Sunday, May 02, 2010

Inside a Darfur refugee camp

By Hiroyuki Saito

KASS, Sudan — Hundreds of Darfuris fled violence in their home villages to seek shelter in Hass, a camp for displaced people. But they found little peace.

In February, gunmen riding horses and camels invaded, raiding the thatched huts and seizing people without explanation, according to the displaced residents. The invaders beat people, tied them up and pushed them in the gutters while making their way through the camps.

Eighteen residents of the camp were taken captive, including Sheik Sidig, the chief of the attacked camps. The prisoners were ordered to pay “diya,” also known as blood money, for a Sudanese police officer who was killed at the camp two days earlier.

According to the locals, blood money often plays a significant role as a form of compensation to solve intertribal issues, particularly murder cases like this.

“When I got out of my place, I found the streets filled with gunmen. I ran into a man, who said to me, ‘Your people killed someone and we want you to pay the blood money,’” said Sheik Sidig. Read full story >>>>>>>>>>

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