Dar­fur gover­nor pins deaths on rebels

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

JOBURG: Su­dan’s Cen­tral Dar­fur Gover­nor, Jaa­far Ab­del Hakam, has blamed the rebel Su­dan Lib­er­a­tion Move­ment Ab­del Wahid Al Nur (SLM-AW) for a bloody at­tack in Ner­titi, Cen­tral Dar­fur, which killed about 10 peo­ple and wounded about 60.

“Pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tions by the se­cu­rity au­thor­i­ties in Cen­tral Dar­fur show in­volve­ment of the SLM-AW el­e­ments in the ri­ots that broke out yes­ter­day in the city of Ner­titi,” said Ab­del Hakam on Mon­day.

Ac­cord­ing to Ab­del Hakam, on Fri­day the au­thor­i­ties re­ceived a note that a sol­dier had been mur­dered in Campo for­est and his body taken to the Al Ja­bal neigh­bour­hood to mis­lead the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

On Satur­day, he said, they learnt that a doc­tor had been beaten and robbed of his money be­fore in­tel­li­gence was re­ceived al­leg­ing that six SLM-AW fight­ers had in­fil­trated the city.

Fol­low­ing the re­ports, a joint force com­pris­ing the po­lice, army and the na­tional se­cu­rity ser­vice had been dis­patched on Sunday to ar­rest the six rebels who then opened fire on gov­ern­ment forces while si­mul­ta­ne­ously in­sti­gat­ing the crowd to at­tack the forces.

“The group in­tended to pro­voke the armed forces and cause chaos,” said Ab­del Hakam.

The com­man­der of the 21st in­fantry di­vi­sion, Gen­eral Aboud Man­sour, said Su­danese army forces had been keen to avoid shooting when they ar­rived in the area, but had been pro­voked by an­gry res­i­dents who at­tacked the troops with sticks and knives.

How­ever, hu­man­i­tar­ian of­fi­cial Ab­dal­lah Saleh Al Shafie, who works with dis­placed peo­ple and refugees, was quick to counter this ver­sion of events.

He said the gov­ern­ment forces had launched an in­dis­crim­i­nate at­tack on civil­ians us­ing heavy and light weapons after a sol­dier was found dead in the area.

He added that the gov­ern­ment troops also looted civil­ian prop­erty and broke into shops in Ner­titi-North and Ner­titi-South mar­kets.

Fur­ther­more, the op­po­si­tion forces also pointed ac­cus­ing fin­gers at the gov­ern­ment, say­ing its troops had com­mit­ted Sunday’s “mas­sacre”.

After con­demn­ing the killings, they slammed the UN African Union Mis­sion in Dar­fur (Unamid) for fail­ing to in­ter­vene and pro­tect civil­ians, assert­ing that the mis­sion was col­lud­ing with the Khar­toum regime.

Rebel leader Ab­del Wahid Al Nur took it a step fur­ther, and called on Su­danese op­po­si­tion forces to sup­port youth ac­tivists who were in­volved in civil dis­obe­di­ence and at­tempt­ing to over­throw the gov­ern­ment.

Dozens of wounded civil­ians are cur­rently be­ing treated at a Unamid hos­pi­tal in Ner­titi after the lo­cal hos­pi­tal was flooded with ca­su­al­ties.

The SLM-AW is not part of the AU-bro­kered peace process to end the Dar­fur cri­sis.

Last year, the group en­gaged in sev­eral months of fight­ing against gov­ern­ment forces in the west­ern area of Jebel Marra, with the army un­able to dis­lodge the rebels.

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