Remembering Sherif Ishaq
Sherif Idriss Izhaq, the political officer of the SLA in Ain Siro, has been murdered. The motive of his killing, shortly after the first visit to Ain Siro by members of the Mbeki Panel last month, is not yet clear, but SLA officials in Ain Siro are examining the possibility that there could be a link to his support for a renewed peace process in Darfur. He was stabbed to death in his home.
Sherif was a friend. He was a skinny, wiry little man, somewhere in his mid-30s, who hid a great heart behind a rather dour countenance that lit up like a 100-watt bulb whenever he grinned. Like Ali Haroun, already mentioned on this blog, Sherif had promised himself that he would devote seven full years to the SLA before looking for a wife, and was still single. Arrested and imprisoned in Khartoum’s Kobe jail at the start of the insurgency in 2003, he suffered torture by electricity for a year, on his head, feet, genitals and body, and was still in poor health at the time of his death, with digestive problems, kidney damage and internal bleeding that left him weak and often in pain.
The medical assistant in the Ain Siro clinic, a Habbaniya Arab and former prisoner of the SLA, had neither the knowledge nor the wherewithal to help. One of Sherif’s dearest wishes was for a doctor for Ain Siro””for himself, but, more importantly, for the community.
Despite his imprisonment and his torture, Sherif wanted a negotiated solution to the conflict in Darfur. He also wanted a wife. That he will not have one, and will not see peace in Darfur, is unbearably sad.