on 10 January:
- Abaker Hassan, (m), age unknown.
- Ramadan Abdelkariem, (m), 23 years old.
- Mubarak Mohammed Yagoub, (m), 19 years old.
- Suliman Yousif, (m), 24 years old.
- Salah Haroun Goma, (m), 18 years old.
- Abdelaziz Mohamed, (m), 32 years old.
- Taha Hussein, (m), 16 years old.
Ten others, including two members of staff of the Sudanese Red Crescent, sustained injuries. Nine of the victims sustained gun-shot wounds whilst one man, an employee of the Sudanese Red Crescent, was hospitalized with a head injury after being beaten with a metal bar:
- Arbab Fadul Suliman, (m), member of Masalit ethnic group.
- Fatima Muhammad Hassan, (f), member of Masalit ethnic group.
- Ramadan Alamin, (m), seriously injured, member of Masalit ethnic group.
- Abdelrazig Ishag, (m), seriously injured, member of Masalit ethnic group.
- Ismail Goma Abdelrahman, (m), member of Masalit ethnic group.
- Jamal Mohammed Ishag, (m), seriously injured, member of Masalit ethnic group.
- Adam Abaker, (m), seriously injured, member of Masalit ethnic group.
- Abdelaziz (Shido), (m), member of Masalit ethnic group.
- Adam Abaker, (m), member of staff of Sudanese Red Crescent, 37 years old, shot in the leg. Currently receiving treatment at El Geneina military hospital.
- Altaib Hassan, (m), member of staff of Sudanese Red Crescent, 40 years old, sustained a head injury after being beaten with a metal bar by a member of the security services. Currently receiving medical treatment at El Geneina main hospital.
Names of the deceased and injured on 11 January at funeral near Abu Zar IDP camp
Two men and one child died of gunshot wounds on 11 January during a funeral for the deceased:
- Abdelnasir Abdelkareem, (m), 40 years old.
- Mohammed Sharief Adam, (m), 12 years old.
- Yahia Goma Yagoub, (m), 36 years old.
Seven others sustained gunshot wounds:
- Abdelmajeet Abaker, (m), seriously injured.
- Ibrahim Abdallah Mahdi, (m).
- Muhieldin Yasin, (m).
- Alnur Abdelaziz Abdelgadir, (m), community Omda (leader).
- Mubarak Omer Mohammed, (m).
- Sharief Adam Mohammed, (m), seriously injured.
- Abdallah Ahmed Mohammed, (m).
Names of men abducted from Mouli village on 10 January
- Abdulfatah Ibrahim Abdullah, (m), 23 years old, member of Masalit ethnic group.
- Adam Ibrahim Idris, (m), 34 years old, member of Masalit ethnic group.
- Altaib Hassan Abdullah, (m), 19 years old, member of Masalit ethnic group.
- Mohamed Adam Abdullah, (m), 37 years old, member of Masalit ethnic group.
Mohamed Badawi, Monitoring Programme Coordinator, African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies, email@example.com, +256 783 693 689.
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