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North Darfur governor denies displacement of Air Siro civilians

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Weapons and vehicles including two ambulances captured from Darfur rebels by the RSF in Ain Siro on 1 June 2017 (ST photo)

June 1, 2017 (AIN SIRO) - The governor of North Darfur, Abdel Wahid Youssef, denied on Thursday the displacement of civilians from Ain Siro area after the recent fighting with armed groups in the state.

Youssef made the denial in a speech to the residents of Ain Siro and the Rapid support Forces where he arrived with RSF commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo (aka Hametti), and North Darfur security committee members.

The governor told the civilians to not listen to those who call them to go into displacement camps adding, "We will not allow anyone who attacks you or takes your belongings". Also, he called on the civilians to report any attack immediately to the government forces in the area.

Ali Adam Taher, an Ain Siro resident told Sudan Tribune two days ago that some RSF militiamen attacked them under the command of Mohamadine Arko Jalu, a former rebel commander who broke away from the SLM-Minni Arko Minnawi and joined the government.

"This commander has an old hatred with some people in those areas. The attack forced thousands of civilians to flee towards the mountains," Taher said.

"They live in difficult conditions, some in the mountains of Kula, Diri, Adri and Matarj," he said.

Also, leaders of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) Girbil Ibrahim and the Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) Wednesday have accused government forces of committing mass crimes against civilians in more than 90 villages in North Darfur State.

The two rebel leaders 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.

However, RSF commander Hametti emphasised that there is no displacement from the area, adding that those who fled the fighting to the mountains returned to their villages and vowed to provide them with the needed protection.

"Our instructions are very clear and we will not accept any mistake. We have strongly advised you to give the needy and follow the straight path," he further said.

RSF Brigadier General Essam Saleh Fadil said that the Rapid Support Forces managed to seize 18 Land Cruiser vehicles, including two ambulances in the Ain Siro battle, in addition to sophisticated weapons in the hands of the armed groups.

"Among the seized weapons that indicate a new development in the arming of the Darfur rebels, the laser-guided rockets that hit their targets from incredible distances," he said.

(ST)

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