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

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Residents of South Darfur gather to attend a speech given by the Sudanese president during a visit to the village of Bilel, near the Kalma camp for displaced people, on September 22, 2017. (File/AFP)
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A demonstrator stands with a sign listing demands of the Nertiti sit-in during a protest outside the Sudanese Professionals Association in the Garden City district of Khartoum. (AFP)
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Updated 26 July 2020

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

  • The killings took place in Aboudos, some 90 kilometers south of Nyala, the capital of South Darfur province, the tribal chief said
  • The flashes of violence in Darfur have threatened to destabilize the country’s fragile political transition

KHARTOUM, CAIRO: A Sudanese paramilitary group killed at least 20 people, including children, who were visiting their farms in Sudan’s war-torn Darfur region for the first time in years, a tribal chief, Ibrahim Ahmad said on Saturday.
“Two months ago, the government organized a meeting between the original landowners and those who took their fields” during the long-running war in Darfur, 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.”
The killings took place in Aboudos, some 90 km south of Nyala, the capital of South Darfur province, the tribal chief said. Several people were also wounded in the attack, he said.
The death toll “could well increase, because some of the wounded are in a serious condition,” he added.
The assault in the troubled province came a week after government-linked armed groups stormed a protest camp in North Darfur and killed 13 people, said Mohamed Abdel-Rahman Al-Nayer, a spokesman for a rebel group known as the Sudan Liberation Movement.
Darfur has been devastated since 2003 by a conflict between ethnic minority rebels, complaining of marginalization, and forces loyal to now ousted President Omar Bashir, including the feared Janjaweed militia.


Darfur has been devastated since 2003 by a conflict between ethnic minority rebels and forces loyal to Omar Bashir, killing 300,000 people and displacing 2.5 million others, according to the UN.

The fighting killed 300,000 people and displaced 2.5 million others, according to the UN.
Bashir was deposed by the army in April last year following months of mass protests against his rule, triggered mainly by economic hardship.
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.
The flashes of violence in Darfur have threatened to destabilize the country’s fragile political transition.
Sudan’s government has vowed to end the conflicts in the country’s far-flung provinces in hopes of slashing military spending, which eats up 80 percent of the national budget.
Rebel groups from Darfur and southern Sudan have for months engaged in peace talks. As part of a wider effort to hold former officials to account, the public prosecutor has pledged to investigate alleged atrocities in Darfur.
Yet sporadic violence continues, with each new attack fueling fears that ruling authorities may not deliver on their promises.
“The militia that committed this crime is supported by the old regime,” Al-Nayer said.


Terror groups continue to recruit US citizens online

Updated 2 min 21 sec ago

Terror groups continue to recruit US citizens online

CHICAGO: Terrorist groups in Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq are successfully using online methods to recruit American citizens, according to officials from the US Justice Department and the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

In the past year, at least four US citizens have been convicted of funding terrorism or volunteering to commit terrorist acts overseas. On Aug. 11, 30-year-old Jesus Wilfredo Encarnacion was sentenced to 15 years in prison after attempting to join the Lashkar e-Tayyiba terrorist group in Pakistan.

Zachary Clark, 41, also known as “Umar Kabir,” pleaded guilty on Aug. 10 to providing material support to Daesh. He faces up to 20 years behind bars. Delowar Mohammed Hossain, 33, was arrested in July 2019 at JFK International Airport, as he attempted to travel to Afghanistan to support Taliban efforts to kill US soldiers.

Samantha Marie Elhassani, 34, traveled to Syria and Hong Kong with $30,000 to fund a terrorist attack planned by her husband and brother. She was charged in August 2018 and pleaded guilty in November last year. Encarnacion, Clark and Hossain lived in New York and Elhassani is from Indiana.

“Unfortunately, individuals continue to attempt to travel to foreign countries to support terrorist organizations,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers. “Encarnacion’s sentence reflects the seriousness with which the justice system takes these efforts.

“The National Security Division remains committed to identifying and holding accountable those who seek to join and support designated foreign terrorist organizations.”

Encarnacion planned to travel abroad to join and train with Lashkar e-Tayyiba, an organization known for targeting civilians, and carry out shootings, bombings and beheadings in its name, said Audrey Strauss, acting US attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Clark “pledged allegiance to Daesh and posted calls for attacks on the public and institutions in New York on encrypted pro-Daesh chatrooms,” Strauss said. He also “posted detailed instructions for carrying out those violent acts,” she added, distributing manuals with titles such as “Knife Attacks” and “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of your Mom” in encrypted chat rooms set up to attract Daesh recruits.

“Clark’s efforts to incite deadly violence on behalf of (Daesh) have been silenced, and he now awaits sentencing for his crimes,” Strauss said. He credited for the arrest the efforts of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes FBI agents and detectives from the New York Police Department.

William F. Sweeney Jr., the assistant director-in-charge of the FBI’s New York field office, said that Hossain’s “deadly plans” were also scuppered by task force.

“The lure of radical ideologies comes from many sources and just because the Taliban may seem like an old and out-of-vogue extremist group, it shouldn’t be underestimated,” he added.

Elhassani, a mother of two young children, became involved with Daesh when her husband and his brother decided to travel to Syria to join the group. Between November 2014 and April 2015 she made multiple trips to Hong Kong carrying more than $30,000 in cash and gold, which was deposited in a safe deposit box there.

Elhassani went to great lengths to assist her husband and brother-in-law, officials said, including melting down gold and making it look like jewelry. She was arrested in Syria by the Syrian Democratic Force and handed over to US law enforcement.