Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG) condemns the multiple deadly attacks in Darfur last week and expresses our grave concern for the people displaced by this violence. On October 20 and 21, as reported by Radio Dabanga, 12 people were killed and 27 injured when armed Fallata herders attacked the villages of Ed Dekka, Haddad, Donkey Abyad, and the Um Asal and Um Zagrad camps for displaced people. It is utterly disheartening that populations in Darfur, which have survived genocide and mass displacement, still continue to face violent conflict with little accountability for those responsible.
Yet the violence did not stop there. By Thursday evening, October 22, the death toll rose to 14 dead and more than 29 injured when the village of Sabrelwagiha, South Darfur, was attacked. It was reported, also by Radio Dabanga, that last Thursday’s attack south of Gireida was carried out by a group of 50 armed men riding horses and camels with intentions to loot livestock and property, but ultimately killed two and caused many more to flee the area.
As a result of the violent conflict last week, hundreds of people have been displaced. On Thursday, October 22, the Sudan office of the International Organization for Migration alerted online that its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) is in the process of observing the situation in South Darfur and collecting more data. In the past, the DTM’s Emergency Event Tracking (EET) tool has provided exceptional insight into the demographics of sudden displacement and population movement in Sudan.
Last week’s attacks are the latest manifestation of ongoing tensions near South Darfur’s Gireida. On July 23, gunmen riding horses and camels raided the Abdoze area, killing 15 and injuring 25. The sudden outburst of violence forced innocent civilians to flee in all directions, leading to many becoming missing after the chaos. Displaced people had just begun to return to the voluntary return villages of Abdoze when this attack occurred. While on October 8, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) had arrested 39 people in connection to this attack, many eye-witness accounts describe that the RSF had actually fled the area when the attacks occurred, failing to protect civilians.
There can be no comprehensive peace in Sudan if violent conflict wages on in Darfur and goes unpunished. DWAG calls on the Sudanese interim government to act swiftly to protect all civilians and displaced populations in Darfur from further bloodshed. The interim government must create and enforce measures to ensure legal accountability and a permanent end to these attacks on innocent Darfuri civilians.
DWAG also calls on the international community to support the authorization of an effective independent peacekeeping force in Darfur to protect civilians. It is worth noting that the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have been carrying out attacks against civilians and are implicated in the crimes committed in Darfur, as previously reported, so they cannot be trusted with such a task. Therefore, the interim government must take immediate action to address the issues of civilian protection to allow an UN-mandated civilian protection force in Darfur throughout the transitional period.
The endless forced displacement and loss of life in Darfur has been going for far too long and urgently requires the international community’s attention and prompt action. Sustainable and enforceable safety measures are necessary now more than ever to end these violent clashes, protect the safety of innocent civilians, and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions.