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IDPs call to investigate beating of Central Darfur returnees during weapons collection exercise

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Government forces interrogating and beating villagers during a weapons collection exercise in Artala. Screenshot from a video released on 10 March 2018 (ST Photo)
March 11, 2018 (ZALINGEI) - Representatives of internally displaced persons (IDPs) condemned the recent beating and humiliation of civilians during an arms collection exercise in Central Darfur State and called to investigate the incident.

A video clip that was widely circulated on social media this week showed Sudanese government forces humiliating and beating dozens of men of Artala area in a Central Darfur State to force them to reveal the whereabouts of weapons caches.

The deputy head of Darfur Refugees and Displaced Persons Association, Adam Abdalla told Sudan Tribune on Saturday that the forces involved in the collection of weapons in Central Darfur "have tortured and humiliated civilians in front of women and children to force them to hand over weapons they do not possess".

Abdalla said the joint forces, composed mostly of the Rapid Support Forces ( RSF) militiamen, surrounded the market of Artala area inhabited by the returnees, located 75 km southeast of Zalingei the capital of Central Darfur and beat the civilians using sticks, rifle butts and whips in an attempt to extract confessions of illegal possession of weapons.

"The residents of the area are all returnees who do not have any weapons," he stressed.

The IDPs representative further called on the UN hybrid peacekeeping mission (UNAMID) to investigate into the assault which he described as "a disgrace to humanity."

Artala which is part of MUKJAR district lies on the border with South Darfur State. The area is inhabited by civilians from the Fur tribe, most of whom were in Kalma camp for displaced persons near Nyala.

There are about 600 families that have returned to settle in the area since 2015.

JEM CONDEMNS

Also, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) "strongly" condemned the attack on civilians by the "tribal militias" describing the incident as another " blatant violation of human rights".

JEM "appeals to the international community to use all the means at its disposal to stop these outrageous violations of international humanitarian law".

"The vulnerable civilians of the marginalised regions, in particular women and children who make the majority of the population of IDP camps, deserve the application of the principle of "need to protect".

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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