Title: Sudan must stop attacks on civilians in Blue Nile state and guarantee safety of detainees
Author: african centre for justice
Date: 09-23-2014, 10:37 PM
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The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies
(23 September 2014) The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) continues to document serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in Sudan’s conflict regions. On 1 September 2014 the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and paramilitary Popular Defence Forces (PDF) attacked Samsorah village, near to Bao locality, in Blue Nile state. Ten women and girls were raped and a local community leader was arrested and taken to an unknown location; his whereabouts remain unknown. Authorities have also continued to detain civilians on account of their presumed political affiliations in the state. In August, at least 11 civilians were arrested by the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) and the Military Intelligence of the SAF from localities close to Al Damazein town. Ten men remain detained incommunicado and without charges at SAF “Division 4” headquarters in Al Damazein and are at serious risk of beatings and other forms of ill-treatment. Although no formal charges have been brought, the arrests are thought to have been made on account of their presumed political affiliation with the rebel Sudanese Peoples’ Liberation Movement – North (SPLM-N).
Attack on Samsorah Village
On 1 September 2014 the SAF and paramilitary Popular Defence Forces jointly attacked Samsorah village in the Bao locality of Blue Nile State. A reliable source confirmed to ACJPS that there is no rebel presence in the area. The attack reportedly took place under the command of SAF Lieutenant Al Tayeb Ahmed following an order of the local governor, Faiz Balla. Ten women and girls were raped during the attack, including two girls aged 14 and 13 respectively. A local community leader, Obeid Toar, was arrested and taken to an unknown location. His whereabouts remain unknown. One resident, Mohamed Donkol, was seriously injured. Residents from Samsorah village fled to Al Damazein and the Madeem Bridge locality.
During the attack, the joint forces reportedly told the residents of Samsorah that they were the “children” of the SPLM-N.
10 detainees detained incommunicado and at risk of beatings and other ill-treatment in Al Damazein
11 civilians from the Angasana ethnic group were arrested by the NISS and Military Intelligence of the SAF from localities close to Al Damazein town, Blue Nile state on various dates in August. Their arrests are believed to have been conducted on the basis of their presumed political affiliation with the SPLM-N and aimed at stemming support for the SPLM-N in the area.
One detainee who was arrested on 2 August was released on 9 September 2014. The 10 individuals listed below remain detained without charge or access to their families or lawyers at the SAF “division 4” headquarters in Al Damazein. There are strong reasons to believe that they are at risk of beatings and other forms of ill-treatment.
Agadi area, roughly 36km from Al Damazein
• Judah Omer, (m), age unknown. Mr. Omer was arrested on 2 August 2014.
• Osman Galafah, (m), 45 years of age. Mr. Galafah was arrested on 2 August 2014.
• Hassan Tour Gili, (m), age unknown. Mr. Gili was arrested on 2 August 2014.
• Aldaw Kawalfa, (m), 46 years of age, farmer. Mr. Kawalfa was arrested on 2 August 2014.
• Swar Adam Kaward, (m), 30 years of age, farmer, member of the Angasana ethnic group. Mr. Kaward was arrested on 2 August 2014.
• Sidig Al Jack, (m), 18 years of age, student. Mr. Al Jack was arrested on 2 August.
Al Shahid Afanadi, roughly 4 km from Al Damazein
• Salih Badri, (m), 23 years of age. Mr. Badri was arrested on 6 August 2014.
• Al Haj Habiel, (m), 27 years of age. Mr. Habiel was arrested on 6 August 2014.
• Ahmed Alhaj, (m), age unknown. Mr. Alhaj was on 20 August 2014.
• Alnair Wad Al-Rif, (m), age unknown. Mr. Al-Rif was arrested on an unknown date in August.
ACJPS condemns all attacks on civilians and calls on the Government of Sudan to immediately guarantee the safety of the detainees in SAF “division 4” headquarters and grant them access to their families, lawyers, and any medical attention they may require. ACJPS further calls on the Government of Sudan to:
• Release or charge the detainees at SAF “division 4” headquarters with a criminal offence recognised under international law, guaranteeing procedural rights at all times.
• Immediately cease all attacks on civilians and ensure the safety of civilians displaced following the attack on Samsorah village.
• Establish an independent, impartial and prompt investigation into the alleged conduct of the SAF, PDF and NISS forces in the Al Damazein area and hold those responsible for human rights violations to account.
• Establish an independent oversight mechanism to monitor all detention facilities, including SAF and NISS facilities.
• Repeal all legal provisions granting immunities to police officers, members of the NISS and members of the SAF respectively, including the removal of immunities for members of the SAF under the 2007 Armed Forces Act.
In the three years since the outbreak of the conflict in Blue Nile state in September 2011, ACJPS and other human rights organisations have documented armed attacks by the SAF and paramilitary groups and indiscriminate aerial bombings in civilian areas. ACJPS has documented arbitrary arrests and incommunicado detentions, extrajudicial killings, and the targeting of civilians, including those perceived to sympathise with the SPLM-N. Restrictions on the operation of humanitarian aid agencies in Blue Nile state have severely compounded the impact of the conflict on civilians. In September 2014, Sudan’s Humanitarian Affairs Commission (HAC) reportedly announced that the state Government in Blue Nile would welcome new international organisations and UN agencies seeking to work in the state. However, it was reported that these organisations must work through national counterparts. Further the permits for international staff from aid organisations and UN agencies to work and stay in Al Damazein would need to be renewed by the HAC every three weeks. Conversely, international personnel from international non-governmental organisations would be permitted to make short visits to the area only and would reportedly not be permitted to stay in Al Damazein.
Contact: Mohamed Badawi, ACJPS Human Rights Monitoring Programme Coordinator: +256 (0) 788695068 or mailto:[email protected]@acjps.org