by Lt. Gen. Abakar M. Abdallah[i]
RSF/Janjaweed militias massacred peaceful protesters in Darfur District of Fata Borno, Kutum in North Darfur July 13, 2020
Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity continues in all its forms in Darfur despite Bashir’s removal from power in April 2019. This is not a surprise to most of us who document the crimes of successive Sudanese Khartoum Elite regimes whose Arab tribal militias have committed human right abuses since Sudan achieved independence in 1956. They continually commit heinous atrocities against large sections of the Sudanese indigenous populations; especially those in Darfur, Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile region. The Fata Borno massacre in North Darfur that occurred on July 13, 2020 is not an isolated incident. It is part of the ongoing Sudan regime and Rapid Support Force/Janjaweed (RSF/Janjaweed) campaign to ethnically cleanse Darfur. It was an attack to silence the voices of Darfur people seeking to reclaim their land seized by Janjaweed militia new Arab tribal settlers and their families that the regime recruited from abroad. These organized assaults are like those of Kirinding IDP camp killings in al Geneina; in which militias killed over 50 people and injured several others. The Hijar Tonyo village massacre killed 12 people and wounded 5 others at the beginning of this year. And the list can go on……
Protests in Darfur first began on June 29, 2020 in Nertty, Central Darfur region and gradually spread to the other areas such as Kapkabiya, Kutum and Fata Borno in the North. The protests started as the rainy season approached and people of Darfur wanted to return to their villages to cultivate their land. However, they were blocked from doing so by heavily armed RSF/Janjaweed militias occupying their villages and farmlands. The RSF/Janjaweed militias consider Darfur as a liberated area dispossessing villager from returning to their homes and farmlands. Those who return are shot and killed. Recently, we had reports of returning indigenous people shot and killed by RSF/Janjaweed militias at their farms in the vicinity of the towns of Nertty, Kapkabiya and Kutum in North Darfur. As the security situation worsened, Darfurians organized protests demanding the Transitional Sovereign Council (TSC) government in Khartoum take responsibility to protect villagers who have the absolute right to return to villages and cultivate their farms. The protesters demanded the government to provide security protection, replace corrupt officials, including leaders of security military units and Janjaweed commanders. Protesters also requested the government remove the RSF Janjaweed militia families who occupy villagers’ farmlands and fruit plantations.
The TSC government dispatched a North Darfur Security Committee delegation led by Mr. Mohamed Ibrahim Abdelkerim, the Deputy Governor of North Darfur from Al-Fashir to Kutum on Sunday, July 12, 2020 to mobilize RSF/Janjaweed militias and disperse the protest-sit in. The Governor organized a police force from al-Fashir and sent them to Kutum to participate in the operation. Arriving at Kutum by Helicopter, the delegation was joined by the Executive Director and the commander of police of the Kutum District. They went to the RSF/ Janjaweed militia garrison, known as Damirat Sheik Abdelbagi, and held a meeting. Following the meeting with the RSF/Janjaweed militia garrison commanders, the Governor and his delegation team visited the Fata Borno protesters. The protesters were suspicious of the delegation because of their visit to the Damirat Sheik Abdelbagi, one of the many RSF/Janjaweed militias garrisons occupying the farms. Without resolving the crisis, the Deputy Governor returned to al Fashir and left the RSF/Janjaweed militia commanders to deal with the protesters.
On July 13, 2020, RSF/Janjaweed militias riding horses, camels, motorcycles, and pickup trucks attacked and dispersed the protesters in Fata Borno. The militias killed 14 civilians, wounded 11 others, looting Fata Borno, and villages in the vicinity. They robbed and burned the Fata Borno market and homes. The militias proceeded to burn plantations and seize livestock including ten horses with their carriages. These RSF/Janjaweed attacks continued July 14, 2020 at the Abdel Shakur village gold mine North of Kutum during which the militias robbed mine workers, passengers and seized vehicles. The TSC has been silent as the RSF/Janjaweed occupation of Darfur is part of the deep state plan and its implementation is justified by the regime. This is the reason why Darfurian indigenous people are continually suffering under the occupation by government sponsored militias.
The situation in all of Darfur is very tense and heightened as the militias with their families’ occupied villagers’ farms and fruit plantations prohibiting people from cultivation. Indiscriminate Killings, rape and executions are widely carried out to frighten people from coming back to their villages and lands. It is important for the international community to recognize that this policy of deliberate systematic murder and ethnic cleansing plan was orchestrated by the former President Bashir and the previous Khartoum elitist regimes. Stopping farming through such provocative ethnic cleaning action will cause people to miss the cultivation period that is highly dependent on seasonal rain. Moreover, preventing farmers from growing crops could result into the shortage of food which may trigger a major famine in the region.
We call upon the international community to hold Sudan’s TSC government and its RSF/Janjaweed militias responsible and carry out immediate actions to bring perpetrators to justice. We urge the international community to protect the indigenous people of Darfur and undertake measures dismantling RSF/Janjaweed militias to prevent the reoccurrence of such crimes against humanity.
The map below shows District of Kutum and Fata Borno.
[i] Lt. Gen. Abakar M. Abdallah is Chairman of the Sudan United Movement. He is a Native of Kutum, North Darfur who served as a senior intelligence officer and Pan Sahel Counterterrorism unit commander in the Republic of Chad Army. He is a graduate of the US Army Intelligence and Security School and the US Army War College, He is co-author of Genocide in Sudan: Caliphate Threatens Africa and the World, JAD Publishing, 2017.