Arab Militiamen Kill 16 Zaghawa in North Darfur After They Attempted to Recover Their Looted Livestock

Arab Militiamen loyal to the Sudanese government in Darfur last week executed 16 people belonging to the Zaghawa ethnic group when they attempted to recover their stolen livestock, a rights group said.

Militiamen led by Ibrahim Abu Dur, one of the pro-government militia leaders, on 1 June looted some 700 head of livestock from Zaghawa villages of Laminah, Terling, Hella Sheikh Khatir, and Abu Zeriga , near Shangil Tobaya in North Darfur.

A group of villagers who managed to trap the looters was arrested by the Sudanese army and militiamen after recovering two hundreds stolen head of livestock and were in their way back to to Laminah and Terling villages.

“Nineteen members of the group were arrested and taken to Um Kaja village in Eastern Shangil Tobaya, roughly 2 kilometres away”, reported the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS).

“Sixteen members of the group were summarily executed by firing squad, including Omar al Abkar, 42, the Principal of Abzoraga Primary School,” the ACJPS further said. Three others villagers who managed to elude execution, are currently being held at Shangil Tobaya military camp.

The Sudanese right group said they bodies of the killed villagers were left exposed nearby an open area to dissuade them Zaghawa community from “defending themselves against future military incursions”.

However, the army collected the dead bodies and buried them on 3 June outside of Shangil Tobaya before their families could identify them or pay their respects.

Human Rights Watch recently published a report on the upsurge of violence in the restive region of Darfur saying over 70,000 people were displaced since December 2010. The report highlighted the patterns of attack show that the assaults were based on ethnic divisions.

According to the New York based groups the government militias composed mainly of Arabs belonging to the Berti, Birgid, and Mima clans targeted the areas peopled by Zaghawa in North Darfur.

The ACJPS said the militiamen killed a Zaghawa leader and member of a commission of inquiry formed by the North Darfur governor.

Mohamed Salih Haroun, 70 who was travelling with other members of the commission to probe the attack, was shot dead by a militiaman despite the presence of others in the same car with him.