Border guards expelled from Kutum after clashes with Abu Taira “CRF” troops
SAF (Sudanese Armed Forces) expelled border guards from inside the city of Kutum last Saturday after fierce and vicious fighting broke out between the border guards and CRF (Central Reservation Forces) troops. Several eye witnesses told Radio Dabanga that the fighting broke out between the border guards and Abu Taira troops at 4 pm on Saturday.
The fighting erupted after Kutum's garrison commander requested the border guards and Abu Taira troops to stop the looting of shops and houses next to the market. One of the witnesses revealed that the clashes, in which all kinds of weapons were used, left a number of people dead and injured. Among the victims two SAF soldier and six border guards.
The witnesses indicated that the clashes between the two parties continued intermittently until 2 am on Sunday morning. They added that from Sunday morning the city of Kutum has been completely free of both border guards and Abu Taira troops.
Abu Taira troops (CRF) have allegedly retreated towards the area's of Gubbah, Damrat el-Sheikh and Mestry. The witnesses added that the area is now under control of SAF and the police.
The witnesses told Radio Dabanga that the inhabitants of areas next to Kutum's market, in particular in the neighbourhood of el-Gasr Gharb “West Palace”, Kumbout and Karoui, fled towards el-Khairan and the neighbouring valleys in the direction of Jabal Mari and Jabal Cee, during the fighting. They are now starting to return to their homes. Kutum's inhabitants are starting to leave their houses again to check on their relatives. At the same time, schools, government facilities and shops remain closed for the fifth day in a row.
According to several witnesses, government officials called upon the inhabitants through the mosques to gather in the NCP office in the area of el-Salama to register their names for weapons distribution. The purpose of the distribution of weapons is for the inhabitants to protect themselves from the Abu Taira troops and border guards. The looting and plundering reportedly started after Osman Kiber, governor of North Darfur, and Major General Abdullah Safi el-Nour visited the city of Kutum last Friday. Kiber and el-Nour declared to form two committees. One committee to protect the market of Kutum with the help of joined forces made up of border guards, Abu Taira troops. And the other committee to investigate the murder of local commissioner of el-Waha, Abdul Rahman Mohamed Issa, who was killed last Wednesday inside the city of Kutum.
A number of Kassab IDP's (Internally Displaced Persons) who fled the camp last Friday after the attacks of pro-government militias, complained they are still sleeping in the open air in the outskirts of Kutum's neighbourhoods. While others remain stranded in neighbouring valleys, the countryside and on mountain tops, under very bad circumstances. They are forced to live in the rain without any shelter, medicine, clothing or food.
The refugees said that until now no government or foreign aid has been provided. They pointed out that UNAMID troops visited the refugees in the neighbourhood of el-Gasr in the city of Kutum on Saturday. Reportedly they only took pictures of the refugees without providing any help.
Fatta Borno camp not spared from pro-government militia attacks
On another note, refugees from Fatta Borno camp claim that pro-government militias stormed the homes of the remaining IDP's in the areas of Misri, Amrallah and Nando by night, looting properties and assaulting people.
Some of the IDP's who fled the camp towards the city of Kutum were also subjected to looting and plundering by pro-government gunmen, near to the area of Mourgy on the road between Fattabarno and Kutum. The gunmen stripped the IDP's from all their belongings and their cattle after beating them severely.