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Herder militia launch fresh attacks on farmers in West Darfur

December 6, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – Militiamen launched new attacks on several villages in West Darfur state on Friday following a dispute erupted this week between herders and farmers over grazing land.

The conflict erupted on Wednesday when four people were killed in clashes between settled farmers and nomadic herders in the village of E’esirni in Kereinek locality in West Darfur after herders deliberately made their cattle pass through residents’ farms at gunpoint.

The mayor of E’esirni village, Isaac Abdel –Bannat told Sudan tribune on Saturday that herder militia ridding vehicles and motorcycles attacked several villages including Knicok Erdmta, Hajar and E’esirni forcing civilians to take refuge at the army garrison while others fled towards the state capital, El Geneina.

He said the assailants looted 750 head of cattle, and 250 sheep and goats as well as the looting of villagers’ belongings. He added they also completely burned 65 houses, pointing out that the inventory of the damage is still going on.

Abdel Bannat further said the commander of the Sudanese army garrison, Kereinek security committee, and the native administration leaders in the area held a meeting with the militiamen to calm the situation, but the latter demanded to pay them 800.000 pounds as compensation for death of two of their people during the recent clashes.

He added that the herders threatened to increase the blood money to one billion and two hundred thousand pounds in the event of the death of one of their wounded. “They gave the villagers 48 hours to pay the compensation and threatened to burn all the villages of the region if they fail to pay requested money”.

Abel Bannat urged the state authorities to “protect civilians from genocide” as he said, pointing to the deteriorating humanitarian conditions.