Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG) would like to express its grave concern about the deadly violence that took place in the capital of West Darfur over the weekend that left many injured and seventeen dead. Two separate incidents, one on Friday, July 17th and one on Sunday, July 19th, left many injured and three dead. DWAG would like to raise the alarm about this systematic violence and calls on the Transitional Government of Sudan to take effective action to end this cruel act against innocent civilians in Darfur.
On Friday, July 17th, International Justice Day, Militias affiliated with Rapid Support Forces attacked villages in West Darfur Ammar Ibrahim where seventeen people were injured during a sit-in at Misterei in Beida after a group of gunmen opened fire on the peaceful protests. Friday was the 11th day of the sit-in. A spokesperson and member of the Resistance Committees that is active in West Darfur Ammar Ibrahim told RadioDabanga that the attack took place right after a delegation of the Beida Resistance Committees Coordination had met with the governor.
On Saturday, July 18th, a group of gunmen on motorcycles attacked and destroyed a number of buildings in Beida. They began first by raiding the market, before continuing on to destroy the office of the Beida Resistance Committees, the house of the former commissioner, and the Beida Language and Science Institute, all while threatening bystanders.
On Sunday, July 19th, the violence culminated when fighting erupted in El Jebel district in El Geneina, when a shooting killed three people and wounded several others. It is unclear what the reason behind the shooting is, however, the situation has been contained after army forces were deployed to the area.
These attacks on civilians in West Darfur are not new nor a single incident – it’s a part of a well-orchestrated policy of the former regime to exterminate the people of Darfur. Despite al-Bashir’s removal from power, his totalitarian regime is very present in Darfur today and the interim government is failing to stop its forces from attacking its citizens. It is extremely alarming that these people have been under attack over the last 17 years and they are yet to be protected today.
These attacks are endangering the lives of millions of innocent civilians and threaten the stability of the Darfur region and the country at large. It is imperative that the Transitional Government address the underlying issues that caused these acts of violence to happen. There needs to be a dedicated effort to withdraw these militias out of civilian areas and remove their guns and other weapons and hold those responsible accountable.
Additionally, DWAG calls on the transitional government to echo the calls made by the United Nations to ensure a national cease-fire takes place as the country responds to COVID-19. It is imperative that the government release an action plan that responds to the ongoing violence that is taking place so that no more citizens are dying in the aftermath of the decades-long conflict.
These attacks further underscore the Interim government’s inability to protect civilians in Darfur and the need for UN civilian protection forces with a Chapter (VII) seven mandate throughout the interim period to ensure that vulnerable populations are protected.
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