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Interrupted: Operation lifeline South Darfur-South Sudan

Hou Akot Hou
Rezigat traders, who have been smuggling goods into South Sudan from south Darfur, were recently attacked at Rumaker village, killing one of the traders and injuring two others.
15.05.2012  |  Aweil
أفراد من قبيلة الرزيقات في روماكر يطلعون على تفاصيل الهجوم من مُحافظ مقاطعة شرق أويل (2012\\05\\09).
أفراد من قبيلة الرزيقات في روماكر يطلعون على تفاصيل الهجوم من مُحافظ مقاطعة شرق أويل (2012\\05\\09).

Last Tuesday, May 8, armed men attacked Rezigat traders on their way back to south Darfur, after visiting Rumaker village to carry out their usual trade.

Mahmoud Abdullah, one of the traders from Darfur, explains that the attack occurred when three young men from their group were on their way back to Sudan. Three armed men opened fire on the traders, killing one and injuring two others.

We are so terrified by the sudden attack.”
Mahmoud Abdullah
Abdullah says the traders are so terrified by the sudden attack” and affirms that an investigation was launched in order to apprehend the culprits.

We are still following up this issue, so that we see who killed these people, and after the investigations are done, we shall go back to inform the parents of the deceased,” Abdullah states.

Abdullah shares the fear of the traders who have no security on their trade routes. He explains that continuing the trade is conditional on increased security.

Read also: Operation lifeline South Darfur-
South Sudan
We shall continue trading with the community of Rumaker, there is no problem. If the Rumkaer administration provides us with protection, we shall continue,” says Abdullah.

Local residents of Rumaker village are as well terrified by the recent attack on the Rezigat traders and fear reprisals might follow.

Many among the residents condemn the attack because it is spoiling the bartering opportunities between the traders and the locals allowing the local community to have access to basic food commodities.

An Architecture, Engineering, Consulting, Operations and Maintenance (AECOM) project, funded by USAID, works to support and strengthen peace amongst local communities and different ethnic groups through peace committees.

Deng Luol, the head of the Dinka Malual peace committee (09.05.2012/Hou Akot Hou).Deng Luol, the head of the Dinka Malual peace committee, says that their main aim is to find the suspects by cooperating with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) commanders stationed in the area.

The injured traders who escaped speculated that the attackers could be SPLA soldiers.

We shall ask the SPLA (commander) stationed here in Rumaker”, how and why his soldiers attacked the traders . The attackers just shot, but they did not take anything,” Deng explains.

The Commissioner of Aweil East County, Awet Kiir Awet, held a brief meeting with the traders. Speaking to nearly fifty members of the Rezigat community at Rumaker on Wednesday, he acknowledged the severity of the crisis and assured the audience that no efforts are spared to find the attackers.

The Commissioner of Aweil East County, Awet Kiir Awet (centre), listens to the fears and complaints of the Rezigat traders (09.05.2012/Hou Akot Hou).We are your neighbours, we live together with you, we eat together with you and we solve our problems together with you. The issue of the killings has reached the government. It is in the government’s hands now to find these people. We shall make investigations to find these men and they shall be taken to court and legal procedures will be taken in front of you,” Commissioner Awet says.

The state government urges the citizens to live in peace with the Rezigat and the Misseriya. They warn that anyone found guilty of any misconduct, such as stealing Rezigat or Misseriya cattle, will face dire legal consequences.  

After South Sudan declared its independence in July last year, trade between Sudan and South Sudan grew increasingly difficult, and many trade routes were cut off.

The Rezigat traders fill the critical trade gap resulting from the ongoing Sudan-South Sudan border clashes, especially when emergency supplies are yet to be delivered to the region.