Home | News    Saturday 25 April 2015

Tribal militia besiege UNAMID camp in South Darfur

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April 24, 2015 (NYALA) – The joint peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) sent military enforcementsto its camp in Kass, 86km west of South Darfur state capital of Nyala, on Friday to protect it against militiamen seeking revenge for the killing of their fellow tribesmen.

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Peacekeepers from the hybrid UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) in the North Darfur capital, El-Fasher, on 5 July 2010 (Photo: Getty Images)

Four people were killed and six others injured from the "Zaghawa Um-Kmelty" tribe in South Darfur on Thursday at the hands of peacekeepers UNAMID on the road between Kass and Shangita.

Sudan Tribune’s correspondent in South Darfur cited UNAMID patrol soldiers yesterday as saying that a group of gunmen tried to steal the vehicle they were riding on thus forcing the unit to engage them using firepower.

Tribal leaders in Kass insist that the armed group was going after stolen cattle when they encountered the patrol stressing that it was not their intention to attack the peacekeepers.

A UNAMID source told Sudan Tribune today that the mission’s headquarters in Nyala dispatched Nigerian, Pakistani and Nepalese troops backed by armed vehicles to Kass in anticipation of an attack by tribal militia, saying troops were deployed around the camp once it arrived there.

The source claimed five soldiers from UNAMID were injured in Thursday’s clashes.

The Zaghawa Um-Kmelty traditional administration representative Youssef Hino, told Sudan Tribune that angry armed tribesmen gathered near UNAMID camp in Kass seeking retaliation, saying the tribe elders are making every possible effort to contain the situation.

He demanded that the government in Nyala intervene as soon as possible to prevent an aggravation of the situation, adding that bodies of the dead were taken to Kass hospital for autopsy.

Kass commissioner Mohamed Ibrahim, asked the angry crowds to calm down, pledging to dismantle UNAMID’s camp within 48 hours.

He said that the state’s government and president Omer Hassan al-Bashir are the ones who could decide the fate of UNAMID not the locality of Kass.

The security committee in the locality of Kass has also deployed regular troops to separate between the tribal militia and UNAMID’s camp to prevent further clashes.

TWO ATTACKS

UNAMID head Abiodun Bashua said in a statement Friday that peacekeepers have repelled two attacks by unidentified armed men in Kass.

He stressed that the ensuing exchange of fire resulted in at least four attackers being killed and six peacekeepers and one assailant injured.

“I condemn the attacks on peacekeepers and reiterate the mission’s resolve to continue to respond decisively and robustly to any acts of this kind,” Bashua said.

The statement pointed out that the first attack took place on Thursday around 6pm (local time) when about 40 gunmen on horses and camels opened fire on Nigerian troops protecting a water point, saying the attackers stole one of the mission’s vehicles after shooting the driver.

“The peacekeepers pursued [the attackers] and recovered the vehicle,” the statement said.

It added that four attackers were killed and two peacekeepers and one assailant injured during the exchange of gunfire, pointing that the mission handed over the corpses of the attackers and the injured person to the police while the wounded peacekeepers were evacuated to Nyala for medical treatment.

The statement further added that another UNAMID patrol travelling from Nyala was attacked on Friday near the mission’s base in Kass, saying that four peacekeepers were injured during the exchange of fire.

Bashua called on the Sudanese government “to speedily investigate the incidents and bring the perpetrators to book, noting that “the continuing climate of impunity and failure to prosecute those who attack peacekeepers and humanitarian workers have to end”.

UNAMID ACCUSED OF KILLING CIVILIANS

Meanwhile, South Darfur governor Adam Jar al-Nabi has accused UNAMID of killing defenceless citizens in Kass, saying some of them were killed inside the mission’s camp.

He told Ashorooq TV that government officials and traditional leaders have headed to the town to contain the situation, stressing that “blood of the victims will not go in vain”.

Jar-al-Nabi underscored that his government and the traditional administration will immediately investigate the incident with the UNAMID, saying that the situation is under control.

He stressed that they warned UNAMID’s officials on Thursday evening not to go to Kass without the knowledge of authorities.

“However they (UNAMID officials) sent military reinforcements to Kass which opened fire on the [defenceless] citizens in the presence of the commissioner of the locality and the security committee,” he added

The governor said the incident took place when gunmen attacked UNAMID troops who were on their way to bring water and stole their vehicle

“UNAMID went to restore the vehicle and they encountered a group of tribesmen who were going after their stolen cattle and they opened fire on them although they waved the white flags,” he added.

The incident comes amid talks between the Sudanese government, African Union and United Nations on UNAMID’s exit strategy from Darfur.

The mission has been deployed in Darfur since 2007 with a mandate to stem violence against civilians in the restive region.

It is the world’s second largest international peacekeeping force with an annual budget of $1.35 billion and almost 20,000 troops.

(ST)

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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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