Homes burned at Darfur attack site

2012-11-08 16:42
A Unamid staff member holds a spent cartridge left behind by local militants who attacked the Sudanese village of Sigili in North Darfur. (AFP)

A Unamid staff member holds a spent cartridge left behind by local militants who attacked the Sudanese village of Sigili in North Darfur. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Khartoum - Peacekeepers said they had discovered homes burned and dead animals and ammunition littering the ground in a Darfur village allegedly attacked by pro-government forces last week.

Their report gave a rare close-up description of the conflict in the remote region, where rebels demanding greater political and economic sway for their ethnic minorities took up arms in 2003.

Events in Darfur are often hard to verify because journalists' access is restricted.

An African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (Unamid) team that went to Sigili on Tuesday found the village "completely deserted, with apparent signs of an abrupt departure", the peacekeepers said in a statement late on Wednesday.

"It also noticed several signs of destruction of housing and property, killed animals, and burnt houses. Ammunition was also found in different sites across the village."

Access blocked

Last week, Unamid said government forces had blocked an earlier attempt to access the site, which is about 40km southeast of North Darfur's capital El Fasher.

While violence in Darfur is down from its peak in 2003 and 2004, banditry, tribal fighting and clashes between rebels and government forces have continued to plague the region.

On Wednesday, Human Rights Watch said 13 civilians including two infants were killed in Sigili on 2 November, when scores of armed men in vehicles and on camels attacked the village, firing on civilians and looting and burning shops and homes.

It said witnesses identified the attackers as ethnic Berti members of the Popular Defence Forces, a militia the government has deployed alongside the army, but added it could not confirm this.

State media has reported 10 people died in the area in what it called a tribal dispute.

Second attempt

Unamid said it had also tried to go to the Abu Delek area southeast of El Fasher, but was stopped by members of the Popular Defence Forces.

"After lengthy discussion, the team decided to turn back to El Fasher and postpone the mission to Abu Delek," Unamid said.

The attempt was the peacekeepers' second to get to Abu Delek to check reports of clashes between government forces and armed groups. During an 25 October attempt, the team came under heavy gunfire from an unidentified armed group, it said.

Rights groups and the United Nations have estimated that hundreds of thousands of people have died in the Darfur conflict, while the government has put the toll at around 10 000.

The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and other officials on charges of war crimes in the region. They deny the accusations.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.