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Darfur ICC suspect ‘badly injured’ in assassination attempt: official

July 7, 2013, (KHARTOUM) - The commercial shops at the grand market in Nyala, capital of South Darfur state, were shut down following news of an assassination attempt that targeted the notorious Janjaweed militia leader Ali Kushayb who is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for allegedly committing crimes against humanity and war crimes in Sudan’s western region of Darfur.

Darfur militia commander Ali Kushayb

The governor of South Darfur state, Adam Mahmoud Jar al-Nabi, told the pro-government Ashorooq TV that an unknown person opened fire on Kushayb whom he identified as an "assistant at the Central Reserves Police" and one of his companions in Nyala yesterday.

He added that Kushayb was severely injured in his hands and receiving treatment at Nyala hospital.

The governor further pointed that the perpetrator was arrested by the police and remains in their custody and described the shooting as an isolated incident, saying that it might be motivated by personal reasons.

An eyewitness told Sudan Tribune said that Kushayb was inside a car repair shop along with his bodyguard who was killed in the shooting adding that people and merchants fled the market to their homes in fear of retaliation by the Janjaweed militia.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has reported last month that Kushayb had recently led or participated in attacks which resulted in the killing of civilians in areas in central Darfur.

Sources asserted that today’s incident is an extension of events last week when the local government of South Darfur imposed a curfew in Nyala that starts from 7:30 pm to 7:00 am after deadly clashes erupted between members of security apparatus and a tribal militia which led to the death of five people.

The militia, which formed part of the Janjaweed, attacked the local headquarters of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) and buildings around it.

In a separate incident, a nineteen years old student was shot in the head and killed while 5 others were injured when National Services conscripts opened fire on students who were applying for university admission at the national service headquarters in Nyala.

An eyewitness said that a group of students who were lining in the application queue protested against favoritism when a student accompanied by an army officer completed his application process without following the queue.

Conscripts who were guarding the National Services headquarters fired live ammunition to silence the protesting students.

A senior official at the National Services in Nyala, who preferred to stay anonymous, said that bullets were mistakenly fired and the killing was unintentional.

In a separate context, the United Nations has said that lack of security and stability in Nyala threatens to disrupt the flow of the much needed humanitarian assistance, destabilize reconciliation efforts and derail progress towards greater economic and social development.

In a statement issued in Khartoum yesterday, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Ali Al-Za’tari, expressed the sadness of the UN and its partners in Sudan over the killing in Nyala, South Darfur, of two Sudanese staff members from the humanitarian non-governmental organization, World Vision International.

According to the statement, a third World Vision staff member was also critically injured during the fighting between Government forces and an armed group.

“I urge the Sudanese Government to launch an investigation and bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice”, said Al- Za’tari.

South Darfur state has witnessed a near total security breakdown in recent months with recurrent incidents of looting, banditry and murder including from pro-government militias.