Developments in Jebel Mara (Central Darfur) Since 24 Dec12 Central Jebel Mara is a mountainous area in the Central Darfur

, which has since the beginning of the Darfur Conflict been the stronghold of the SLA/AW Movement based on Furs fighters who are main population in the locality. It has always been SAF’s major objective to dislodge the SLA/AW from the locality or curtail its activities and influence in the area. For this purpose SAF had deployed forces and established camps in strategic towns like Nertiti, Golo, Rockero, and Guldo, while conducting airstrikes on the movement’s positions with huge humanitarian impact on the population growing the IDP camps in Nertiti and Zalengei. Despite, these the movement has been dodged and resilient and had often bypass SAF’s position to infiltrate, attack, ambush and inflict casualties on SAF forces. Since November 2012, SLA/AW had been involved in fighting along with the SRF, in the Eastern Jebel Mara (North Darfur) against SAF and Allies. SAF in this period suffered several loses in personnel, weapon and equipment. In what seemed like a move to reverse its waning fortunes and pep up its forces morale, on 15 Dec 12, SAF was reported to have assembled troops in Khorm Ramla (5Km S.W. of Nertiti) with aim to attack SLA/AW positions in Central Jebel Mara. SAF’s plan was still on, when on 24 Dec 12, SLA/AW in a sudden, pre-emptive and fierce move attacked and captured SAF’s camp at Golo and in a follow -up move attacked Guldo on 28 Dec, but was repelled. SAF has conducted two attempts on 31 Dec 12 and 7 Jan 13 to recapture Golo without success. The hard fights supported by airstrikes have recorded more than 20 fatalities, 21 injured and 21 vehicles seized on the SAF side , unknown number on the SLA/AW side and 12 civilians killed and more 4,000 IDPs in Nertiti and Zalengei. Others sources say that more than 80,000 people need humanitarian assistance due to the quoted clashes. Comment. The last quarter of 2012 saw GoS forces losing out in almost all the land encounters they had with the SRF and this is weighing heavily of the moral of its troops. This has made GoS forces to almost fully recourse to the use of its air power. The resulting air raids have however, resulted in widespread collateral damages and large scale displacement of the civil populace in the Jebel Marra area, probably due to nature of weapons being used, most of which lack precision. On the other hand, these air raids could not be said to be effective against SLA/W as its troops are mostly hold-up in the mountainous areas, which globally has proved to be fortress even against the best of forces (Afghanistan referred). There is thus the need for pressure to be exerted on GoS to reduce these indiscriminate air raids. Moreso, that the outplaying event (especially, the pre-emptive strike against Golo) had shown that the SLA/W has a more formidable intelligence capacity in the theatre. The GoS seems to have bowed to the strategy of the SRF which basically is to make GoS dissipate energy by fighting on many fronts; stretching it out and denying it the ability to concentrate its forces, then taking it in piecemeal.

Tribal Clash between Rizeigat and Beni Hussein in Jebel Amer, Al Serief Locality, North Darfur
Background and analysis of the situation in Jebel Amer:
 On 06 January 2013, fatal incidents of tribal clashes occurred between the Beni Hussein and Abbala (Northern Rizeigat) tribes in Jabel Amir Area over the control of gold mines. The mines in 1

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centre on this crisis are traditional gold mines and in the past, people from different areas of Sudan and countries like Ethiopia, Eritrea, Chad etc go to Jabel Amir for gold mining related businesses. It should be noted that the Beni Hussein tribe has been controlling these mines for ages and granting exploration authority. During the initial clash, 08 people were reported killed and 15 injured from Beni Hussein tribe, as against 30 killed and about 50 injured from the Abbala. Unidentified number of local people that were not part of the clash also lost their lives and their property looted or destroyed. Some injured people were transferred to El Fasher, while others received treatment at UNAMID Mongolian level 2 Hospital. The exact number of victims is yet to be confirmed as figures received till now are conflicting. As result of the conflict, a large number of people fled from Jabel Amer area to Kabkabiya. Though, GoS sent troops composed of Military and Police to the area on 07 January 2013, the situation remains tense. The Northern Rizeigat (Abbala) called supporters for help, and started to attack with heavy machine guns and rocket propelled grenades (RPG). Huge number of armed people in more than 200 military vehicles (Border Guards, SAF) came to Jabel Amir Area and started to attack against Beni Hussein tribes. During the attack, they shot at people randomly, burnt houses, and looted private properties of the villagers, due to which a large number people have been displaced to El Serief, Kabkabiya and Saraf Omra. Majority of the displaced persons are from Beni Hussein tribe, even though some displaced persons are from Darok and Fur tribes. Around 30 thousand IDPs were said to have arrived El Serief Locality. On 10 January 2013, the clashes spilled over to Saraf Umra, Jebel Amer, Martambou and surrounding villages of El Shreif, resulting in further killings and displacement of civilians. UNAMID sources reported that 100 more civilians were killed as a result but final figure of causalities is expected to rise since hostilities were still ongoing. According to native administrators in El Serief Locality, 60 villages including Hijeliza, Umdersay, Umjeletaya, Alkubaya, Umjarwa, Eddatin, Krekil, Daresalam, Martambou etc were burnt. On 08 January 2013, A UNAMID team interacted with the El Serief Locality Commissioner and the Humanitarian Aid Commission. According to local authorities, 6000 displaced persons have arrived in Kabkabiya town. The team visited two sites set up by authorities to accommodate IDPs and observed that the humanitarian situation as very critical. The host community has made some contributions especially in providing food to the IDPs. Local organization such as KSC (Kabkabiya Small Charity), WES (Water, Environment and Sanitation) and Sudanese Red Crescent are also mobilized. These NGOs have provided few supports to IDPs such as water, sanitation and shelter. Nevertheless, this aid is very limited and not sustainable in comparison with the existing need. On 09 January 2013, the Team visited the stakeholders and received information from the Locality Commissioner that the number of displaced persons has increased up to 9000. The HAC reported cases of diseases amongst the IDPs and requested immediate assistance and support from the UN.

Profile of the involved tribes:
 The ‘Abbala’ refers to nomadic ‘camel herding’ groups of which the Northern Rizeigat tribe that constitute the largest and most dominant tribe in Sudan. The Abbalas have generally aligned themselves with the GoS during the earlier years of the Darfur Conflict, in which members of the group such as the Mahameed became known as the ‘Janjaweed’, and they were later absorbed 2

into the Border Guards (BG) and Central Reserve Police (CRP) by GoS. Notable influential figures in GoS, including Lt. Gen. Adam Hamid Mousa, former Wali of South Darfur and current Head of the Council of States and Hasabo Mohamed Abdul Rahman, Minister at the Federal Governance Council and NCP’s Secretary of Political Affairs are from the Abbala stock. In contrast, the Beni Hussein who represents the major tribal group in Saraf Umra and El Serief localities, have not been involved in the conflict and they maintained good relations with both the GoS and the armed movements without affecting their neutrality. Both tribes are of Arab lineage and had no previous history of clashes.

Profiles of IDPs Arrived in Kabkabiya:
 According to the information gathered from different sources including IDPs, the persons currently displaced in Kabkabiya are mainly men. They were all working in Goldmines in Jabel Amir, their origins spread across almost all Darfur regions and Khartoum. Among the displaced, also were people from neighboring countries such as Chad and Nigeria. On 09 January 2013, reports have it that women and children fled from Gharazawiya, Girgo, and Albassara (under Kabkabiya jurisdiction) and arrived in Kabkabiya town.

GoS Response to the Crisis:
GoS has responded by closing the mining sites in Jebel Amer and deployed large number of troops from SAF and CRP to the area. The Wali of North Darfur has also met with leaders of both tribes and requested their assistance in restoration of order. Local authorities in Kabkabiya have mobilized all available human resources to address the situation. They Kabkabiya Stadium was prepared to accommodate IDPs. The Locality Commissioner requested UNAMID to assist, while GoS would like IDPs to be transported to their various places of origin as soon as possible as it was worried about impact of the influx on the host community. They have requested means of transportation from UNAMID. On 09 January 2013, a delegation led by North Darfur Wali arrived in Kabkabiya to address the situation.

Comments and Analysis:
The underlying factor for the hostility is undoubtedly economic, which also appeared to have been caused by tribal competition over rights to gold sites. The high population density in this area coupled with the increasingly tough economic times could be threatening to make goldrelated killings a major security concern. The tense security situation in Jebel Amir is likely to escalate and result in further tribal clashes between Beni Hussein and Abbala tribes. However, GoS is likely to increase its military presence in the area in order to halt the tribal clashes. More gold-related killings are projected in the general areas of El Serief, Jebel Amer, and Saraf Umra. However, thinking outside the box – 2 scenarios could emerge as to the reasons for this development:


1. Political-instigation. Considering: a. b. c. d. e. f. That the mines and goldmining have been in existence for ages. Beni Hussein tribe has been the traditional authority. No history of contest over control of the mines. No history (at least in recent times) of clashes between the 2 tribes. The use to which the GoS had made of the Abbala. Beni Hussein has not been involved in Darfur conflict and has maintained good relations with both the GoS and the armed movements without affecting its neutrality.

The hunch here is that the crisis could have been GoS -instigated with the ultimate calculation that a contest over the control of the goldmines could facilitate GoS taking over control of these mines to shore up its dwindling fortunes, while denying armed movements that source of income. Should this be the case; It could shore up GoS resources and its ability to extend largesse to its allies in the short term but the future consequences could be graver for the GoS. It could result in massive loss of confidence in GoS by Darfurians leading to wider rebellion and greater insecurity in the region.

2. Dissensions against GoS/economic desperation by the Abbala tribe- considering: a. Of recent, certain occurrences especially confrontations between Abbala tribal elements with GoS forces have revealed the loyalty of the tribe to GoS as basically economicmotivation. b. Perception of being used and dumped by tribal elements that were not absorbed into BGs and CRP. c. The growing restiveness of the group since the Kutum and Hashaba incidents. d. Perception of marginalization in the sharing of GoS largesse, after being absorbed as BGs and CRP, which is becoming more apparent with the current economic downturn that has reduced GoS’ capacity to effectively dispense its responsibility to its forces. e. All these coupled with the general economic hardship in the country. The hunch here is that aside the economic gains that could accrue to the Abbala tribe if it takes over the control of the goldmines, the tribe might want to demonstrate to GoS that it has great capacity for nuisance.