‘4,000 flee villages burnt by aerial bombings in S Darfur’ -sources

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NYALA (18 Mar.) - Some 4,000 people in South Darfur were displaced after having their villages "burnt by aerial bombings by the Sudanese air force" during last week's battles, sources claim.

Rebels (SLA-MM) and army (SAF) both reported clashes Thursday and Friday south of Nyala, making competing claims to the number of casualties, with the army spokesman saying 100 rebels were killed in two battles and SLA-MM saying 170 soldiers and 90 militia were killed.

Eight villages appear to have been burned by the shelling, and civilians are living in appalling conditions “under trees, without food, shelter or blankets in dire need of emergency relief items”.

Roads leading to Nyala remain closed since the eruption of hostilities last week, and the 4,000 displaced are now stranded between their burned villages and Nyala as a result, a sheikh from Tabaldia told Radio Dabanga on Monday.

Tabaldia, along with Abga Radji, Hashaba, Makarin, Um Sayala, Humedah, Sonnut, and Hillet Saleh, were the communities burnt by last week’s shelling, he said. They are located south of Nyala, the capital of South Darfur.

The sheikh urged humanitarian organizations to act immediately and provide the displaced “all necessary items such as mattresses and blankets and even pots for drinking water” and to open the roads.

He further urged the Sudanese government to halt its “indiscriminate aerial bombardments on villages and civilians”, pointing out “this is the reason these communities were destroyed and people are now homeless”.

“What happened [the bombings] is immoral and unacceptable”, he said.

The sheikh is calling upon “everyone” to take action and demand that the government and rebels move their fighting away from villages and civilians’ concentrations.

Lastly, he demanded UNAMID “to do its work and do not stand on the sidelines of what is happening to civilians”.