Clashes kill 3 civilians in Sudan’s Darfur, say doctors

Sudanese villagers walk in the war-torn town of Golo in central Darfur. (AFP/File)
Updated 12 August 2019

Clashes kill 3 civilians in Sudan’s Darfur, say doctors

  • The violence over grazing land, which was one of the root causes of a deadly war that erupted in 2003, had been relatively rare in Darfur recently

KHARTOUM: Clashes that erupted over pasture between farmers and herders in Sudan's western region of Darfur left three civilians dead on Sunday, a doctors committee linked to the country's protest movement said.
"Three citizens were killed this morning in Shengel Tobay, in North Darfur state, and another was wounded," the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors said in a statement.
Such deadly violence over grazing land, which was one of the root causes of a deadly war that erupted in 2003, had been relatively rare in Darfur recently.
The latest incident marred the first day of the Eid al-Adha Muslim feast and it was Sudan's first since months of protests brought down longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir and created an opportunity for civilian rule.
The deadly conflict that broke out more than 15 years ago in Sudan saw ethnic African rebels take up arms against Bashir's regime, which they accused of marginalising the remote region.
Khartoum armed Arab pastoralists to quash the rebellion, leading to massacres against the population that earned Bashir and others international warrants on charges of genocide.
While the fighting has subsided in Darfur, tensions over pasture remain and those responsible for the war's darkest hours have not been brought to justice.
"The former regime fuelled the conflict and contributed to deepening the crisis by not helping to provide sustainable solutions, and not holding perpetrators accountable," the doctors committee said.
Bashir was ousted in April after 30 years in power and a temporary power-sharing agreement was reached a week ago by the country's generals and protest leaders.
The document that will serve as Sudan's de facto interim constitution, however, does not mention the fate of Bashir and others wanted by the International Criminal Court over massacres in Darfur.
A key figure in Sudan's transitional authority and widely tipped as the country's new strongman was once a top leader of an Arab militia known as the Janjaweed and responsible for some of the Darfur conflict's worst atrocities.


UN warns of severe aid cuts in Yemen without new funds soon

Updated 22 August 2019

UN warns of severe aid cuts in Yemen without new funds soon

  • Donors have pledged $2.6 billion to meet the urgent needs of more than 20 million Yemenis
  • But UN humanitarian chief Lise Grande says less than half the amount has been received so far
UNITED NATIONS: The UN humanitarian chief in Yemen warned Wednesday that unless significant new funding is received in the coming weeks, food rations for 12 million people in the war-torn country will be reduced and at least 2.5 million malnourished children will be cut off from life-saving services.
Lise Grande said the UN was forced to suspend most vaccination campaigns in May, and without new money a “staggering” 22 life-saving programs in Yemen will close in the next two months.
At a UN pledging conference in February, donors pledged $2.6 billion to meet the urgent needs of more than 20 million Yemenis, but Grande said that to date, less than half the amount has been received.
“When money doesn’t come, people die,” she said in a statement Wednesday.
The conflict in Yemen began with the 2014 takeover of the capital, Sanaa, by Iran-backed Houthi Shiite rebels who control much of the country’s north. A Saudi-led coalition that includes the United Arab Emirates allied with Yemen’s internationally recognized government has been fighting the Houthis since 2015.
The fighting in the Arab world’s poorest country has left thousands of civilians and created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, leaving millions suffering from food and medical care shortages and pushing the country to the brink of famine.
UN deputy humanitarian chief Ursula Mueller told the Security Council on Tuesday that 12 million Yemenis have been assisted every month, “but much of this is about to stop” because only 34% of the UN’s $4.2 billion appeal for 2019 has been funded.
At this time last year, she said, 65% of the appeal was funded, including generous contributions from Yemen’s neighbors Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The UN humanitarian office in New York said Wednesday that Saudi Arabia and the UAE each pledged $750 million to its Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan for 2019.
Grande said the UN is grateful to donors who have lived up to their promises, and in half the districts where people were facing famine “conditions have improved to the point where families are no longer at risk of starvation.”
But she said of the 34 major UN humanitarian programs in Yemen, only three are funded for the entire year. Several have been forced to close in recent weeks, Grande said, and many large-scale projects designed to help destitute, hungry families have been unable to start.
Without new funds in the coming weeks, she said, 19 million people will also lose access to health care, including 1 million women who depend on the UN for reproductive health services. In addition, Grande said, clean water programs for 5 million people will have to shut down at the end of October and tens of thousands of displaced families may find themselves homeless.
“Millions of people in Yemen, who through no fault of their own are the victims of this conflict, depend on us to survive,” she said. “All of us are ashamed by the situation. It’s heart-breaking to look a family in the eye and say we have no money to help.”