Violent Deaths in Darfur: August
Based on all the incidents reported by UNAMID, UN agencies, NGOs and the authorities that interact with all of the above, the level and pattern of fatalities from lethal violence during August was similar to previous months. Armed conflict between the Sudan Government and the armed movements (principally JEM) was confined to skirmishing, while lawlessness continues to exact an ongoing toll. Fifty violent fatalities were reported from all sources during the month.
Nineteen fatalities were reported from an armed clash between JEM and the Sudan Armed Forces in North Darfur at the beginning of the month, including two government soldiers and 17 JEM fighters, the latter based on the body count after the guerrillas retreated.
There was a clash between SAF and the Central Reserve Police in Taweisha which left two dead. One soldier was killed by an SLA fighter in Thur, West Darfur.
Three civilians were killed while handling unexploded ordnance in two separate incidents.
Three civilians were killed by Arab militia in what appear to be criminally-motivated incidents.
In total, six IDPs died from violence during the month, according to reports from the IDP camp leaders, community police, Sudan police, UNAMID, and NGOs. One significant incident was the murder of a prominent sheikh and his wife in the IDP camp of Abu Shok. While the motive in this particular incident is unproven, it might reflect the ongoing intra-IDP tensions in many camps. Another was a fatal shooting incident that took place between IDPs from Otash and a soldier who was reportedly visiting relatives in the camp, who was attacked by IDPs. Three IDPs were injured and one was killed in the resulting firefight. Also, a former police officer was killed in an IDP camp at Zalingei.
The remaining fatalities from violence were due to criminal acts, including 22 reported incidents of banditry, many of them involving violence. So far in 2009, seventy vehicles have been hijacked of which only 24 have been returned by police or military action. In some cases there is circumstantial evidence for the complicity of the armed escorts in allowing carjackings to proceed.
Conspicuous by its absence from the fatality reports is tribal conflict. Thus far, the robust enforcement efforts by the South Darfur state authorities in March-April seem to have had the intended effect.