October 8, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - Police forces dispersed thousands of protesters using tear gas in the camps of the Hemeidia and Khamsa Dagayeg in the Central Darfur state capital of Zalingi on Tuesday following the abduction of a well-known merchant by unknown armed group.
- FILE - Three women carry bags as they walk through the Abushuk refugee camp in the North Darfur state capital of EL Fasher on June 17, 2013 (ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/Getty Images)
Multiple eyewitnesses said that an armed group of seven members boarding a Land Cruiser kidnapped Mohammad Rajab from his home in the market district at six o’clock on Monday evening.
Rajab tried to fight back the assailants but was beaten leading to unspecified injuries which led to traces of blood discovered at the site of the incident later by law enforcement officers.
Sources say that the victim is one of the most prominent businessmen in the city and was also subjected to 3 kidnapping attempts in the past.
Authorities in the government of Central Darfur state mobilized its forces to free Rajab. It was not clear who was behind the kidnapping or whether a ransom was demanded.
The deputy governor Mohamed Musa told the pro-government Sudanese Media Center (SMC) website that authorities assisted by the local administration are pursuing the kidnappers. .
Musa stressed that abduction and killing of merchants represent a serious threat to community and must be fought by all available means.
Last month, riots broke out in South Darfur state capital city of Nyala following the killing of Ismail Wadi, a prominent businessman from the Zaghawa tribe, along with his son and a relative by allegedly Janjaweed militia a day earlier.
In a related issue, the West Darfur state government announced its refusal to pay a ransom to free the Chinese hostage who was abducted recently in Kraink locality.
The state government’s advisor, Ibrahim Nasser, said that popular and official efforts are underway to free the Chinese engineer who was kidnapped twenty days ago by an unidentified armed group.
Nasser emphasized that the state’s government has flatly refused to pay ransom to free the hostage.
Incidents of kidnapping and attacks on Darfur have become common lately despite a relative lull in fighting between rebels and government troops from the heights of 2003-2004.
SOCIAL PEACE IN DARFUR
In an another issue, several Darfurian leaders in Khartoum welcomed the workshop which would convene in preparation for the upcoming conference on the social peace in Darfur, underscoring the need to settle all tribal conflicts prior to holding the conference.
They were speaking at the consultative meeting organized by the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) in Khartoum on Tuesday on Darfur’s upcoming social peace conference.
The minister of infrastructure in the DRA, Taj-al-Din Bashir Niyam, said that regional and international stakeholders will be invited to the conference.
He called upon Darfuris to effectively participate in the conference in order to offer solutions to resolve tribal fighting and to put an end to the lawlessness situation in the region.
MP al-Tijani Mustafa, for his part, said that the government made all its resources available to resolving the crisis in Darfur, pointing to the importance and urgency of development for the region.
He called for holding further conferences to look at the basic problem in Darfur, pointing that the all Darfurians conference which was held in 2007 in the north Darfur state capital city of al-Fashir tackled the root causes of the problem and offered solutions.
Darfur has been a flashpoint for lawlessness and violence since rebel movements took up arms against the Khartoum government in 2003.
The United Nations estimates as many as 300,000 people have been killed and almost 3 million people have been displaced during the ongoing conflict in the region, however, the Sudanese government put the number of dead at only 10,000.
Tribal fighting has become the major source of insecurity in Darfur since the beginning of the year, forcing over 300,000 people to flee their homes.
Last June, Bashir warned against tribal strife in some areas of the country, noting that Sudan is facing challenges that requires cooperation of all its people.
“The tribal conflicts in a number of Sudan’s areas constitute the biggest threat to the country", Bashir said when addressing a meeting of the Shura (consultative) Council of the NCP.
Different officials in Darfur including the head of the regional authority, Tijani El-Sissi, also said that tribal violence is among the biggest threat to ongoing efforts to implement a peace document signed in Doha more than two years ago.