As UNAMID deploys out of Darfur: ethnically-targeted violence continues on a wide scale | A bi-weekl
The failed UN/African Union “hybrid” Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)—which has shamelessly and with gross inaccuracy celebrated its success for the almost ten years during which it has been charged with protecting civilians and humanitarians—continues (per its most recent reauthorization by the UN Security Council | June 2017) to draw down its forces on a scale ensuring that what exceedingly limited protection the Mission has offered will be greatly reduced. 44 percent of military personnel are now deploying out of Darfur and 30 percent of the policing personnel. The knock-on effects of withdrawing this hopelessly misconceived, demoralized, ill-equipped, and badly led Mission are many.
Some of the greatest consequences will be a reduction in humanitarian access; for example, since the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) flies only to areas militarily protected, locations abandoned by UNAMID troops will no longer be accessible. This is especially perverse since a condition for the permanent lifting of U.S. economic sanctions by the Trump administration was the improvement of humanitarian access in Darfur. The UN’s current estimate of the number of people in Darfur in need of humanitarian assistance is 3 million.
Tragically, the greatest consequence of UNAMID’s deployment out of Darfur are the continuation, and in some places acceleration, of daily ethnically-targeted attacks on civilians throughout Darfur, primarily by Arab militias controlled or sanctioned by Khartoum. Non-Arab (African) civilians continue to be—as they have been for more than fourteen years—subject to murder, rape, displacement, and loss of property and goods.
There is good reason to believe that we will see in the reports from Darfur (conveyed primarily by Radio Dabanga) continuation, even expansion, of these attacks. Only the fact of previous vast destruction of African villages and the violent expropriation of farmlands, and the massive concentration of displaced persons (some 2.7 million in Darfur itself, another 320,000 in eastern Chad refugee camps) limits the scale of attacks. Moreover, we should remember that some 600,000 people have been killed as a direct or indirect result of violence over the past fourteen years: this approaches ten percent of the pre-war population in Darfur (see | http://sudanreeves.org/2017/01/05/quantifying-genocide-darfur-mortality-update-august-6-2010/).
As a crude barometer of the scale of violence, I will be assembling weekly a brief compendium of foreshortened dispatches (all with sources on the ground). For surveys covering more extensive periods the violent expropriation of African farmlands (November 2014 – November 2016) and the rape of girls and young women (for the years 2014 and 2015), see:
Herewith the third (bi-weekly) compendium of violence reported from Darfur during the withdrawal of UNAMID.
The dispatches are all from Radio Dabanga, although several of the links I provide in my commentary are to related dispatches from Sudan Tribune. All emphases in bold are mine; the emphases in orange bold are of particularly significant highlights or passages:
• “Raids and siege tactics” to be used in North Darfur arms and vehicle collection | October 25, 2017 | KHARTOUM / KUTUM / KABKABIYA
The Chairman of the High Committee for the collection of weapons and unlicensed vehicles has said in the Khartoum that “the forced collection of weapons through raids and siege will be carried out decisively in all the targeted states in the coming days.”This was announced yesterday by Ahmed Abdallah El Naw, chairman of the High Committee after the regular meeting of the committee at the Republican Palace under the chairmanship of Sudan’s Vice-President Hassabo Abdelrahman. [During the fearsome assaults on the populations of East Jebel Marra and the Jebel Marra massif itself, Hassabo referred to the non-Arab/African populations of these areas as “insects,” and that “none should be left alive”—ERhttps://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/sudan0915_insert_lowres_with_cover.pdf/]
El Naw said that the imposition of the prestige of the state is a primary objective of the weapons collection, which will be “carried out decisively, especially in the areas of Kabkabiya and Kutum after the attack carried out by a group led by El Safana which was defeated. El Naw was referring to an incident that closed the market of Kutum on Monday, when a group of rebel militants led by Ali Rizgallah El Safana allegedly took goods from a shop and did not pay. The attackers fled when a large force of paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) entered the town. [Intra-Arab fighting has been one of the least reported features of violence in Darfur over the past fourteen years; but its prominence is assured by the increasingly ferocious battle over the spoils of genocidal counter-insurgency, as well as control of the Jebel Amir gold mining area of North Darfur; see below the report on Musa Hilal’s Revolutionary Awakening Council —ER]
El Naw stressed that “the military security committee has all the means to start the second phase of the collection of weapons.” [It is clear the Khartoum’s collection of weapons in Darfur—where they exist in almost incomprehensibly large numbers—will now be undertaken violently (with the passing of the “voluntary” phase of weapons collection). Darfur’s IDPs will often be caught in both the intra-Arab fighting as well as the efforts to dismantle camps, where Khartoum insists—with no proof—that large quantities of weapons are hidden. There will be more bloodbaths of the sort we have seen repeatedly at Kalma camp and at Nierteti earlier this year—ER]
In total, 12,500 Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militiamen have been deployed to North Darfur with the purpose to assist in the forced collection of illegal weapons from civilians and the control of illegal vehicles. The deadline for people to voluntarily hand in their weapons ends tomorrow. [The RSF has clearly been given the job of creating the “security” Khartoum envisions in the “new Darfur; given the role of the RSF in Darfur’s genocidal violence over the past several years, this is ominous in the extreme—ER]
The arrival of the paramilitary force, operating with the title ‘New Dawn’, may lead to an explosion of the situation in North Darfur, claimed the Revolutionary Awakening Council (RAC) led by the former janjaweed leader Musa Hilal. “The militias of the ‘New Dawn’ arrived in Kutum yesterday. But they do not intimidate us, and we are ready to confront them if they attack our sites,” the movement announced last week. [This makes clear the inevitability of large-scale violence in North Darfur in the near term—ER]
• “Khartoum intends to dismantle Darfur camps by force”: Abdelwahid | October 23, 2017 | PARIS
[I try not to rely on the assessments of rebel leaders and spokesmen, since they have so often proved unreliable in the past. But here Abdel Wahid al-Nur is exactly right: see my extended account explaining why I think so | October 23, 2017—ER]
• Two dead, man’s hand hacked-off in Darfur robberies | November 3, 2017 | NYALA / KUTUM / GULDO
A displaced man was killed, and his brother’s hand hacked-off on the road between camp El Salam and Kalma camp near Nyala, South Darfur on Tuesday evening. In separate incidents, a man was shot dead in North Darfur, and a woman seriously injured in Central Darfur. [This is all too characteristic of the violence reported regularly in Darfur—violence the radically reduced and already militarily incompetent UNAMID cannot halt—ER]
Yagoub Furi, Coordinator of the Darfur Displaced and Refugees Association told Radio Dabanga that on Tuesday evening four gunmen attacked brothers Suleiman and Hassoun Abdallah while they were on their way from camp Kalma to camp El Salam for a visit of some relatives. The gunmen opened fire on Hassoun and killed him instantly. They then cut-off the hand of Suleiman with a knife, took the amputated hand with them and fled. He explained that the incident was reported to Beleil police and Suleiman Abdallah was taken to Nyala Hospital.