The Killing of Magbola and co by Bashir’s RSF is Mutually Inclusive to the reduced Presence of International Monitors in Darfur
By Osama Mahmoud
After the atrocious crime committed by the government of Sudan (GoS) Rapid Speed Forces (RSF) in Central Darfur, where the blood of young Magbola Jar Elnabi – 22 years old – was shed under the nose of the international community (ref. 1), the full responsibility of such crime lies on the shoulder of the GoS. Part of that responsibility is without a doubt can be attributed to the inaction of international community, the very governments that legitimise the normalisation of relations with a regime which is lead by International Criminal Court indictee Omer Al-Bashir (ref. 2). Their inactions gives Bashir and his Janjaweed Militias the green light to continue their mission to eradicate Darfur from its people, particularly the ones in IDP camps (e.g. what happened in Khamsa Gadaig and Aradieba IDP camps late May 2018) as GoS sees these people as potential witnesses against them which justice comes to play.
The killing of Magbola and thousands of Sudanese people across the country (mainly in Darfur, Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains regions) should send chills through the spine of any human being. Peace is necessary for security, however to guarantee its continuity, it needs to be accompanied by justice. To achieve this goal the international community have to fulfil its promises to the people of Sudan in DARFUR; one of which is the protection of civilians in the region and to monitor of the situation in the ground by providing thorough and honest accounts and transparent reporting. The UNAMID force as an organisation failed to fulfil the aforementioned, amid reports of corruption and cover up (ref. 3). These are serious failures and professional misconduct that the UN needs to look at deeply, sort out the mess and address the root cause of the problem. Having said that their presence is important even if they save one live.
The action by the UN should include the restructuring UNAMID to be a fully oriented force towards protecting Darfur’s displaced, and also to be more committed to documenting and addressing the aerial bombardment against civilian targets. At the moment the force is weak and fails even to protect its members, let alone the civilians. However, their present is important and the decision taken by US and international community to cut the funding and reduce the numbers of UNAMID force in DARFUR (ref. 4) was a disastrous one and evidence of that can be drawn from the continual killing of innocents by GoS and Magbola was one of the latest victims.
DARFUR Union in the UK have gathered some testimonies from the ground over the last 12 months to highlight the perception of some of the marginalised people.
1. Nonetheless, UNAMID’s presence was and is still regarded as a deterrent, and persons from the villages that live nearby still seek their help when they know an attack by the Janjaweed or government militia is imminent. They go to where UNAMID is residing and stay there until they feel it is safe to manoeuvre.
IM, a teacher from North Darfur
2. Women in Darfur will be one of the worst affected groups if UNAMID reduces troop numbers. I am a mother and I reside in Abu Shouk IDP camp. Women and young girls in here tend to go to the outskirts of the camp to collect wood for use as fuel. They face danger in form of rape and murder at the hands of pro-government militia: the Janjaweed, and the Rapid Speed Force. There should not be any plan to reduce the number of UNAMID troops; on the contrary, there should be an increase in number of the troops to protect civilians until a true peace is in place which would secure our return to our lands.
IA, from North Darfur
3. I am a teacher from El-Geneina. I have witnessed the effect of war on the youth over the years in west Darfur. This was particularly evident in the area after the Janjaweed took control of west Darfur. This also coincided with the withdrawal of the UNAMID forces. Therefore, reinstatement of the UMAMID troops in west Darfur will help reduce the loss of the lives.
Our area has been under the radar. Attacks on civilians, particularly in 2016 and 2017, have caused major havoc and atrocities partly because of the lack of monitoring, reporting and above all protection of civilians. The international community has to support the operation that will lead to reform of the force, and deploy more persons with better abilities in terms of protecting lives.
FB from West Darfur
4. I am from Basi, North East Kuguli, where the people of the region live under the terror of the Janjaweed. Eight months ago, the area went through major changes where new settlers were given native land by the local government. In 2012, the area was under constant attack by the pro-government militias. The refuge of the locals was where the troops of UNAMID were stationed. The presence of UNAMID does still represent a safety valve amid the dire security situation in Darfur. One has to mention that the number of UNAMID troops has visually reduced in the area and this did and does put the locals at danger and makes them easy prey for the pro-government militia.
NH, a carpenter from Basi in North Darfur
5. The issues of corruption, lack of capacity and the failure to protect itself and others on some occasions are not to be ignored. They need to be addressed and resolved. However, the bottom line is that the force can still manage to save some lives and protect some of the population from rape and torture, as well as report atrocities. As a teacher, I strongly sense that is the feeling among the parents and guardians of the pupils that I teach. The war is not over yet, one hopes that it will end sometime soon.
IM, a teacher from North Darfur
Deputy Press Officer – Darfur Union in the UK