Unrelenting Violence in Darfur: Recent Reporting by Radio Dabanga

Violence, especially sexual violence against girls and women, remains unchecked in Darfur; violence associated with the ruthless Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and its campaign of “disarmament,” also remains a threat throughout Darfur. The militia force is undisciplined and given a free hand to steal, intimidate, extort, rape, and murder. Much of this occurs under cover of Khartoum’s ghastly “disarmament” campaign for Darfur.

The UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), which took up its civilian protection mandate exactly ten years ago, has never seemed more impotent and unresponsive to civilian needs. And yet it is all the international community is willing to offer to protect the 3 million people internally displaced in Darfur or refugees from Darfur in eastern Chad. Coupled with declining humanitarian resources and continuing regime hostility to international relief efforts, the future looks unspeakably grim for the non-Arab/African people of Darfur who make up the overwhelming majority of those displaced—and the some 600,000 pe

The catastrophic new budget proposed by the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime promises to have catastrophic effects on poorer civilians throughout Sudan, but certainly Darfur as well.

It is difficult to recall that ten years ago Darfur was a cause célèbre among activists, human rights groups, anti-genocide campaigners, journalists, and even politicians. Today Darfur’s agony is shamefully, disgracefully invisible…

• Nine injured, 20 detained in South Darfur RSF raid | Radio Dabanga, December 28, 2017 | GIREIDA

Nine people were injured and 20 others detained during a raid by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) government militia on the Sadoun area of Gireida locality in South Darfur. A large force of RSF is currently assigned to collect illegal weapons and vehicles in Darfur. Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that a force of the rapid support militia surrounded Sadoun area from all sides on Saturday. They drove men, women, and children into one place, and beat them with whips and sticks, seized the amount of SDG 7,000 and 14 mobile phones.

Among those detained include Ahmed Gamar, Jedo Mohamed Ahmed, Bashir Abakar, Abdelrahim Yagoub, El Ghali Haroun, Adam Yagoub, Azrag Mohamed, Adam Daoud and others whose names were not identified. The residents of Gireida called on the authorities to form a committee of inquiry into these violations and return the seized items and money.

Central Darfur

In Wadi Saleh locality in Central Darfur, the RSF attacked Abuja market at camp Aradeiba in Garsila, raided the displaced people, and robbed them of money and a number of mobile phones. Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that elements of the RSF in a Land Cruiser led by a lieutenant named Sabour raided Abuja market, beat the displaced people and wounded Abdelmahmoud Ibrahim with a bullet, seized the amount of SDG 7,000 from merchant Ahmed and 17 mobile phones from the displaced people. Witnesses said those affected reported the incident to Garsila prosecution. Residents of Tullus have complained of being beaten and tortured by RSF militiamen to force them to confess to weapons possession. They said 11 people had been subjected to torture during a raid by the militia on a number of markets.

• RSF raids wound at least ten in South, Central Darfur | Radio Dabanga, December 26, 2017 | GIREIDA / WADI SALEH / TULLUS

Militiamen carried out a raid in Gireida locality in South Darfur and wounded nine people on Saturday. Money and phones were stolen during a raid in a Central Darfur camp. Members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) surrounded Sadoun in Gireida from all sides, witnesses told Radio Dabanga. “They brought the women, children and men to one place where they beat them with whips and sticks,” a witness said. Nine people were injured.

In addition, 20 people were arrested. A total of SDG 7 million ($994,412) and 14 mobile phones were seized.

Among those arrested were Ahmad Gamar, Jedo Mohamed Ahmed, Bashir Abakar Hassan, Abdelrahim Yagoub, El Ghali Haroun, Adam Yagoub, Azraq Mohamed, Adam Daoud Adam and others whose names were not identified. The motive for the raid is unknown, the witnesses said. The residents called on the local authorities to form a committee of inquiry that researches the attack.

Central Darfur

In Wadi Saleh locality, RSF members attacked the Abuja market in Ardeba camp for displaced people. A number of displaced people were robbed of their money and mobile phones.

The militiamen beat some of the camp residents and wounded Abdelmahmoud Ibrahim, among others. A merchant named Ahmad lost SDG 7,000 ($994) to the militiamen. 17 phones were stolen. The incident has been reported to the police and the prosecutor in Garsila, a witness said. Residents of Tullus locality in South Darfur also reported being assaulted by RSF members in the past week and said they were forced to confess their possession of weapons. Reportedly eleven people were subjected to beatings.

Arms collection

In July, Khartoum announced a large disarmament campaign in the country, to begin with in Darfur and Kordofan. Members of the Rapid Support Forces, Sudan’s main government militia, and the army began collecting illegal arms and unlicensed vehicles from civilians in the regions the following month. The campaign has entered the stage of compulsory collection of weapons by the reinforcements of RSF and the Sudanese army. In North Darfur alone, 12,500 RSF and police have been deployed to assist with the arms collection and the controls of unregistered vehicles.

• More rapes in Nierteti, Central Darfur | Radio Dabanga, December 25, 2017 | NIERTETI

Three members of the paramilitary Border Guards raped two girls in Nierteti locality in Central Darfur on Saturday. According to the New York-based African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) the Sudanese criminal law does not protect rape victims. The girls, aged 13 and 12, were collecting firewood south of Nierteti, when they were ambushed, a witness reported to Radio Dabanga.

[Such violent sexual assaults on such very young girls is a mark of just how cruel the sustained of raped has been, but a sign of the racist discounting of non-Arab/African lives and families by their Arab rapists. The clearly racial animus in sexual violence is almost never mentioned, even by Radio Dabanga; but it is a fact that must be reckoned with when there are talks about “peace and reconciliation in Darfur.” The longer the epidemic of rape continues, the more difficult any reconciliation will be. And yet UNAMID does nothing in the way of preventing or even reporting such sexual violence. It is the great unspoken in reporting on Darfur–ER]

The militiamen repeatedly raped them at gunpoint. The source added that army and police forces arrested one of the perpetrators. The other two fled. The incident was reported to the police, and the two victims were taken to Nierteti Hospital.

Investigation

Last week, three young firewood collectors were raped by gunmen in separate incidents in the same area. In response, ACJPS called on the Sudanese authorities to investigate the rapes. “A special prosecutor should be appointed to the case should the victims wish to proceed with a criminal prosecution. Local authorities must guarantee the victims protection from reprisal.”

The African Centre further called for measures to protect civilians, especially the vulnerable groups in and around Nierteti camps for the displaced. The international community, particularly the EU, AU, and the USA, to “publicly and privately press the Sudanese government to meet its obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law and to ensure unfettered access by UNAMID peacekeepers and humanitarian actors to all parts of Darfur.”

Impunity

ACJPS further criticised the serious barriers to justice and the climate of endemic impunity for perpetrators in Darfur. “The scale of sexual violence in Darfur is likely much greater than any reports indicate. Independent monitors are unable to access most of Sudan’s conflict affected areas and survivors often do not report incidents, owing to insecurity, stigma, the fear of reprisal and other obstacles.”

[The under-reporting of sexual violence in Darfur is without question a shameful reality–one that the Khartoum regime has no intention of responding to. See:

“Continuing Mass Rape of Girls in Darfur: The most heinous crime generates no international outrage” January 2016

Eric Reeves, author | Maya Baca, research and editing | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1QG [Arabic translation of this report | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Rr ]

“Among the obstacles are laws and policies that fail to ensure a safe environment for reporting sexual and gender based violence incidents and a consistent failure to prosecute these crimes,” ACJPS stated. Despite changes to the definition of rape in Sudan’s criminal law in 2015, the law remains unclear about evidence standards that apply and women who report sexual offences remain at risk of prosecution for adultery or committing “immoral acts” if they fail to prove a rape case.

“To date, the Government of Sudan has not ratified the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, or the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), alongside the Optional Protocol to it of 2000.”

• Firewood collectors injured in beating by herders in North Darfur | Radio Dabanga, December 21, 2017 | TABIT

Eight women were severely injured in a beating from herders near Tabit north of Tawila in North Darfur on Wednesday. One of the victims told Radio Dabanga that a group of displaced women were collecting firewood and straw when about 12 armed herders on camels attacked them beat them with rifle butts, sticks and whips and severely injured eight of them.