Darfur governor pins deaths on rebels
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.