Arrests in Darfur by Khartoum's security forces continue to increase in the wake of interviews given by displaced persons to visiting Obama administration Special Envoy for the Sudans, Donald Booth; see more detailed commentary on these arrests:
August 4, 2016 | http://sudanreeves.org/2016/08/04/7401/
August 1, 2016 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Vk
The costs of speaking honestly about Darfur's grim realities is high...perhaps much higher than we know: Central Darfur camp coordinator declares:"the 13 detainees must be in 'an extremely difficult situation" as their relatives, lawyers, and representatives of human rights department of UNAMID have not been allowed to visit them.'" (see Radio Dabanga dispatch below).
Eric Reeves | August 8, 2016 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Vt
"Four more displaced who met US envoy held in Central Darfur" | Radio Dabanga | August 7, 2016 | Nierteti, Central (formerly West) Darfur
Agents of the Sudanese security apparatus detained four displaced people in Nierteti in Central Darfur on Friday and Saturday. The detention of the four camp residents brings the number of displaced people who were detained after meeting US Special Envoy Donald Booth two weeks ago to 15.
Two of them have been released, Shafee Abdallah, coordinator of the Central Darfur camps for the displaced reported to Radio Dabanga.
Ishag Adam Abdelshafi and Yahya Mohamed Yousef were detained in the centre of Nierteti at about 6 pm on Friday. Late on Saturday afternoon, security agents in four Land Cruisers stormed the Northern Nierteti camp. They took Adam Ishag Abdelkarim with them after searching his shelter and the shelters of four of his neighbours. Displaced secondary student Khalil Hassan was detained in Nierteti on Saturday as well.
According to Abdallah, the 13 detainees must be in "an extremely difficult situation" as their relatives, lawyers, and representatives of human rights department of UNAMID have not been allowed to visit them. He added that relatives of the detainees went to the main office of the security apparatus in Nierteti with food and clothes for the detainees, but security officers refused to take the goods.
The camp coordinator appealed via Radio Dabanga to the US special envoy, and the US embassy in Khartoum to intervene for the release of the displaced. "If they have committed a crime, they should be charged and brought to trial. Yet, meeting with Special Envoy Donal Booth, and telling him the facts about what is happening in Darfur, is not a crime."
During his visit to Darfur, Booth met with a group of 20 displaced elders, women, and youths in Nierteti, and asked them about their opinion on the ongoing peace process, the Darfur referendum that was held last April, the activities of humanitarian organisations, and the performance of UNAMID. The spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Gariballah El Khidir, told reporters on the occasion that the US envoy was interested to speak with people who had fled the recent fighting in Jebel Marra.
Displaced persons near Sortony displaced persons camp, North Darfur; nearly all of these people fled Khartoum's brutal military campaign beginning in January 2016 and focusing on Jebel Marra, Central Darfur
A member of the committee informed Radio Dabanga on 27 July that they told Booth about the killings, rapes, detentions, and torture by the government and its militias, and the occupation of their land by new settlers. They further said that Unamid is incapable of protecting itself, "let alone protecting the displaced people."
Four days after the meeting, five displaced who had met with Booth were detained. On 2 August, the camp coordinator reported that another displaced man was detained. Five others were held last week.
Obama administration Special Envoy for the Sudans, Donald Booth: why haven't we heard his voice following the arrests of displaced persons who had the courage to speak truthfully about conditions in Darfur during Booth's visit to the region?
Call for release
The Arab Coalition for Sudan calls for the immediate and unconditional release of the first 11 displaced men detained after their meeting with the US special envoy. In a statement today, the Coalition emphasises the need to ensure a decent treatment of the detainees, and their right to a proper defence lawyer and a fair trial. "The fierce campaign of the security apparatus reflects the deterioration of the humanitarian and security situation the displaced are facing and the suffering of the displaced people in the camps as well," the statement reads.
"The crackdown reveals to a large extent the size and level of the human rights violations committed by the security apparatus, that sought to suppress these people, and prevent them from expressing their opinions to the US official."
Camp coordinator Shafee Abdallah further reported that the situation in the town of Nierteti has become dangerous. "Armed robbers plundered seven shops at the old market of Nierteti on Saturday night," he said. "Also on Saturday, gunmen on horses intercepted a secondary student in Keibe valley, north of the town. They severely beat him, stole his mobile phone, and stripped him of his clothes." Abdallah holds "the Commissioner of Nierteti locality and his security forces" responsible for the "attacks, plundering, and the chaos, as they are the only men who dare to roam the streets of Nierteti at night."
Eric Reeves, Senior Fellow at Harvard University's François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights
About Eric Reeves: http://sudanreeves.org/about-eric-reeves