As UNAMID deploys out of Darfur: ethnically-targeted violence continues on a wide scale | A weekly compendium, No. 2

 

Eric Reeves | October 21, 2017  |  http://wp.me/p45rOG-27p

[I periodically inquire of those on this email list whether they wish to continue to receive such dispatches as this; if you no longer wish to receive emails from this source, please reply with "decline" in the subject box-ER]

The failed UN/African Union "hybrid" Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)-which has shamelessly and with gross inaccuracy celebrated its success for the almost ten years in which it has been charged with protecting civilians and humanitarians-is (per its most recent reauthorization by the UN Security Council | June 2017) drawing down its forces on a scale ensuring that what exceedingly limited protection the Mission has offered will be greatly reduced. 44 percent of military personnel are being deployed out of Darfur and 30 percent of the policing personnel. The knock-on effects of withdrawing this hopelessly misconceived, demoralized, ill-equipped, and badly led Mission are many.

Some of the greatest consequences will be a reduction in humanitarian access; for example, since the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) flies only to areas militarily protected, locations abandoned by UNAMID troops will no longer be accessible. This is especially perverse since a condition for the permanent lifting of U.S. economic sanctions by the Trump administration was the improvement of humanitarian access in Darfur.  The UN's current estimate of the number of people in Darfur in need of humanitarian assistance is 3 million.

Tragically, the greatest consequence of UNAMID's deployment out of Darfur are the continuation, and in some places acceleration, of daily ethnically-targeted attacks on civilians throughout Darfur, primarily by Arab militias controlled or sanctioned by Khartoum. Non-Arab (African) civilians continue to be-as they have been for more than fourteen years-subject to murder, rape, displacement, and loss of property and goods.

There is good reason to believe that we will see in the reports from Darfur (conveyed primarily by Radio Dabanga) continuation, and most likely acceleration, of these attacks. Only the fact of previous vast destruction of African villages and the violent expropriation of farmlands, and the massive concentration of displaced persons (some 2.7 million in Darfur itself, another 320,000 in eastern Chad refugee camps) limits the scale of attacks. Moreover, we should remember that some 600,000 people have been killed as a direct or indirect result of violence over the past fourteen years: this approaches ten percent of the pre-war population in Darfur (see | http://sudanreeves.org/2017/01/05/quantifying-genocide-darfur-mortality-update-august-6-2010/).

As a crude barometer of the scale of violence, I will be assembling weekly a brief compendium of foreshortened dispatches (all with sources on the ground). For surveys covering more extensive periods the violent expropriation of African farmlands (November 2014 - November 2016) and the rape of girls and young women (for the years 2014 and 2015), see:

http://sudanreeves.org/2016/02/17/changing-the-demography-violent-expropriation-and-destruction-of-farmlands-in-darfur-november-2014-november-2015/

http://sudanreeves.org/2017/03/07/continuing-mass-rape-of-girls-in-darfur-the-most-heinous-crime-generates-no-international-outrage-january-2016/

Herewith the second weekly compendium of violence reported from Darfur during the withdrawal of UNAMID; I also include the most revealing medical news of the past week, particularly about the continuing cholera epidemic, denied to exist by the regime, even when labeled "Acute Watery Diarrhea," the medical euphemism of choice by both the regime and the UN's key humanitarian agencies, WHO and UNHCR. All emphases in bold are mine; the emphases in red bold are of particularly significant passages:

VIOLENCE IN DARFUR

• USA renews Sudan travel warning | Radio Dabanga | October 19, 2017 | WASHINGTON | https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/usa-renews-sudan-travel-warning

The US Department of State today issued a new travel warning to US Citizens of the risks of travel to Sudan. "US citizens should avoid all travel to the Darfur states, Blue Nile state, and South Kordofan state and consider carefully before planning travel to other areas of Sudan due to the risks of terrorism, armed conflict, and violent crime."

The latest warning replaced one issued at the end of March. It states that "the US Embassy's ability to provide services outside of Khartoum is extremely limited. Terrorist groups are present in Sudan and have stated their intent to harm Westerners and Western interests through suicide operations, bombings, shootings, and kidnappings. Violent crimes targeting Westerners, including kidnappings, armed robberies, home invasions, and carjacking can occur anywhere in Sudan, but are particularly prevalent in the Darfur states. Several aid workers and private citizens have been kidnapped and held hostage for ransom in the Darfur states over the last year."

"Significant reduction in conflict"

"Despite a significant reduction in the past year in military conflict between the Government of Sudan and opposition forces in Darfur, Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states, tensions in the Darfur states, along the border between Chad and Sudan, and in areas that border South Sudan, including the disputed area of Abyei‎ remain high and violence continues. In addition to risking injury or death, US citizens who go to these areas without the permission of the Sudanese government may be detained by security forces.

Armoured vehicles

The Embassy warning instructs "US government personnel in Sudan to use armoured vehicles for official travel, and prohibits most travel outside of Khartoum without advance permission and extra security precautions.

• U.S. warns citizens against travel to Sudan's Two Areas, Darfur | Sudan Tribune | October 19, 2017 (KHARTOUM) | http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article63794

The United States warned its citizens on Thursday against the risk of terrorist and criminal attacks in Sudan troubled areas, saying should avoid travelling to the Darfur states, Blue Nile state, and South Kordofan. "Terrorist groups are present in Sudan and have stated their intent to harm Westerners and Western interests through suicide operations, bombings, shootings, and kidnappings," said the State Department in a travel warning released on Thursday.

• Market dealer killed, three Darfuri students wounded in West Kordofan armed robbery | Radio Dabanga | October 19, 2017 | EL FULA | https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/market-dealer-killed-three-darfuri-students-wounded-in-west-kordofan-armed-robbery

A man was shot dead El Hadi El Tijani Abdallah was shot dead and three others were wounded in an armed robbery in a house in El Fula in West Kordofan on Wednesday morning. One of the wounded, Abu Bakr Yahyaa, who hails from Garasila in Central Darfur and is a student at El Salam University told Radio Dabanga that they were surprised while they were sleeping at 4 am on Wednesday by four armed men, three of them in military uniform, in the rented house where he lives with seven other students. He explained that the gunmen asked El Hadi El Tijani Abdallah who is from Thawani area in east Jebel Marra, a graduate and a dealer at El Fula market, to hand them all of his money. When Abdallah told the gunmen that he had no money they shot himand killed him instantly. Yahyaa said the gunmen continued to fire, wounding him in his leg, while his colleague Ibrahim Mohamed Nur from El Fasher was wounded too.

• 25 dead as Chad camel raiders clash with West Darfur posse | Radio Dabanga | October 19, 2017 | KULBUS / KABKABIYA | https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/25-dead-as-chad-camel-raiders-clash-with-west-darfur-posse

At least 25 people were killed and an unknown number wounded when armed camel rustlers from Chad clashed with a local rescue team in West Darfur this week. The situation in the area is reportedly still tense. Sources told Radio Dabanga that the incident began on Monday when gunmen from neighbouring Chad stole camels belonging to Mattar Midkheir Awad at El Hatata area north of Kulbus in West Darfur.

A local rescue team managed to recover the camels on Tuesday after a clash that resulted in the death of three of the raiders. The thieves then launched a counter-attack; 15 raiders were killed, as well as eight members of the rescue posse. Callers for the area say the situation as dangerous and tense, as there is no a large gathering and mobilisation of armed men in the area, but no government forces have responded. They appealed to the police, government forces, and Unamid to intervene to avoid even more bloodshed.

Kabkabiya

At least six people were killed and three were wounded in clashes between militiamen in Kabkabiya in North Darfur. The incident led to the closure of Kabkabiya market for the whole of Tuesday as Rapid Support Forces (RSF) support at Kabkabiya market and its streets.

[See comment on presence of the RSF by Governor of North Darfur below---ER]

Sources told Radio Dabanga that the incidents were sparked when an armed group allegedly murdered two members of the Mahariya tribe and stole their motorcycles, five kilometres north of Kabkabiya on Tuesday evening.

• Students injured, arrested as police storm study hall in Sudan capital | Radio Dabanga | October 18, 2017 | KHARTOUM | https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/students-injured-arrested-as-police-storm-study-hall-in-sudan-capital

[Assaults on Darfuri students, especially in the Khartoum/Omdurman area, have become increasingly common over the past few years; Darfuris face "ethnic profiling" by the National Intelligence and Security Services and-despite the immense and growing population of displaced Darfuris in the Khartoum urban areas-often face intense abuse, discrimination, and violence-ER]

At least four students were injured and five arrested during an attack by police on students in the study hall at the Faculty of Education of the University of Khartoum on Tuesday. Students from the Faculty of Education told Radio Dabanga that the incidents came after the students entered into a sit-in from study and examinations because of the administration's dismissal of three of their colleagues who had earlier called for reform of the university environment. The students said that the university police, in an attempt to break the sit-in, took a number of students to the examination hall and forced them to sit the exam on Tuesday morning.

They added that the police then assaulted the students who refused to take the exam and caused injuries to Muawia Adam, Yasin Ishag, El Fateh Eisa and Jeili Ali Jeili. A student told Radio Dabanga that the university police transported the injured students to the hospital and then were transferred after treatment to the police department of Wad Nubawi north where they were held in custody. The students also pointed to the police arrest of student Abdelrahman Fadul, this along with a number of students still missing whose fate is not yet known.

• Grenade blast kills gunman in North Darfur city | Radio Dabanga | October 17, 2017 | 2017 EL FASHER | https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/grenade-kills-gunman-in-north-darfur-city

A man was killed when the grenade he carried detonated in downtown El Fasher city on Sunday night, in front of the security squad chasing him. Several security officers were wounded. According to government sources in the capital of North Darfur, the man was being hunted down by the security service after he had fired live bullets in Abdelrahman El Rashid Park. The security force chased the gunman, who happened to be armed with a grenade. In his attempt to throw it at the security force, the grenade exploded in front of him and tore his body into pieces. The source said that the explosion led to the injury of several members of the security force, who were transferred to hospital.

[The weapons collection] campaign is also expected to lead to new conflict and internal fighting between militias in Darfur.

Ahmed Hussein Adam, associate researcher at the University of London School Of Law, explained that it is a strategy to rid the militias after exhausting their purposes, by igniting internal sedition and fueling conflict between its social cisterns. Adam referred to the need for the government to settle their dispute with Musa Hilal, head of the Revolutionary Awakening Council, and chief of the Mahameed clan.

[Ahmed Hussein Adam makes a particularly important point here, one clearly not considered by UNAMID or those who made the decision to withdraw UNAMID-ER]

• Early grazing: Three farmers attacked in West Darfur | Radio Dabanga | October 17, 2017 | KEREINIK / EL GENEINA | https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/early-grazing-three-farmers-attacked-in-west-darfur

The attack on three women farmers in Kereinik locality, West Darfur, has raised calls for the arrest of the perpetrators and the collection of illegal weapons in the region. Hanab Mohamed Adam, Mariam Abdallah and Nadifa Ahmed have been transferred from Um Tjona village in Kereinik to the hospital in El Geneina for further medical treatment, after they were shot by herders on Sunday. One of the relatives of the wounded women told this station that three armed herders took their livestock to graze at the farms near Um Tjona. They chased the farmers out of the farms. The herders subsequently headed for the village where they opened fire and seriously wounded three women. She reported that the herders also burned four houses at the village...

The period for grazing in the Darfur region does not start until February and herders who let their livestock graze the farmlands prematurely is known to cause tension with farmers each year.

[This early grazing of livestock by Arabic nomadic herders poses an extreme threat as it becomes increasingly common-ER]

Recently, people in Gireida in South Darfur also complained of raids on farms and roads. Last week two farming women were seriously wounded west of Gireida. Witnesses told Radio Dabanga that three militiamen opened fire on the sisters Halima Musa and Khadija Musa, who were working on a farm in Um Asal. 

• UNAMID hands over three more team sites in Darfur | Sudan Tribune | October 17, 2017 (KHARTOUM) | http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article63781

The hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has handed over three team sites in South and West Darfur states to the Sudanese government. In a brief statement seen by Sudan Tribune on Tuesday, the Mission said it handed over its "Forobaranga team site, in West Darfur, to the Government of Sudan..."

The Mission on Sunday officially handed over its team site in Tulus, South Darfur, to the Sudanese government. "The event took place in Tulus locality, some 80 kilometers south-east of Nyala, and was attended by the Joint Special Representative (JSR), Jeremiah Mamabolo, the Acting Wali (Governor) of South Darfur, Sabeel Ahmed Sabeel, government officials and UNAMID staff" said the Mission on Monday.

It is noteworthy that the Mission last Thursday officially handed over its team site in Eid Al Fursan, South Darfur, to the Sudanese government. Last June, the African Union and the United Nations decided to draw down the UNAMID by withdrawing the military personnel by 44% and that of the police component by 30%, the closure of 11 team sites in the first phase and the withdrawal of the military component from another 7 team sites in the second phase. But at the same time the Council decided the opening of a temporary operating base in the Jebel Marra town of Golo.

Last month, the Mission closed four team sites including Malha, Mellit and Um Kadada, North Darfur, and Muhajeria, East Darfur. The remaining four team sites which would be closed as part of phase one include Abu Shouk, Tine, Habila, and Zam Zam.

It is the world's second-largest international peacekeeping force with an annual budget of $1.35 billion and almost 20,000 troops.

• North Darfur sets ultimatum for voluntary handover of illegal arms | Sudan Tribune | October 15, 2017 (EL-FASHER) | http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article63765

The locality of El-Fasher, North Darfur capital said next Thursday would be the last day for the voluntary handover of illegal arms before the start of the forcible collection of weapons. The commissioner of El-Fasher locality Al-Tijani Abdallah Salih Sunday told reporters that they have assigned three centres for the voluntary handover of weapons within the locality...

Last August, the Sudanese government launched a six-month disarmament campaign to eliminate weapons in the conflict-affected areas in Sudan, particularly in Darfur region.

The Sudanese authorities say the spread of weapons among the rival tribes in the region is one of the main causes of Darfur's instability. However, some tribal leaders, such as Musa Hilal refuse to hand over their arms and defy the government. Observers fear that the mandatory phase of the campaign would generate armed clashes in the region between his militia and the government forces.

[This will almost certainly occur, with massive spillover effects affecting humanitarian access in Darfur-ER]

North Darfur state recently witnessed a recrudescence of violence and kidnapping of foreign aid workers

Last week, North Darfur Governor Abdel Wahid Youssef Nahar welcomed the arrival of 10,000 elements from the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in his state saying the will contribute to establishing security in the troubled state. The 10,000 militiamen are also expected to participate in the mandatory phase of the weapon collection operation.

[Given the grim history of violence on the part of the RSF, this is deployment is ominous in the extreme-ER]

• Policeman robbed of weapon in North Darfur attack | Radio Dabanga | October 16, 2017 | KABKABIYA | https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/policeman-robbed-of-weapon-in-north-darfur-attack

A policeman sustained gunshot wounds when he was fired upon by unknown assailants as he made his way to work on in Kabkabiya locality in North Darfur state on Saturday.

MEDICAL NEWS:

CHOLERA

• Minister to declare Sudan 'watery diarrhoea' free | Radio Dabanga | October 20, 2017 | EL FASHER | https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/minister-to-declare-sudan-watery-diarrhoea-free

The Sudanese Minister of Health, Bahar Idris Abugarda, announced Sudan to be clear of the acute watery diarrhoea epidemic. His ministry completed all arrangements to declare Sudan free of the disease....

[More importantly, the dispatch reports:

In spite of numerous independent confirmations (conducted according to WHO standards) that the disease currently ravaging Sudan is indeed cholera, the Government of Sudan and several international organisations still refuse to refer to it by this name ["Acute Watery Diarrhea"]. Doctors and affected people in Sudan, but also human rights and civil society organisations have urged the WHO to mobilise its efforts to provide patients with the necessary treatment and protection. But the apparent unwillingness of Khartoum to declare the epidemic severely affected national and international efforts to provide proper treatment and protection.

Sudan's first cases of cholera were recorded in Blue Nile state in August last year. Since then, the disease spread in eastern Sudan, and later to the Northern State and central Sudan's El Gezira. In April, sources in White Nile state reported a rapid spread of cholera. The disease then spread to North Kordofan, and fully hit Khartoum in May.

• Acute diarrhoea kills 800 in Sudan | Sudan Tribune | October 14, 2017 (KHARTOUM) | http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article63762

An Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD) outbreak in Sudan has killed 800 people since a year ago, according to the latest update from WHO and the Sudanese ministry of health. The Sudanese government denies a cholera epidemic and insists that it is an infection spread through contaminated food, drinking water, or person-to-person as a result of poor hygiene.

According to the WHO, the Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection caused by ingestion of food or water that is contaminated with bacterium [Vibrio cholera].

[There is very good reason to believe that these figures significantly understate the number of cases as well as the number of fatalities; reporting of cholera cases on a systematic basis (as cases of "Acute Watery Diarrhea") is controlled by the Khartoum regime, which has great incentive to downplay the scope of the cholera epidemic--indeed, the same incentives which have led to the refusal to use the word "cholera" and intimidation of the UN's World Health Organization and Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to refrain from using the accurate medical term for the disease---ER] 

"The total number of reported AWD cases across 18 states of Sudan has reached over 35,000-including 800 related deaths since August 2016," said the UNOCHA Sudan in its latest bimonthly bulletin. OCHA further stressed that "Active transmission of AWD is ongoing" in all the country [NB: the phrase here reflects UN complicity in the refusal to name the disease, which the UN admits does exist in South Sudan, with a border of more than 1,000 miles with Sudan; there is a great deal of cross border movement---ER], in the West Kordofan and Northern states. Supporting the government point of view, the UN agency said: "the source of infection is believed to be contaminated open water sources combined with poor sanitation and hygiene practices.

[The bald lie by Sudanese Minister of Health, Bahar Idris Abugardathat Sudan is "clear of the acute watery diarrhoea epidemic," i.e., cholera, is belied by a host of dispatches from the ground in Darfur and elsewhere in Sudan. From the past month:

• Cholera still scourge in Sudan; new disease claims 12 lives in North Darfur capital | Radio Dabanga | October 5, 2017 | NYALA / SINKAT

• 16 cholera dead in West Darfur camp | Radio Dabanga | October 3, 2017 | MURNEI / SINKAT

• WHO urged to take leadership in addressing Sudan cholera epidemic | Radio Dabanga | September 27, 2017 | GENEVA

• Cholera returns to Sudan's Red Sea state | Radio Dabanga | September 21, 2017 | SINKAT

• Dozens succumb to cholera across Darfur | Radio Dabanga | September 20, 2017 | DARFUR

MALARIA

[The inability of the regime to import adequate supplies of critical medicines makes this year's especially acute outbreak of malaria extremely dangerous to Sudanese without resources; gross mismanagement of the economy and corruption on a fantastic scale have drained Sudan of the Foreign Exchange Currency necessary for critical imports of medical supplies, wheat for bread, and other staples; see highlighted passages below-ER]

• Surge in malaria cases crowds West Darfur health facilities | Radio Dabanga | October 15, 2017 | SIRBA / EL GENEINA / MURNEI | https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/surge-in-malaria-cases-crowds-west-darfur-health-facilities

Health facilities in West Darfur are struggling to handle a surge in Malaria cases, brought on by the rainy season. In Sirba, the hospital must accommodate patients three to a bed. The Coordinator of the Sirba camps for the displaced told Radio Dabanga that a basic school teacher and a basic schoolgirl died in Kendebe on Wednesday. He told Radio Dabanga that the spread of the disease is due to the rainy season and pointed to the rise of incidences of malaria in Kereinik, Beida, and Foro Baranga localities. People in Murnei have also complained of the outbreak and spread of malaria.

• Malaria in East Darfur, Kassala: 'More than 50 cases in hospital each day' | Radio Dabanga | October 17, 2017 | ED DAEIN / KASSALA / DELLING | https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/malaria-in-east-darfur-kassala-more-than-50-cases-in-hospital-each-day

East Darfur has seen a surge in malaria cases. The hospital in the state capital receives between 50 to 70 cases each day. On Monday, a medical source at Ed Daein Hospital told Radio Dabanga that 50 to 70 new malaria victims visit the hospital on a daily basis. "Let alone the number of malaria patients in other clinics in the state."

A doctor at the Ed Daein emergency department reported that the there are cases of normal type malaria, in addition to cases of cerebral malaria that affects the brain. "Of this type we receive between 10 to 12 cases a day." Medicines to treat malaria have seen a significant price increase in pharmacies outside of the capital, with the price of coartem reaching SDG75 ($11.15), while the price of injections against malaria from SDG70 to SDG90 ($13.40). Doctors in West Darfur have reported a surge in the number of malaria patients starting September, crowding health facilities.

Kassala

In eastern Sudan, the Ministry of Health of Kassala has recognised the spread of malaria and typhoid fevers in the state, and denied the prevalence of dengue fever.

South Kordofan

Medical sources in Tima in the northern part of Delling locality, South Kordofan, announced that more cases of malaria have appeared, especially among children. Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Thursday, an aid worker in Tima said that there are frequent complaints from locals about the growing spread of malaria among residents, amid an acute shortage of medicines. Kucho Shaine Abajo, director of a local charity organisation working on peace building in the Nuba Mountains region, confirmed to the station that there are no health services in the area.

One of the victims of Khartoum's military assault on Kalma camp last month; when the camps are dismantled, as Khartoum has repeatedly promised it will undertake as soon as possible, these people will be without the protection of UNAMID or even the minimal safety in numbers that camps provide 

-- 

Eric Reeves, Senior Fellow at Harvard University's François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights

 

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