March 27, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The head of Darfur’s joint peacekeeping mission (UNAMID) slammed the recent attacks by Sudanese government militias on camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Darfur, calling for aid agencies to be granted access to provide humanitarian assistance to civilians in conflict zones.
- UNAMID chief and joint peace mediator, Mohamed Ibn Chambas (Photo by Albert González Farran, UNAMID)
"The ongoing attacks on civilian villages and camps for internally displaced people, alleged to be carried out by the Rapid Support Forces, are a matter of concern and are an ugly blemish on our efforts to dialogue; regardless of who is ultimately responsible for this violence, it must now stop," said Mohamed Ibn Chambas in a speech he delivered at Um Jaras Forum for Zaghawa tribal leaders held in Chad, last Wednesday.
Chambas was referring to an attack carried out by the RSF on IDPs at Khor Abeche camp on Saturday 22 March. The militiamen killed one person, burnt shelters and stole livestock. The UNAMID said that over 2,000 people sought refuge at its base in the area.
The RSF militia said they were chasing rebels belonging to the Sudan Liberation Movement – Minni Minnawi and another armed faction led by Ali Karbino after a series of attacks carried in South and North Darfur. The fighters of the two groups are generally recruited from the Zaghawa clans in the region.
The UNAMID chief further said the rebels should stop their attacks and seek a negotiated solution adding they failed to defeat the national army during their 11-year insurgency.
"Also, the military attacks of the rebel movements must stop; they have proven incapable of defeating Sudan Armed Forces and only increase the suffering of the people of Darfur," he said.
Over 81,300 villagers fled their areas in South and North Darfur since the last week of February following the fighting between the rebels and government forces. The Sudanese authorities however denied humanitarian access to the affected civilians.
On Thursday the UNAMID deputy chief Joseph Mutaboba and UN resident and humanitarian coordinator, Ali Al-Za’tari called again to the government “and all actors and parties involved in the conflict and the international community to take robust measures to ensure the protection of civilians and unimpeded access of aid workers in Darfur".
They two officials said in a joint statement released on Thursday that more than 215,000 people fled their homes since the beginning of the year due to the clashes between the government and rebel but also because of the tribal violence .
"Enormous amounts of humanitarian need are being generated by this violence, but our ability to assess the condition of people who have been affected by the conflict and deliver to them the aid that they need has been severely hampered," reads the joint statement.
RSF commander, Mohamed Hamdan, who is also a general in the Sudanese intelligence and security services (NISS), announced on Thursday that his militia is still chasing the rebels and clashed with them in Bahr Al-Arab area in East Darfur near the border with South Sudan’s Bahr el Ghazal.
He said they captured some foreigners who had been forced by the rebels to join them, adding others prisoners were recruited in South Sudan.
The militia leader said they captured 8 vehicles loaded with weapons and ammunition and killed many rebels without elaboration. he added they lost 5 militiamen.
The remaining rebels crossed the border into South Sudan through Tomssaha area in East Darfur, he said.