Gunmen kill at least 20 farmers in Sudan’s Darfur: tribal chief

Niwandinda Daniel
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“Armed men came on Friday and opened fire, killing 20 people, including two women and children.”

Gunmen killed at least 20 people, including children, who were visiting their farms in Sudan’s wartorn Darfur region for the first time in years, a tribal chief said Saturday.

“Two months ago the government organised a meeting between the original landowners and those who took their fields” during the long-running war in Darfur, Ibrahim Ahmad told AFP by telephone.

“An agreement was reached whereby the landowners would return to their fields — but armed men came on Friday and opened fire, killing 20 people, including two women and children.”

Darfur has been plagued by a bitter conflict that broke out in 2003 between ethnic minority rebels, complaining of marginalisation, and forces loyal to now ousted president Omar al-Bashir, including the feared Janjaweed militia, mainly recruited among Arab pastoralist tribes. 

The fighting killed 300,000 people and displaced 2.5 million others, according to the United Nations. 

Bashir was deposed by the army in April last year following months of mass protests against his rule, triggered mainly by economic hardship.

He is wanted by The Hague-based International Criminal Court over charges of genocide and crimes against humanity in Darfur. 

A power sharing transitional government between civilians and the military was sworn in during September last year. 

In January this year, a coalition of nine rebel groups — including factions from Darfur — signed a preliminary agreement with the government after weeks of talks.

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