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SLA-MM and LJM-AK Attack Mellit

14.03.14

CIVILIANS KILLED AND MARKET RANSACKED IN MELLIT ATTACKS

One woman and her baby were killed and over 10 persons were injured when the forces of two armed opposition groups, the Sudan Liberation Army/Minni Minawi (SLA/MM) and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM/Ali Karbino), attacked Mellit on the afternoon of Thursday 13 March. The mother killed was Fatima Humaida Rabih, and besides the death of her infant son, another son, Musaab Ibrahim lost a leg and an arm as the armed groups attacked a residential area of Zayadiya tribe. The civilians in this area resisted the attack burning one rebel vehicle and capturing another one.

The rebel forces killed over twenty members of the Central Reserve Forces (known as the "Abu Tira") and seized the vehicles and weapons of the police and army. They completely looted the market of Meleit and destroyed some government buildings. On Friday noon, hearing that the pro-government militia, the Janjaweed, known as the “Rapid Support Force” (RSF) were advancing on the town, they evacuated Mellit. Those who were injured were then transferred to El-Fashir Hospital.

Background:

Over two weeks ago, the SLA/MM and LJM/Ali Karbino rebel groups withdrew from the area South-East of Nyala, in which they were camped for more than two years, when they realized that the RSF was advancing towards them from Kordofan (See SUDO Update 1 March 2014). The Janjaweed militias, known as the RSF, attacked the area displacing more than 35,000, burning 11 villages to ashes, abducting 22 women and killing 35 persons and many civilians went unaccounted for.

The withdrawing rebels moved to the east of North Darfur, where they claimed to have captured and “liberated” many villages and small towns, resulting in the displacement of more than 300,000 civilians. However, after claiming that they had liberated these areas, the SLA/MM and LJM again withdrew from the area, leaving civilians vulnerable to attack by the Janjaweed and other government forces and militias. Since their claimed liberation of the area and subsequent withdrawal, several civilians were killed and injured by air raids carried by the government air forces on those villages, towns and their surroundings.

Recommendations

The Government should ensure that the Sudanese air force do not bomb civilian areas.

Since the Government is failing to prevent its own militias from attacking and terrorizing civilians it should disband them.

All government forces, militias, and armed opposition forces should ensure that civilians are protected and never made a target of attacks.

All warring parties should refrain from endangering civilians and that they should understand that all acts that put civilian population in danger is a war crime.

The armed opposition groups should always preserve the principle of distinction between their forces and the civilian population and ensure the civilian population is not endangered in any way by their actions.

The Darfur Regional Authority should act proactively to fulfill its commitments to ensure that civilians are able to live in security, to provide them with education and services, and to support displaced persons to return to their own areas if they wish. If it is unable to fulfill its commitment to preserve the security of the population of Darfur and provide them services it should make a clear public statement making clear where the blame lies for these failures.

UNAMID forces should immediately patrol Mellit and the areas evacuated by opposition groups in south-east of South Darfur and east of North Darfur to ensure that civilians are protected and receive humanitarian aid; in particular they should ensure that no reprisals are carried out on the civilian population.

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