February 2, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The capital city of Sudan’s North Kordofan state, El-Obeid has witnessed on Sunday massive protests following the killing of a merchant allegedly at the hands of the pro-government Arab Janjaweed militias.
- An armed pro-government janjaweed fighter passes by a Sudanese camel herder from one of Darfur’s dominant nomad Arab tribes, Rezeigat, at the marketplace in the West Darfur town of Mukjar, Sudan (AP)
The merchant, Mahmoud Issa al-Dahawi, was killed by armed group stationed near Um Girain village. His family refused to receive his body from El-Obeid hospital on Saturday but they did on Sunday and took it to the government headquarters.
Dozens of El-Obeid residents marched throughout the city carrying the merchant’s body and called for retribution.
The governor of North Kordofan state, Ahmed Haroun, announced his government made the necessary arrangements to drive the Janjaweed militias away from the state within 72 hours.
He told a delegation from Um-Girain village that arrangements are underway to avoid recurrence of such incident, adding that the assailant has been arrested.
The religious wing of the opposition National Umma Party (NUP), Ansar Affairs Authority, mourned the victim on its Facebook page, pointing that he is 28 years old man.
The Emir (chief) of the Bidairiya tribe, al-Zain Mirghani Zaki al-Deen, denounced the incident, stressing that they will not mourn the victim until the perpetrator is brought to justice and Janjaweed militias leave the locality.
Residents of El-Obeid and the surrounding areas have complained about repeated attacks on commercial markets and shops carried out by these militias, accusing the state’s government of failing to stop them.
The Janjaweed militia attacked commercial market number 8 at Al-Salam neighborhood in El-Obeid killing 3 people and injuring 4 others including a police officer.
They also attacked al-Gihad and Abuja neighborhoods wounding 18 people 3 of them are in critical condition.
Residents of El-Obeid say the presence of the Janjaweed militias have spread terror among citizens and asserted that authorities are unable to curb them.
Eyewitnesses speaking to the London-based al-Hayat newspaper said that the militia moved recently to base near El-Obeid from South Kordofan state awaiting their relocation to Darfur.
The Janjaweed Arab militias were mobilized by the Sudanese government to quell the insurgency that broke out in Sudan’s western region of Darfur in 2003.
That counter-insurgency campaign, which mainly targeted African ethnic groups on account of their affiliation to the insurgents, has led to the death of approximately 300,000 people and the displacement of more than 2.7 million, according to United Nation figures.
Haroun himself is one of the Sudanese officials wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes he allegedly masterminded in Darfur during his time as state minister for interior.