El Fasher, 6 August 2012 - The African Union - United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) leadership expresses its deep concern over the spread of violence and attacks against civilian population in Kutum, North Darfur.
The series of incidents began on 1 August when the Commissioner of the district of Alwaha, in Kutum town, and his driver were shot dead and his vehicle was carjacked by three unknown armed men. Later in the day, the official’s vehicle was recovered by Government of Sudan security agents 2 kilometres from the Kassab internally displaced persons (IDP) camp.
Subsequently, on the same day armed men surrounded Kassab, looted the market, burnt down the Sudanese Police post in the camp and reportedly killed four persons (three civilians and one police officer) and injured six others.
Similar events leading to the deterioration in the security and humanitarian situation occurred the following days in and around Kutum town, Kassab and Fataborno IDP camps, including fighting between the armed elements and Government Forces, as well as looting and displacement of civilians.
UNAMID has taken measures, including 24/7 protection force presence in affected IDP camps to protect civilians and reinforced the strength of its forces. An assessment team from the Mission visited today Kutum and Kassab camp to meet with local authorities and community representatives, and to evaluate the conditions on the ground and needs of the population.
Furthermore, Mission leadership has directly engaged Government officials on their responsibility to provide protection and defuse tension. In his capacity as Joint Chief Mediator a.i., UNAMID Joint Special Representative (JSR) Ibrahim Gambari is initiating a mediation track between the feuding parties as provided for in UN Security Council Resolution 2063 (2012).
“I call upon all parties involved to put down their arms, to seek a peaceful resolution and a common dialogue. Killing and destruction are not the answer,” said JSR Gambari. “It is my hope that the Government will promptly restore law and order in the area, fulfilling its responsibility to protect civilians and to allow those recently displaced to return to their homes.”
Mr. Gambari requested the Government investigate the reported attacks and abuses on the civilians and the destruction and looting of equipment belonging to humanitarian agencies. He added that all the perpetrators must be brought to justice.