Darfur’s violence displaces 70,000 people in six months
June 7, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – Around 70,000 civilians have been forced to flee their villages in Darfur since December 2010 as result of the upsurge of violence in the troubled region of western Sudan, said Human Rights Watch.
The increase of violence during the last six months in Darfur comes at a time where the international community is focused on the independence of South Sudan within a month and the Arab unrest.
HRW underscored further that despite the growing violence Sudanese government with the support of the African Union and the United Nations is moving towards the domestication of the conflict through the "controversial" Darfur-based Political Process.
"Recent fighting has killed scores of civilians, destroyed property and displaced an estimated 70,000people from dozens of towns and villages between El Fasher and Nyala, and some ethnic Fur areas of eastern Jebel Mara," reads the report.
Conducted during the period between January and May 2011, the report says that the patterns of attack show that the assaults and arbitrary arrests were based on ethnic divisions.
The witnesses interrogated by the HRW investigators said the government militias composed mainly of Berti, Birgid, and Mima ethic groups targeted the areas of Khor Abeche and surrounding villages in the Shearia in South Darfur where people from the Zaghawa ethnic group are based.
The militias aligned to the government also attacked North Darfur Zaghawa particularly in Shangil Tobayi, Dar el Salam, and areas around.
In a case documented by HRW, Sudanese soldiers after surrounding the house of a local leader asked him of his tribe and threatened to "kill all of them [Zaghawas] and rape all their women."
The 28 page report further says that the air attacks by the Sudanese army in Darfur including Jebel Marr killed 20 civilians at least in mid-May alone.
HRW monitors observed the deteriorating human rights situation in Darfur and wondered how the AU UN supported political process that the government plans to launch there can be held under such conditions and the enforcement of emergency law.
"The African Union and United Nations, which play a critical role in Darfur, need to ensure their joint peacekeeping mission can properly monitor the human rights situation," Bekele said. "Any support they provide to Sudan needs to promote and protect rights, not undermine them."