Attacks by Sudanese government forces on civilians in Jebel Marra in South Darfur
- April 24, 2018
From 9 March – 2 April 2018, the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) has documented a number of attacks perpetrated against civilian targets in East Jebel Marra in South Darfur state by the Sudanese Armed Forces, Rapid Support Forces and other government sponsored militias. The attacks took place in the villages of: Feina, Dalo, Dawa, Dolda, Libei, Sawani, Rakoona, Fouli, Duwa, and Kidineer. At least 15,000 civilians have been displaced to the neighbouring mountains in each area. In the areas of Jawa, Seena, Feina, Dawa Sawani and Rakoona at least 23 civilians were killed and tens seriously injured, 12 villages were set on fire and burnt to the ground. The attacks were precipitated by fighting in Eastern Jebel Marra between the government forces and the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdelwahid (SLA-AW).
ACJPS calls on the Government of Sudan to immediately put in place measures to protect civilians in Jebel Marra, South Darfur State and respect customary international law obligations regarding internal armed conflicts which prohibit deliberate and indiscriminate attacks on civilians even where there may be armed elements amongst civilians, attacks aimed at terrorizing civilians, and attacks against civilian objects. The principle of distinction between civilians and combatants – that is people taking an active part in hostilities – prohibits the targeting of civilians in all circumstances.
ACJPS condemns all arbitrary attacks on civilians and calls on the Government of Sudan to cease attacks in civilian areas and:
- Officially and publicly condemn arbitrary attacks, unlawful killings and make it clear that these acts are absolutely prohibited and will be prosecuted.
- Launch an independent and impartial investigation into the circumstances surrounding the attacks in East Jebel Marra, South Darfur and guarantee that their findings are published promptly and within a clear timeframe. The findings of investigations conducted by the Sudanese authorities on previous human rights violations in Darfur have never been published.
- Put in place tightened restrictions on the use and supply of arms and ammunitions. A concerted effort to control arms and ammunition in the region should be launched, as well as controls over the use of government vehicles and ammunition and the presence of militias and weapons in public places.
- Repeal all legal provisions granting immunities to police officers, members of the National Intelligence and Security Services, Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces.
- Establish a compensation fund for the families of the victims.
- Ensure that any victims of sexual violence have access to appropriate medical and legal services.
- Guarantee full humanitarian access throughout Darfur.
ACJPS also calls on UNAMID to fulfil its mandate to contribute to the protection of civilian populations under imminent threat of physical violence, and prevent attacks against civilians within its capability and areas of deployment. UNAMID’s capacity is already threatened by a significant upcoming drawdown in its military and police officers.
ACJPS calls on the international community, particularly the European Union, United States, and African Union, to publicly and privately press the Sudanese government to meet its legal obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law, and end deliberate and indiscriminate attacks against civilians, torture, rape and looting. The Sudanese government should ensure unfettered access by UNAMID peacekeepers and humanitarian actors to all parts of Darfur including those most affected by conflict.
Attacks in Jawa, south of Deribat
On 9 March 2018, three civilians were injured during fighting between government forces and SLA-AW in the area of Jawa, south of Deribat, in East Jebel Marra. They include:
- Ishag Idrees
- Dawood Haroun
- Hessainn Hamid
The three were transferred to Rakoona, west of Jawa, for medical treatment.
Attacks in Seena area South East of Jebel Marra
On the afternoon of 22 March 2018, fighting was renewed in the Seena area, South East of Jebel Marra between the government forces and the SLA -AW. As a result 4 civilians were killed. They include:
- Sara Ali Haroun
- Hassan Ammed
- Mosaab Ahmed
- Hasseeb Ahmed
Attacks in East Jebel Marra
On 28 March 2018, the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces backed by the government sponsored militia attacked scores of houses in the villages of Feina, Dalo, Dawa, Dolda , Libei, Sawani, Rabkona, Fouli, Duwa, and Kidineer in East Jebel Marra.
During the attack, at least 3 civilians were killed and 12 others were injured. The 12 injured were taken to a medical facility in Feina to receive treatment. ACJPS was able to obtain details of six of the 12 injured persons. They include:
- Taha Mohamedain Salih
- Abakar Murra
- Suliman Adam Wadi
- Hawaya Abdelhaleem Osman
- Jaleela Ahmed Norain
- Toma Hamad Alhaj
The names of the deceased are:
- Haleema Adam Alfaki
- Hamid Ishag Hamid
- Ismail Yahya Abdulahi
That same day, 28 March 2018, at least two people were seriously wounded when a bomb hit their house in the Sawani area in East Jebel Marra. They were taken to a medical facility in Sawani to receive medical attention. Their names are:
- Ismail Hussein Yahya
- Ayoub Hussein Yahya
On the morning of 31 March 2018, members of the RSF, traveling in more than 20 vehicles and tens of motorcycles, backed by the government sponsored militia riding camels and horses, attacked villages in the area of Sawani and Rakoona. During the attack, at least 16 people were killed in Sawani and livestock was looted in both Sawani and Rakoona. ACJPS also received information that a number of people sustained injuries during the attack. ACJPS was able to obtain the names of the 16 deceased persons. They are:
- Izel Din Ali
- Hawa Yousef
- Sara Omar
- Ibrahim Hamid
- Adam Tairab
- Osman Adam Ishag
- Fadil Hassan Abdel Kareem
- Abdul Basit Ali
- Adam Ahmed Mohamed
- Jamal Mahmoud
- Abdel Azeem Abbakar
- Shamsel Din Adam
- Jar Enabi Ahmed Mahmoud
- Zahra Adam Silieman
- Abdel razag Ibrahim Altahir
- Safa Hamid Ali
On the morning of 2 April 2018, at least two men were killed by the RSF in Rakoona, near Debo Alomda in East Jebel Marra. Their names are:
- Abdelshafi Mohamed
- Ahmed Adam Issa
In 2015 the UN Panel of Experts on Sudan characterized the Government strategy in Darfur as one of “collective punishment” and “induced or forced displacement” of communities from which the armed opposition groups are believed to come or operate. The majority of civilians in Jebel Marra are from the Fur ethnic group, who have been particularly targeted by the Sudanese government since the outbreak of the conflict in 2003.
Initially a paramilitary group, the RSF now functions as a regular force of the Government of Sudan following the passage of the 2016 Rapid Support Forces Act, which integrates the RSF into the Armed Forces of the country, and provides for the commander of the RSF to be appointed by the President.
The RSF has led a number of brutal counterinsurgency campaigns, supported by aerial bombardment, against civilian populations since their creation in mid-2013. In January 2016, ACJPS documented the RSF’s involvement in the burning and looting of the nearby village of Mouli, approximately 15 kilometers south of El Geneina, on 9 and 10 January 2016.
ACJPS also documented a number of attacks on civilian villages between 28 May-15 June 2017 in Central and North Darfur. In late June and early July 2017, ACJPS documented a continuing trend of targeted attacks on civilians in Central and North Darfur. The attacks on civilians appear to have been prompted by the earlier clashes between Government and armed opposition forces, and intended to punish or otherwise intimidate civilians living in the areas of rebel activity.