Killing in joint attacks by Government forces and Janjaweed
Attack on Surra, a village with a population of over 1700, east of Zalingi, South Darfur, January 2004: Witnesses interviewed in separate groups gave a very credible, detailed and consistent account of the attack, in which more than 250 persons were killed, including women and a large number of children. An additional 30 people are missing. The Janjaweed and Government forces attacked jointly in the early hours of the morning. The military fired mortars at unarmed civilians. The Janjaweed were wearing camouflage military uniform and were shooting with rifles and machine guns.
They entered the homes and killed the men. They gathered the women in the mosque. There were around ten men hidden with the women. They found those men and killed them inside the mosque. They forced women to take off their maxi (large piece of clothing covering the entire body) and if they found that they were holding their young sons under them, they would kill the boys. The survivors fled the village and did not bury their dead.
The Commission has established facts through its own investigations that confirm torture, cruel and degrading treatment, and inhumane acts committed as a part of the systematic and widespread attacks directed at the civilian population conducted by the Janjaweed and Government forces. Although Government forces did not generally participate directly in the commission of such acts, the Janjaweed committed the acts mostly in their presence, under their protection, and with their acquiescence.
Inhumane acts such as throwing people, including children, into fire were committed by the Janjaweed during several attacks. Five such incidents were reported from Urbatete, Tarabeba, Tanako, Mangarsa, and Kanjew villages in West Darfur. In most of these incidents victims were burnt to death. Extreme mental torture was inflicted on many mothers who saw their children burn alive after they were snatched from their arms by the Janjaweed and thrown into the fire. Houses were set on fire with the inhabitants still inside. Most of the victims in such incidents were children. Inhumane forms of killings used by the Janjaweed include crucifixion of victims during the attack on the village of Hashab in North Darfur in January 2004. In one case reported from Deleba in West Darfur, the victim was beaten to death.
The persons under attack, predominantly from African tribes, were commonly subjected to beatings and whipping by the Janjaweed. These included women and young girls. In many incidents victims were subjected to severe beatings as a form of torture. The Commission has seen several victims who still bear scars of these beatings, and some who suffered permanent physical damage as a result. Stripping women of their clothes and the use of derogatory language as a means of humiliation and mental torture were also common to many incidents.
Particularly shocking were the acts of torture and cruel and degrading treatment that accompanied other serious crimes committed by Government forces and the Janjaweed against the civilian population during the Kailek incident in South Darfur. During the attack as well as the subsequent forced confinement of the population, several persons were subjected to severe torture in order to extract information about rebels, as punishment or to terrorize the people.
The Commission has heard credible accounts that those captured by the assailants were dragged along the ground by horses and camels from a noose placed around their necks. Witnesses described how a young man's eyes were gouged out. Once blinded, he was forced to run and then shot dead. The victim population was watched over by guards who used the whips they carried to control and humiliate them. Several witnesses have testified that abusive and insulting terms were used against the detainees, often calling them "slaves." Their suffering was compounded by the scarcity of food and water, and the unhygienic conditions in which they were confined in the small, controlled spaces, within which they were forced to relieve themselves, because of restrictions on their movements. Several hundred children are reported to have died during the internment from an outbreak of disease.
The findings of the Commission confirm that rape and sexual abuse were perpetrated during attacks by Janjaweed and soldiers.
The Commission spoke with several victims and eyewitnesses, and conducted on-site examinations, which confirmed that many girls were raped by Janjaweed during the attack on Tawila boarding school. The Commission also found that women were gang-raped in public following the joint attack by Government soldiers and Janjaweed on Kanjew village, West Darfur, in January 2004. In another case, the Commission found that the Janjaweed raped five girls in public during the attack on Abdeika, West Darfur, in October 2003.