Armed group attacks village in Sudan’s Darfur: tribal chief

A week ago, 500 armed men attacked the district of Masteri, killing over 60 people, the majority from the Masalit community, according to the UN. (File/AFP)
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Updated 01 August 2020

Armed group attacks village in Sudan’s Darfur: tribal chief

  • Three days earlier the group’s leader had come to the village with armed men to demand that residents leave
  • Sudan’s Darfur provinces — which cover an area similar to that of France, much of it desert — have been plagued by years of violence

KHARTOUM: Armed men attacked a village in Sudan’s South Darfur province causing an unknown number of casualties, a tribal chief said Saturday, in the latest violence to strike the remote region.
“Armed men on Friday attacked the village of Oringa, south of Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state,” Yaakoub Mohammad told AFP.
“They set fire to and looted homes and fired upon residents, but we don’t know the exact number of casualties,” he said.
He added that three days earlier the group’s leader had come to the village with armed men to demand that residents leave.
The villagers in turn called the police who arrested the group leader and imprisoned him in Kass district, where he remains in custody.
Sudan’s Darfur provinces — which cover an area similar to that of France, much of it desert — have been plagued by years of violence.
The regime of Omar Al-Bashir, who was toppled in April last year, carried out counter-insurgency operations there from 2003 that resulted in the ex-president being indicted for genocide by the International Criminal Court.
Alongside the devastating civil conflict in Darfur, which dragged on for years, there has long been localized clashes over land and access to water, mainly pitting nomadic Arab pastoralists against crop-growing farmers from long marginalized ethnic groups.
A week ago, 500 armed men attacked the district of Masteri, killing over 60 people, the majority from the Masalit community, according to the UN. Eighty-eight were wounded.
That attack triggered panic among residents of Masteri and nearby villages.
Around 2,000 families, comprising around 10,000 people, fled toward El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur state, around 50 kilometers from Masteri.
Some 200 more families, comprising a further 1,000 people, crossed the border to Chad.
Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok announced on July 26 that security forces would be deployed to Darfur to protect “citizens and the agricultural season.”
There has as yet been no subsequent indication that any deployment has gone ahead.


Beirut port blast crater 43 meters deep: security official

Updated 7 min 5 sec ago

Beirut port blast crater 43 meters deep: security official

  • Crater is much larger than the one left by the enormous blast in 2005 that killed former prime minister Rafic Hariri

BEIRUT: The huge chemical explosion that hit Beirut’s port, devastating large parts of the Lebanese capital and claiming over 150 lives, left a 43-meter (141 foot) deep crater, a security official said Sunday.
The blast Tuesday, which was felt across the county and as far as the island of Cyprus, was recorded by the sensors of the American Institute of Geophysics (USGS) as having the power of a magnitude 3.3 earthquake.
It was triggered by a fire in a port warehouse, where a huge shipment of hazardous ammonium nitrate, a chemical that can be used as a fertilizer or as an explosive, had languished for years, according to authorities.
The huge blast also wounded at least 6,000 people and displaced more than 300,000 from their destroyed or damaged homes.
The revelation that the chemicals had languished for years like a ticking time-bomb in the heart of the capital has served as shocking proof to many Lebanese of the rot at the core of the state apparatus.
Demonstrators on Sunday called for renewed anti-government rallies after a night of angry protests saw them storm several ministries before they were expelled by the army.
It was a new tactic for a protest movement that emerged last October to demand the removal of a political class long accused of being inept and corrupt.
“The explosion in the port left a crater 43 meters deep,” the Lebanese security official said, citing assessments by French experts working in the disaster area.
The crater is much larger than the one left by the enormous blast in 2005 that killed former prime minister Rafic Hariri, which measured 10 meters across and two meters deep, according to an international tribunal investigating his murder.
French rescue and police teams are among a much larger group of international emergency response specialists that has flooded into Lebanon to ease pressure on local authorities unable to cope with the disaster relief on their own.
Qatari, Russian and German rescuers are also working at the port blast site.