The value of the losses is estimated at 400 million dollars… Al Jazeera Net reveals the details of the looting of the UNAMID camp in Darfur

The looting incident against a mission in Darfur was not the first of its kind. It was preceded by other incidents on September 28, 2021, and December 2019, in which the value of the loot was estimated at $90 million.

Khartoum – The Governor of Darfur region, Minni Arko Minawi, announced the recovery of a large part of the contents that were looted from the headquarters of the joint mission of the African Union and the United Nations for Peace Operations in Darfur “UNAMID” in El Fasher (North Darfur) in the past two weeks.

An employee of the United Nations mission, in a statement to Al Jazeera Net, estimated the value of the looted at “400 million dollars”, at a time when he held the governor of North Darfur, Nimr Abdel Rahman, fully responsible for what happened to the forces that were securing and guarding the UNAMID headquarters in the city of El Fasher, and participated in protecting the headquarters The mission, units of the army, rapid support and the movements that signed the Juba Peace Agreement, reiterated its request for the exit of these forces from inside the camp and from the city of El Fasher.

The headquarters of UNAMID was looted and burned for the second time in less than a month, and the looting incidents that occurred on Friday 24 December 2021 came a few hours after the North Darfur state government announced the distribution of the remaining assets to the states.

Minawi said, in a press conference last Monday, that “the looting and sabotage of the headquarters of UNAMID and the World Food Program in El Fasher alarmed the whole world because of its large size, and said that” the government worked with great cooperation that resulted in the formation of investigation committees that include representatives of the security and military services, armed struggle forces and the judiciary, These committees have made great strides and have managed to recover part of the looted items, and they are still continuing their work.”

Mona Arko Minawi: The investigation committees have made great strides and have been able to recover part of the loot (Reuters)

400 million dollars in losses

In order to find out the size of the looted from the UNAMID camp located in the Al-Dara neighborhood in El Fasher, the historical capital of the Darfur region, Al Jazeera Net spoke exclusively to one of the UNAMID staff working in the transfer and liquidation of the mission’s property in Sudan.

The employee, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to declare, said that “the amount of movable property that was looted and that was supposed to be delivered to the five Darfur states is estimated at more than $400 million, according to initial estimates, and it is about 200 vehicles that include cars, buses, water tanks and other types of cars, as well as 50 containers containing movable generators, furniture and other things.

He added that these units were supposed to be handed over to the representatives of the five Darfur states, according to a division established by a Sudanese committee, “as UNAMID has distanced itself from the form of distribution, and we are not aware of any procedures by the mission, and we have not returned to the camp again, but as far as we know that all the cars and containers were looted.” completely.”

He pointed out that the United Nations, according to its rules, upon the liquidation of its missions, transfers some valuable assets to the Italian city of Brindisi, which houses the United Nations warehouses, and transfers some of them to the United Nations missions deployed in the world, and some of them are transferred to the United Nations agencies in the concerned country, and the rest It is given in the form of gifts.

He said, “We were working in the last phase of donations after the formation of the Sudanese committee, which includes employees from the mission, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, representatives of states and regular forces, and the committee listed and recorded the properties that were supposed to be distributed in the form of gifts to the states of Darfur, and after the committee completed its work, we, the mission’s employees, received an order Urgent evacuation from the mission headquarters on December 28, 2021, as the United Nations has an independent security body, and it recommended the evacuation of the camp according to its own assessments, and we complied with the decision and left, and the thefts and looting occurred after that.

UNAMID peacekeepers patrol as Ambassadors of European Union to Sudan visits women development program centre in North DarfurUNAMID was established by a decision of the Security Council on July 31, 2007, before its official termination on December 31, 2020 (Reuters)

Incident details

The Wali of North Darfur, Nimr Abdel Rahman Nimer, explains in an audio recording sent to Al Jazeera Net the details of what happened, saying, “There was a distribution of shares to the states and the Darfur Regional Government from the properties that the UNAMID decided to donate to the state governments, and the delegates began receiving and at ten in the evening the looting began. The vehicles, especially the small ones, and all our attempts to control the situation failed, and after we left the looting continued and there were sounds of live ammunition, and we made sure that there was no control over the forces in the camp.”

Nimr absolved the citizens of responsibility for the looting that took place at the mission headquarters, and blamed the forces that were guarding, and said that they “include the forces with special missions in the army, the Rapid Support, the Transitional Council forces, the Justice and Equality Movement, the Sudanese Alliance, and the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Minawi. Which he said is inside the headquarters and is directly responsible for guarding, and the citizens have nothing to do with the looting incident; there may be those who took simple things, but the direct responsibility lies with the forces in the UNAMID camp.”

loot with persistence

These accusations were backed up by human rights activist Mohamed Nekrumah, a lawyer in Darfur, who told Al Jazeera Net, “The main accused to me are the forces of the five movements present in the camp, as well as the regular forces and rapid support, because when the looting occurred, the city of El Fasher was in a state of curfew that made people not move freely, and the other evidence That the operation was intentional, as some of the looted cars were maintained from dry batteries, etc., and this can only be done by the forces in the camp.”

He pointed to other motives represented in “the security forces’ disapproval of the senior leaders of the peace-signing movements allocating the first batch of cars to those affiliated with them in these same forces, in addition to the hidden struggle for influence between the governor of Darfur, Minni Arko Minawi, and the governor of North Darfur, Nimr Abdel Rahman. Tiger”.

It is a struggle, says Tikrumah, that “its roots go back to the period of the division of the Revolutionary Front during the peace negotiations in Juba, in which Al-Hadi Idris became head of the Revolutionary Front, to which Governor Nimr Abdel Rahman belongs. before public opinion.

A part of the holdings in the camp, which was subjected to extensive looting and sabotage (Al-Jazeera)

Denials and fears

When we contacted the leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement-Transitional Council, Seif al-Din Issa, he categorically denied that their forces were among the force that participated in the looting incident, and told Al Jazeera Net, “Our forces from the Transitional Council do not have a presence in the UNAMID camp, but we are present in the arrangements camp. The security forces in (Jadeed Al-Sail)”, adding that “the main suspect in the incident is Minni Minawi’s forces, which are located inside the camp, which was chosen to be the headquarters of the regional government, next to the Rapid Support Forces, who said that they were the first to shoot in the air, and then the looting incident began.”

Issa also blamed “the regular forces in addition to the forces of the rest of the peace movements present in different sectors of the camp.” This will be done, and many of these cars were seen on the border with Chad.”

Sudanese people walk past a member of the UN-African Union mission in Darfur (UNAMID) at the Zam Zam camp for Internally Displaced People (IDP), North Darfur, on April 9, 2015. Sudan heads to the polls next week in elections widely expected to extend President Omar al-Bashir's quarter-century rule, despite his indictment for alleged war crimes, continued unrest and a faltering economy. AFP PHOTO / ASHRAF SHAZLYMembers of UNAMID forces near the Zamzam refugee camp in North Darfur (Getty Images)

For his part, an officer with the rank of colonel in the Sudanese army, who requested that his identity be withheld, told Al Jazeera Net, “We are present in the joint force charged with maintaining security in the state, but our soldiers are on a high degree of control and connectivity, and with that the investigation will include everyone, and everyone involved will be punished, but I agree with The governor, we pass in his call for the movement’s forces to leave for the assembly points outside the city, knowing that the budget for the security arrangements was not provided, which created this dire reality as the city is filled with soldiers of the peace signatories, and this makes its situation completely unstable.

Hussein Adam – one of the residents of the IDP camps around El-Fasher – goes in the same direction, saying in his speech to Al-Jazeera Net, “What is frightening is the involvement of the joint forces charged with protecting us in these looting incidents, which confirms what we were saying in the past that the UNAMID mission should remain, but the whole world abandoned us. The Security Council approved the exit of the mission, and now we fear for our lives completely in light of the presence of these undisciplined forces whose behavior predicts a very bleak future, in light of the lack of state authority and its ability to control the situation on the ground.

Not the first

The incident of theft and looting of UNAMID in Darfur was not the first of its kind. It was preceded by a similar incident on September 28, 2021, and another that took place at the mission headquarters in Nyala in December 2019. The losses were estimated, according to the investigation committee formed by the transitional government at that time, at $90 million, and before that the UNAMID presidential camp in El Geneina (west of Darfur) for looting and vandalism in May 2019, one day before the scheduled handover to the Government of Sudan.

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