Introduction and the General Security Situation:
The general security situation in West Darfur/Zalingei has been volatile. Incidents where civilians were victims were reported; in most cases the perpetrators were unknown armed persons. The incidents were in the form of rapes, killings, assaults, robbery and vehicle carjacking. National intelligence and security services (NISS) and police were also involved in killing and shooting of civilians. There were also reports about clashes between Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and rebel groups in the western Jabal Marra area. There were also several incidents of robbery reported where criminal gunmen attacked civilians on the streets and in their houses to take away motorcycles or steal property; in addition the same gunmen were allegedly involved in carjacking vehicles belonging to NGOs. In this regard the common view by the general public was that the gunmen were well-known to state security forces who failed to make any serious attempts to apprehend them and bring them to justice.
However, since the declaration of Zalingei as the capital of Central Darfur State (a newly established state), the state security forces and all regular forces (Police, NISS, Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Central Reserve Police (CRP) have shown greater seriousness in making attempts to apprehend the criminals, in particular those with guns, who have been involved in these criminal acts. However more serious efforts are still needed to restore security in the area which has suffered from the proliferation of arms in the hands of many different armed militias and groups, and the absence of rule of law and respect for human rights.
Arbitrary Arrest and Detention, Human Rights Abuses by State Security Forces:
Arrest, Detention and alleged torture of a student of Nyala University:
On 24 October, a student of Nyala University was arrested in from the Hay Al-Gharabi area in Zalingei by 13 military intelligence officers. He was detained for 14 days in military intelligence custody in Zalingei and he was transferred to military intelligence detention in Al-Geneina. He was interrogated on his alleged links with a rebel movement. He was released on 3 December reportedly on the intervention of the Wali (Governor) of West Darfur without any criminal charges.
Excessive use of force by NISS personnel resulting in killing and injury of civilians in Zalingei Toro market area on 25 October
On 25 Oct 2011 at about 6:30 pm in Zalingei town a NISS vehicle was parked temporarily at the market. During this halt, a supposed criminal in the vehicle jumped and escaped into the crowded market. NISS operatives in the vehicle chased him and fired into the crowd killing one woman, Ikhlas Yagub, a 26-year-old student from Zalingei University who lived in Zalingei, Konjomia area. Two other shopkeepers were also injured. Merchants and business persons closed their shops immediately and expressed their anger at the GoS/NISS’ actions.
The incident was reported to police; the police claimed that they sent a request to the NISS office asking them to lift the immunity of the personnel accused of shooting into the crowd, but the NISS has not yet responded.
The Central Reserve Police beat and ill-treat a 13 year-old boy.
On 20 November the Central Reserve Police (CRP) personnel arrested a 13-year old boy and subjected him to cruel and inhumane treatment. The CRP made the boy sit on a beehive and accused him of having links with the rebels. They beat the boy with sticks and whips. The boy was seriously injured due to the ill-treatment and was taken to Zalingei hospital for treatment. The incident was reported, but no action was taken by the police.
A 35-year-old IDP man, Fur by tribe, was arrested in Zalingei Town by the NISS on 30 November 2011. The man was arrested in connection with the death of another IDP man who was killed by unidentified armed persons near the food distribution center in Hamedia IDP camp on 20 August 2011. The arrested man was transferred to police and is currently detained at the Zalingei Central Prison pending investigation by police. There is unconfirmed information that the detainee alleged that he was beaten by the NISS during his detention in NISS custody.
A 50-year-old Fur woman was raped by unidentified armed man on 18 October 2011 while she went to her farm near the Jabal Marra mountain area of Niertiti (about 2 kilometers away from the Thur East IDP camp). The victim did not report the incident to police because, according to her, she felt ashamed as the perpetrator was young enough to be her grandson.
A 15-year-old mentally ill Fur girl living in Songonla village, about 2.5 km north-east of Mukjar town, was raped by a policeman on 9 November 2011. The case was reported to police, but the police allegedly dismissed the case and prevented humanitarian workers from providing assistance to the victim.
On 26 November, a young woman was raped by an armed man on 26 November while she was collecting firewood in the farm. The medical doctor of Zalingei hospital confirmed the rape using medical tests. The victim was admitted in the hospital for further treatment of serious injuries as she was assaulted before being raped. The incident was reported to police, but no action was taken.
A 14-year old Fur girl was raped by three unidentified armed men near Hasahisa IDP camp on 14 November 2011. The incident was reported to police, but no action was done.
On 10 January, a group of six women from Hasahisa IDP camp were allegedly attacked by two unknown armed men on horseback in the Dayi area about 3 km west of Zalingei. The attack took place when the women were coming back from the farm. The perpetrators attempted to rape the women; when they failed, they took clothes and mobile phones from the women and beat them up before the women managed to run away and return back to the camp. The incident was not reported to police because the victims assumed that the police would take no action.
It seems that there are many incidents of sexual and gender based violence which take place in West Darfur/Zalingei. Most of the victims are IDPs and they are aware of how and where to report such incidents. Nevertheless, the displaced community continues to be affected by acts of brutality and atrocities committed by unidentified armed persons and GoS police personnel. Abuses which are committed are often kept behind closed doors in the confines of the victim’s own home and remain completely hidden. Women and girls in this area do not enjoy the protection of their own security services. If the victims/survivors do not report the incident then neither the proper follow up nor any adequate support can be provided after the attack. But the victims/survivors who report the attack are insecure, threatened and unprotected. The police and NISS personnel are not sensitive to the victims/survivors’ dignity and respect. All the incidents reported are dismissed or denied by the security services and their behavior continues to violate victims/survivors’ rights and freedoms. There is a lack of willingness to investigate effectively all cases reported to the police and there are also discriminatory practices in the attitude of law enforcement personnel.