UN RIGHTS OFFICE CALLS FOR PROBE
OF ATTACKS ON CIVILIANS IN SOUTH
9 October 2006
The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is urging the Government of Sudan to order an independent investigation into recent militia attacks that may have left hundreds of civilians dead in South Darfur.
In a report issued today, OHCHR says that 300 to 1000 armed militia from the Habbania Arab tribe carried out a series of attacks on some 45 villages in the Buram locality of South Darfur in late August. The attacks were reportedly marked by widespread targeting of civilians from tribes of “African” origin, wholesale burning of villages, looting and forced displacement. The population of the villages attacked is estimated to be about 10,000 people, mainly of the Zaghawa, Massalit and Misserya Jebel tribes.
The attacks appear to have been conducted with the knowledge and material support of Government authorities, and the death toll is estimated to be as many as several hundred civilians.
The report, prepared in cooperation with the United Nations Mission in Sudan following interviews with survivors of the attacks and other sources, says the large-scale assaults resulted in chaotic displacement, widespread separation of families and scores of missing children. Subsequent attacks on IDPs fleeing the fighting, carried out by militia from the government-allied Fallata tribe, caused the displaced population to scatter even further, hampering efforts to deliver aid to those affected.
OHCHR is urging the Government of National Unity of Sudan (GNU) to establish an independent national inquiry to investigate the events in the area of Buram, and bring to justice those responsible for conducting the attacks; facilitate the delivery of humanitarian and medical assistance to the displaced population and support the reunification of families, and create conditions to allow the return of the displaced population by ensuring better protection in the area and more frequent police patrols. OHCHR also recommends to the African Union Mission in the Sudan to engage with the GNU in order to deploy as soon as possible protection forces in the area and establish minimal security conditions for the return of civilians.