Six killed in Central Darfur amid heightened security concerns


Darfur faces heightened security concerns as inter-communal clashes leave six dead in Central Darfur’s capital of Zalingei, on Monday.

Sources told Radio Dabanga that the deadly attack followed a rickshaw theft incident. Although the clashes subsided on Tuesday evening, there are still fears of renewed hostilities due to the persistent state of tension in the region.

In the Nierteti locality of Central Darfur, circulating rumours of an impending attack by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led residents to “flee towards the eastern neighbourhoods” in search of safety. The rumours pushed merchants to close their shops in the town’s market on Tuesday.

Young residents in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur, reported incidents of “plundering, house and shop thefts, and gunfire” by armed men, allegedly belonging to El Sadig El Faka’s forces*.

They state they were also “mistreated and humiliated at the hands of El Faka’s forces”, which are associated with armed groups deployed throughout El Fasher’s markets.

Various traders recounted to Radio Dabanga that the forces purportedly protecting the market, have subjected them to abuse and physical violence. One of the tea sellers said, “the members of the forces drink tea and refuse to pay. When I demand they pay, they said ‘we are protecting you’.”

Market traders urged the police to take a more active role in safeguarding civilians.

Rising costs

El Fasher’s residents are grappling with soaring living costs and inflated prices of essential commodities and crops. A sack of millet now reportedly costs 55,000 SDG.

The situation has pushed many women to seek alternative sources of income, with many taking up commerce in the local markets. A primary school principal turned to selling onions and potatoes to provide for her children as she has not received her salary for the past four months.

Khalida Mohamed, a displaced teacher from Zalingei, shared her family’s tribulations of the arduous journey to El Fasher with Radio Dabanga. Fleeing recent events in her hometown, she and her children “suffered in order to reach the city of El Fasher. We were robbed on the road, and my husband is still missing in Zalingei.”

RSF soldiers and groups of armed men have been attacking and plundering Zalingei since May. On June 30, Radio Zalingei journalist Samaher Abdelshafee was killed when a missile hit the shelter she was in.

*El Sadig El Faka was one of the most prominent leaders of the Sudan Liberation Movement-Abdelwahid (SLM-AW) faction, led by Abdelwahid El Nur, in the Jebel Marra region. He defected from it and signed a peace agreement with the North Darfur government in January 2017 under the name of the Sudan Liberation Movement for Peace and Development.

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