Kassab Attacked

There are conflicting reports of Janjaweed attacks on Kassab IDP camp and nearby Kutum town. I am particularly concerned about the fate of  the staff and women at the Kassab Women’s Center  with whom I have worked for over  five years.

From Radio Dabanga and AllAfrica: “Witnesses said that the IDP’s fled from refugee camp Kassab yesterday in an attempt to save their own lives after three consecutive days of attacks, killings, beatings, torture, and widespread looting and plundering. The pro-government militias justified their attacks by claiming they were investigating the murder of a local government official, Abd el-Rahman Mohamed Eisa. Eisa was killed last Wednesday in the town of Kutum. Adding that they believed the people responsible for Eisa’s death were hiding in the camp of Kassab.

The witnesses added that more than 32000 IDP’s scattered and fled towards Kutum from Kassab camp. While others fled towards the areas of Ain Seerou, west of Kutum. They added that a large number of IDP’s now reside in the neighbourhood of el-Qasr, east of Kutum. Sources from Kassab camp told Radio Dabanga that they got separated from their families in the chaos and that the fate of hundreds of people remains unknown.

Sources from Kassab camp said that during the police raids, which lasted for 3 consecutive days, the pro-government militias arrested more than 300 IDP’s. They transported the IDP’s to an unknown destination after being beaten, tortured and humiliated. Among the arrested IDP’s is el-Sheikh el-Taher Ismail, head of Kassab camp. Ismail was only released yesterday morning, Friday.

IDP’s who fled to Kutum, described the different ways of torture and humiliation they were exposed to during the raids. They complained of the suffering they are facing  and the deteriorating living circumstances, especially after being forced to flee once again. One of the fugitive IDP’s pointed out that a substantial number of others arestill wandering in the open and that their lives are in danger…. a number of IDP’s expressed their anger and condemnation of the alleged failure of UNAMID troops to protect those subjected to raids, murders, torture and plundering for 3 consecutive days by pro-government militias. They called upon the international community to intervene and protect them.

A UNAMID peacekeeper base is located near the town – I’ve stayed there on some of my missions. Not surprisingly, they have not stepped in.  I have feared this day for years, knowing that the government is intent on pursuing the final steps in long-term their genocidal strategy. I’m endeavoring to reach the people I’ve worked with.  Will update as soon as I have some info.

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