Seventeen Darfur deaths confirmed

72

The United Nations confirmed the killing of 17 people and burning of more than 100 houses in Deleij village in Darfur region of Sudan earlier this week.

The United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur said 15 people were injured and violence “occurred during heated clashes between nomads and residents apparently angered by the increase in commodity prices at the local market”.

Opposition medics said “Janjaweed militias” fired live ammunition at civilians on Monday at a market in Deleij, Central Darfur, killing 11 and wounding 20.

Janjaweed are Arab militias accused of atrocities in Darfur, in the west of Sudan, during a civil conflict that started in 2003 and, according to UN estimates, has killed up to 300,000 and displaced 2.7 million.

Ousted President Omar al-Bashir’s government denied the Darfur allegations.

Janjaweed fighters were incorporated into Sudan’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the dominant force in Khartoum since Bashir was overthrown on April 11.

The deputy head of the military council, Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, heads the RSF.

This week Amnesty International said it had new evidence showing “Sudanese government forces, including the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and allied militias, continued to commit war crimes and human rights violations in Darfur”.

At least 45 villages were completely or partially destroyed in the past year, Amnesty said.

“In Darfur, as in Khartoum, we’ve witnessed the Rapid Support Forces’ despicable brutality against Sudanese civilians – the only difference in Darfur they committed atrocities with impunity for years,” said Amnesty Secretary General Kumi Naidoo.

“There are no Janjaweed elements currently in the capital,” said Major General Osman Mohamed Hamid, the RSF’s operations commander.

“The Janjaweed are elements found in the period of armed movements in Darfur. These elements do not belong to a certain category, do not belong to a certain tribe,” he said on Al-Hadath TV on Tuesday.

“They are elements rebelling against the law, harming every person in Darfur. They have no leadership, no structure.”