June 24, 2021 (NYALA) – A Sudanese journalist was arrested and beaten by the Sudan Liberation Forces Alliance (SLFA) of Tahir Hajar at the former UNAMID headquarters in Nyala, South Darfur.
Abdel Moneim Madio told Sudan Tribune Thursday that forces of the signatory group detained him for more than 12 hours at a former team site of the United Nations and African Union Mission in Darfur “UNAMID” as he was there preparing in a press mission on Tuesday 22 June.
The journalist, who works as a correspondent for Agence France-Presse from Darfur, said that upon his arrival at the former UNAMID Sector Headquarters in Nyala he was surprised by the presence of the SLFA’s combatants who prevented him from taking pictures, and asked him to wait inside a “cage” until the arrival of an officer who would decide on his request.
Following his refusal to enter the detention room, Madibo was handcuffed and forced to stay in it, after stripping him of all his belongings including cards and cell phone.
He confirmed to the Sudan Tribune he was detained inside the former UNAMID team site in clear violation of the agreement signed with the United Nations.
The journalist added he could not confirm whether the SLFA fighters were residing in the site, but that a military force of 95 military vehicles was there during his arrest.
“I was arrested from 7.30 am until midnight, and they were inside the site during this time,” he added.
It is noteworthy that the agreement between the Sudanese government and the UN prohibits the use of its former sites for any military purposes. The equipped building should be dedicated to civilian purposes and community activities.
Before the handover of the former UNAMID site in Nyala on 19 November 2019, the Sudanese government pledged that the facilities be used as Police Training Academy and premises for the University of Nyala.
Madibo said that an SLFA combatant took him outside the arrest room and beat him with a whip until he was wounded in the back and right hand.
Late during the night, he was transferred to the State Government Guest House where the group officials apologized for the bad treatment and asked him to write down an acknowledgement that he went there on his own.
SLFA Spokesman Fatehi Osman issued a statement confirming the arrest of the journalist
“He went to the base of the Sudan Liberation Forces Alliance in Nyala and photographed the site without permission,” reads the statement.
Osman further said that his interrogation by the Movement’s police was a “routine procedure” before stressing that “It is well known that it is banned to approach and photograph armies barracks without permission.”