Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Ravina Shamdasani\ Location: Geneva\ Date: 22 January 2021
We have received deeply disturbing information about two deadly incidents of inter-communal violence in Darfur over the past week, and we fear that the lack of security and chronic impunity in the region leaves it vulnerable to further serious violence.
Between Saturday and Sunday, 16-17 January, 160 people were reportedly killed and 215 injured in clashes between armed men of the Masalit and Arab communities around Krinding camp for internally displaced people in West Darfur. Following the murder of an Arab tribal leader, allegedly by a Masalit man, armed men from the Arab community opened fire at the mostly Masalit IDPs in the camp and set many shelters on fire. In spite of measures by the Governor of West Darfur to bring the situation under control on Saturday, violent clashes erupted between armed men from both communities on Sunday in the region, which also resulted in mass displacement. A nearby village was also set on fire.
In a separate incident, on Monday 18 January, 72 people were reportedly killed and 73 others were injured in South Darfur’s Gereida locality following clashes between armed men from the Falata tribe and the Reizigat tribe. The incident was triggered by the killing of a 10-year-old boy from the Reizigat tribe on 17 January after his search for his camels caused him to cross into land claimed by the Falata tribe. The following day, Rezigat armed men launched an attack on a Falata village. Both sides exchanged fire, causing deaths, injuries and displacement. We understand that the state security committee has been attempting to contain the situation in South Darfur through the deployment of security forces to the area.
These incidents raise serious concerns about the imminent risk of further violence in Darfur, in an environment where decades-old ethnic and tribal tensions that were further stoked by the previous regime continue to fester. There are severe gaps in protection by State authorities, as well as a lack of accountability for violations. Local health facilities have reported being unable to cope with the high number of casualties.
We call on the Government of Sudan to promptly ensure the full implementation of its National Plan for the protection of civilians, and to restore public order and the rule of law in Darfur. We urge the authorities to prioritize carrying out thorough and effective investigations with a view to promptly ensuring that individual perpetrators are brought to justice — to break the cycle of armed citizens taking the law into their own hands to avenge attacks on members of their communities. Victims and their families have the right to redress.
We urge the judicial authorities to take immediate action on the findings of a previous report into intercommunal violence that occurred between 29-31 December 2019 in El Geneina, West Darfur, as a crucial step in the fight against impunity.
We stand ready to continue engaging constructively with the Government, including through our presence in Sudan, on the many human rights challenges the country continues to face.
Statement by Abdullah Fadil, UNICEF Representative in Sudan
KHARTOUM, 22 January 2021 – “It is one week since the violence in El-Geneina began and one year since the last flare-up of similar senseless violence that killed over 80 people, including children, and displaced many thousands more.
“Over 150 people have now lost their lives, including 10 children, the youngest under five years old.
“Too many lives lost. Too many young futures cut short.
“UNICEF appeals to the tribal leaders in the area, to the young people and to tribes in west Darfur to stop fighting.
Despite the many challenges the Government of Sudan faces, we appeal to the authorities prioritize the protection of civilians and strengthening the application of rule of law. We must finally address the long-term root causes of conflict, and lay the foundations for lasting peace.
“I served in El-Geneina between 2009 and 2010. It pains me that 10 years on, the level of violence in the streets of this beautiful city is only escalating.”
In a conflict there is usually some innocent civilians who is the casualties between the battling parties. There is no difference in the region of Tigray in Ethiopia. Where refugees and civilians are caught in crossfire. The parties are hit by the blocked roads and warfare. Also, the direct control of the National Army, Eritrean Army and Amhara Paramilitary Group “Fano”. All of these factors get’s into play. As much as the state wants to control the Law Enforcement Operation, which have been into play since 3rd November 2020.
We are now in middle or later January 2021. That is near to three months of conflict. A conflict where the United Nations Organizations and aid organizations haven’t been able to access or allowed to get to the ones in need.
UNHCR on the 19th January 2021:
“The assessment, which concluded last week, found help is urgently needed for the tens of thousands of Eritrean refugees in northern Ethiopia. Refugees were cut off from any supplies and services for more than two months. Wells were not functional without fuel for the pumps – leaving refugees to use water from a nearby creek for washing, cooking and drinking, resulting in diarrhea like illnesses. The only assistance refugees received since the start of the conflict was a one-time food distribution conducted by the World Food Programme (WFP) almost a month ago. Plans are underway for a second distribution” (UNHCR – ‘UNHCR finds dire need in Eritrean refugee camps cut off in Tigray conflict’ 19.01.2021).
These stories should haunt the authorities, the government and everyone in-charge. Unless, they are fine with starving civilians. Because, this is deliberate acts of injustice. This is violations of human rights and the basic needs of other human beings. Everyone needs shelter and food. That is just a mere fact.
So, when the Prosperity Party and the Law Enforcement Operation is acted out like this. The governing bodies of Addis Ababa is responsible for the disaster and humanitarian crisis in Tigray. As the UNCHR is only saying about the Eritrean refugees. However, we can imagine if the Eritrean refugees have it like this. How is the rest of the population of the populous region been held captive too? Are they also starving and blocked from food supplies?
That wouldn’t shock me, as the UNCHR doesn’t say how things are in general. Nevertheless, the ideals and the ability to cut-off these basics needs for civilians. Says a lot about what sort of play the government have towards this region. How little it care about lives and their fate. The state doesn’t care or value the needs. As they are even blocking World Food Programme and UNCHR to act upon the outcries and call for help.
Tigray region is hurting and its deliberate from the state. They are using everyone as targets and not shielding anyone from the harm of the conflict. That is the clear message of the state. Peace.
The United Nations Secretary-General has voiced deep concerns over escalating violence in West Darfur and called Sudanese authorities to “expend all efforts” to end the fighting and protect civilians.
According to media reports, at least 83 people, including women and children, have been killed and more than 160 wounded in inter-communal clashes this weekend. Several houses are also said to have been destroyed and about 50,000 people displaced.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson on Sunday, Secretary-General António Guterres called on the Sudanese authorities to “expend all efforts to de-escalate the situation”.
He also called on them to “bring an end to the fighting, restore law and order and ensure the protection of civilians, in accordance with the Government’s National Plan for Civilian Protection.”
Mr. Guterres also expressed his condolences to the bereaved families and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.
The violence occurred about two weeks after the African Union-United Nations hybrid peacekeeping mission in the region (UNAMID) ended its operations at the end of 2020. UNAMID is currently drawing down and the process is expected to complete by the end of June 2021.
Millions in need of assistance
The vast Darfur region, roughly the size of Spain, has been plagued by conflict and inter-communal tensions for years. Millions have been displaced by the violence, including many who fled into neighbouring Chad.
According to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), almost 5 million people there received humanitarian assistance between January and September 2020. Darfur is also one of the poorest regions in Sudan, with poverty rates as high as 67 per cent in Central Darfur. Several health facilities have also been closed due to lack of funds and staff.
Since the 3rd November 2020 the Federal Government of Ethiopia initiated a civil war against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). Which has been established as an effort coined: “Operation Law Enforcement”. It was supposed to be a quick-fix mission to send the TPLF to the and totally annihilate the former comrades of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Defence Force (EPRDF). Instead of taking the TPLF to the courts and challenging them with legal means. The Prosperity Party incited a war and kept the world in the dark about.
However, the truth will eventually come out. The Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF) wasn’t battling the Tigray Special Forces on their own. The former outfit, which was termed a militia and the TPLF was deemed a terrorist organization by the House of Federation. This was all happening, because of a constitutional stalemate between Addis Ababa and Mekelle. However, what is more insightful is how the Prime Minister has used all his neighbours to try to conquer his enemies.
Prime Minister Ahmed Ali Abiy of the Prosperity Party the consolidated EPRDF (without TPLF) into one party. Where his allies and his “Yes-Men” has all control. This is where they went after the ones who defied the PM and his PP. That is why TPLF got scorned and targeted. To think otherwise is naive, as we are in mid-January 2021. A lot disinformation and also conflicting messages, but what we do know. Is that Tigray is in an humanitarian catastrophe beyond words and God only knows who many who has died over this warfare. That is unknown.
However, by mid-November and weeks into the battle between the parties. There was reports of Eritrean Defence Force fighting on Tigrayan soil. They we’re doing this together with ENDF. A joint venture to capture and assault a common enemy. There ENDF even flown in well in time before the 3rd November with battalions to be able to strike from multiple front.
So, at just the moment there we have to parties involved. We have the Federal Army and the Eritrean. With some more time. There was reports that the ENDF was using United Arab Emirates Drones to bomb and targets locations within Tigray. That means the ENDF had gotten help and technical support from yet another ally.
At one point Abiy even asked for a brigade of mercenaries from South Sudan. So, they could pay for the services of South Sudan’s People’s Defence Force (SSPDF). However, that didn’t go through and the South Sudanese didn’t comply or take the offer from Addis Ababa. Nevertheless, that shows the intent of Abiy.
What has now come out even furthers things and shows the planned strike in Tigray. Just like the pre-flown brigades of ENDF to Eritrea ahead of Northern Command attack. The ENDF and EDF was prepared to attack from Eritrean soil. With that in mind the Somali Guardian have today released a report that 2500 Somali trained soldiers who enlisted to a Qatari Military Service was flown to bases in Eritrea ahead of combat. These soldiers was destined and taken to military camps within Eritrea for the sole purpose of participating in the conflict in Tigray.
That means Abiy have used the helping hand of Eritrea, UAE, Qatar and Somalia to annihilate one group of people and their party. He will go that far to cause harm and damage. Just to settle old scores and to boost his ego. That is the works of war-lord and not a peacemaker. The willingness to use allies to severely damage own citizens and create a refugee crisis in Sudan. That is the sort of man PM Abiy is.
This bloodshed, the use of allies and total destruction will be on his account. As he ordered it and prepared it. It seems like the Federal Government was making any excuse to retaliate, as they had already prepared for battle both in Amhara and in Eritrea. The PM has even used the para-military amhara milita (Fano) to conquer the TPLF. So, there is no bounds in his vengeance towards this people.
The lives taken, the lives lost and all the lives harmed is on the watch of Abiy. That is his responsibility as the head of state. He needs to account for these and the usage of lethal force for personal gains. That is the truth of it all. We have no idea to what extent, but one day the horrific truth will hit us. Peace.