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Darfur rebels accuse government of committing mass crimes in recent clashes

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Thousands of people, mostly women and children, take refuge at a safe zone adjacent to UNAMID's base in Um Baru, North Darfur, on 27 January 2015 (UNAMID Photo)
May 31, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Leaders of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) Wednesday have accused government forces of committing mass crimes against innocent residents in more than 90 villages in North Darfur State.

The Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militiamen clashed during four days from May 19 to 22 with the SLM-MM and the SLM-Transitional Council (SLM-TC) in East and North Darfur.

In a joint statement extended to Sudan Tribune Wednesday, JEM leader Gibril Ibrahim and Minni Minnawi said the Khartoum regime launched a simultaneous attack against the positions of the SLM-MM and the SLM-TC.

It pointed the government forces also targeted villagers at Marla area in South Darfur and Ba’ashim and Mukjar areas in North Darfur, saying the brutal campaign have escalated during the past two days.

According to the statement, the attacks targeted large areas in the north-west of Kutum including Farang, Se mountain range, Tunonu, Takago, Dabry, Mustariha Kola, Sirofruk and Garry.

The statement stressed that Ain Siro area was the most affected by the attacks, saying the government forces and the RSF burned, looted and raped large numbers of girls and terrorised the residents by the intense and indiscriminate aerial bombardment.

It added that the bombardment, looting, burning and sexual violence targeted more than 90 villages, saying more than 40,000 residents were forced to flee their villages and resort to the nearby mountain reefs where they are still stranded without water, food or shelter.

The two leaders expressed concern over the silence of the international community on these violations, calling on it to act urgently to redress the dire situation and press the government to allow international and local humanitarian groups access the affected areas.

They also urged the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) to protect civilians and move immediately to the affected areas to determine the magnitude of the humanitarian disaster.

The JEM and SLM-MM leaders further demanded the international community to condemn the violations of war prisoners’ rights, pointing to statements attributed to East Darfur governor in which he called to leave the dead bodies of the rebels in the open and not to bury them.

The Sudanese army has been fighting a group of armed movements in Darfur since 2003. UN agencies estimate that over 300,000 people were killed in the conflict, and over 2.5 million were displaced.

NO NEW WAVE OF DISPLACEMENT

Meanwhile, the commissioner of Kutum locality, North Darfur State Mohamed Jaber Buram denied the area has witnessed any wave of displacement stressing the locality is free of rebellion.

He told the official news agency SUNA that the situation in the area has returned to normal with the flow of commercial convoys, revealing the army and the RSF provided assistance to the residence.

According to the commissioner, the security situation in Ain Siro area is now stable following the recent clashes between the government forces and the rebel fighters.

On Tuesday, residents from Ain Siro and Kasab IDP’s camp told Sudan Tribune that thousands of civilians fled towards the mountains following recent clashes between government forces and rebels in Kutum Locality.

(ST)

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