UNAMID conducts field protection patrols to deescalate tension in returnee villages in north darfur

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Zalingei, 1 June 2020- A UNAMID integrated team conducted a field protection patrols to Birka Siera and Bambala return villages near the Mission’s Team Site in Saraf Umra in north Darfur to deescalate the ongoing simmering inter-communal unrest in the area.

During the assessment field Mission, UNAMID’s Governance and Community Stabilization Section (GCSS) met with Sudan Police Forces (SPF) commander in Birka Siera who reported stable security situation within the town while he reported a tense security situation in the farming area (5 km south of Birka Siera) due to ongoing inter-communal tension which resulted in at least fifteen water generators stolen and fences around several farms destroyed in addition to destruction of many agricultural equipment and tools. Furthermore, on 25 May, a group of armed tribesmen launched an attack against Bambala returnee village, which forced all the returnees to flee to Saraf Umra town.

Separately, GCSS met with the Chairpersons of Birka Siera administrative unit and rural court who affirmed the tense security situation, noting that Native Administrations (NAs) of the conflicting communities had convened a reconciliation meeting between the conflicting communities in Birka Siera town on 27 May.

In Bambala return village, GCSS also interacted with a group of farmers led by the Sheikh (Community Leader) of the village who informed that their village has been displaced three time since the eruption of Darfur conflict in 2003 including the recent displacement resulted from the latest attack on the village by tribesmen on 25 May. “All the ninety-two (92) household farmers who returned voluntarily have fled the village following the attack incident”, said the Sheikh of the village.

The villagers from Bambala emphasized that the security situation in the area is still tense due to the presence of armed elements who continued to commit crimes against the farmers during the night. The villagers appealed to UNAMID team to organize regular patrols within the area to ensure protection of civilians. GCSS assured them that UNAMID team in Saraf Umra will organize regular farming patrols to ensure PoC and further assured them that will convey their security concerns to the local authorities in Saraf Umra for intervention.

While returning from the field mission GCSS met with local native administration authorities, Sudan Police and Armed Forces commanders in Saraf Umra town and conveyed to them the security concerns raised by the interlocutors in Birka Siera and Bambala village to prevent inter-communal conflict. Villagers expressed gratitude to the mission for efforts being exerted to prevent inter-communal conflicts.