A group of armed men killed 10 people and injured 17 others in the Fataborno village of Sudan’s Northern Darfur state on Monday, according to local residents.
Witnesses told VOA’s South Sudan in Focus program that a group of militia loyal to ousted President Omar al Bashir opened fire on hundreds of people who had gathered at a sit-in to call for increased security.
Resident Suwar Adam Ali, 27, said he saw gunmen attack three locations, including a camp for internally displaced persons.
“At around 12 p.m., a group of militia tried to access the sit-in site in the camp. They also entered the Fataborno market and burned shops and people’s property. They also escaped with dozens of livestock. They fired live bullets on the people,” Ali said.
For the past five days, traditional chiefs, religious leaders, local youth and women have staged a sit-in in front of the headquarters of Fatarborno’s administrative unit, demanding the government provide additional security.
Villagers cannot farm their land or graze their cattle because they fear they will be targeted by armed militia in the area, according to Ali.
“We are requesting the transitional government to disarm these militia groups, secure the agricultural season, stop forceful displacement, and they should immediately intervene to stop the open sale of illegal drugs in the market,” Ali told VOA.
Last week, a high-level government delegation headed by Mohammed Hassan Al Taishi, a member of Sudan’s ruling Sovereign Council, met with Nertiti town residents and agreed to provide additional security in the area, establish local courts and try criminal suspects.
The government applauded the citizens of Nertiti for staging peaceful protests to express their demands.
Information Minister Faisal Mohammed Saleh told protesters at last week’s rally that government leaders are eager to meet with them and discuss their demands.
“We will come and sit with them on the mountains, sit on stone, under the tree or in the desert, and listen to them. This is not because we are angels but because it is our duty,” said Saleh.
Northern Darfur military caretaker governor Major General Malik Al Taib Khawjali has declared a 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew in the area.