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.
The Commission interviewed another victim who provided information about multiple rapes of women during an attack on Terga, West Darfur. This was how she described the attack and what followed:
The village of Terga was attacked in January 2003. A plane bombed the village and then about 40 cars and men on horses arrived. They covered the entire area around Terga. The attackers in the cars and on the horses were shooting the villagers. They were stealing from the houses. Four young boys were executed in front of the villagers. The attack was conducted mainly by the military. The Arab people did the stealing. Soldiers also committed rapes together with the Janjaweed.
When the attack occurred, the women ran to a wadi, where the army surrounded them. The victim stated that she knew 19 of the women who were raped but that there were many more. She believed there were around 50 in total. The young girls were raped first. The victim was raped by nine men. Other women were also raped by many men. The women were kept for six days at the wadi.
Abductions and sexual slavery
Kailek, South Darfur: The Commission interviewed several eyewitnesses who confirmed that following the joint attacks by Government soldiers and Janjaweed in the area, up to 30,000 people were confined in Kailek, South Darfur, for about 50 days. Women and children were separated from the men, confined in an area around the Mosque, and later taken away by their captors to be raped. They were subjected to gang rapes which lasted for protracted periods of time. Girls as young as 10 years old were raped.
One of the female witnesses described the terror of confinement in the area designated by captors for women and children in Kailek as follows: "We stayed in one place, we were not allowed to move around. The old women were allowed to go and get water, and also to go and get food. We were forced to urinate in front of everybody. We were afraid to use the toilet at night because we were surrounded by the attackers, and they were on the look-out for women to rape."
After being raped, some of the women did not have their clothes returned to them and they were forced to remain naked. An independent source, who witnessed the situation in Kailek told the Commission: "There were more than 80 cases of rape reported to us by the women and children kept in the walled area. We also found four women with no clothes. They covered themselves with a grass mat and were imploring us not to remove it. They said that if they needed water or food, one of them had to borrow clothes from the other women to go and fetch water or food."
Anyone who attempted to assist the victims was either beaten or killed. On one occasion, a husband attempted to assist his wife. He was so severely beaten that he is now permanently paralysed and is in Khartoum hospital. These testimonies are fully corroborated by the entire body of material collected by the Commission, including information obtained through independent observers who witnessed the situation of the women in Kailek.
The Commission received credible information from witnesses in relation to three separate attacks on civilians in villages in the Shoba area, Kabkabya, North Darfur:
On 2 April 2001, a market day, Arab militia reportedly attacked Shoba West and Shoba Karika with the intention of looting animals. However, 15 people were killed and nine were wounded as a result of the attack. Approximately 55 Arab militia wearing camouflage green uniforms and armed with AK47s, G3s, and RPGs attacked the villages on horses and camels. The leader of the attack and the identity of several other attackers were known to the victims and were reported to the police station nearby. The police investigated the incident and arrested four suspected perpetrators, who were still in the village at the time. According to witnesses, no rebels were present in the village either at the time of the attack or at any other time.
Approximately 100 Arab militia attacked Shoba West and Shoba Karika from the north in a second incident on 28 April 2002. The perpetrators of the second attack matched the profile of those responsible for the first attack, and were led this time by two senior leaders of the Arab militia. 24 people were killed during the attack and another 23 were injured. 338 houses were burned, and the north and east of the village were completely destroyed. Property belonging to villagers, including all livestock, food, and medicine, was looted.
According to witnesses, the attack took place from 04:15 AM until about 09:30 AM, when Government forces arrived. Villagers identified the perpetrators, who were about 500 meters from the village with the looted goods. However, the Government soldiers reportedly refused to pursue them and one officer told a witness that he was under instructions not to pursue the attackers. Government armed forces later confiscated the villagers' weapons.
A third attack took place on 25 July 2003, this time on Shoba East and Shoba West. According to reports, the attack was led by the two senior Janjaweed leaders and involved approximately 400 Janjaweed and Government armed forces using camels, horses and Land Cruisers armed with 12.7mm machine guns. The villages were totally destroyed during the attack. 42 people were killed, 10 were injured and every item of moveable property in the villages was looted.