An aid worker was murdered yesterday as simmering ethnic tensions in Darfur's refugee camps erupted into violence. The 45-year-old man, employed by the Care agency, was stabbed to death and three colleagues critically injured after they were accused of being members of the Janjaweed Arab militia and attacked by a mob.
Police and security forces later sealed off a camp at Kalma and around a dozen more people were wounded in the ensuing clashes when attempts were made to carry out arrests.
The man killed, Medibor Abdurrahman Mohammed, was a member of the Terjem tribe living at the Mossei refugee camp used exclusively for Arabs. The men who carried out the attacks at Kalma, where the inhabitants are overwhelmingly African, claim that he and the others with him had personally carried out murders and rapes.
The Independent disclosed yesterday how the camp at Mossei has become a focal point for African resentment with claims that the Arab men there were not refugees at all, but a Janjaweed fifth column.
The conflict in Darfur, described by the United Nations as the "world's worst humanitarian crisis'' has so far cost 30,000 lives, with 1.2 million people made homeless. The large majority of the refugees are African, but there are also Arabs among the dispossessed who complain that their plight is being ignored by the international community.
Mr Mohammed, who had eight children, was with 16 other Care employees sent from Mossei to Kalma on a sanitation project when they went missing. Relatives of the 12 still missing say that they believe they were kidnapped. Many of the inmates at Mossei camp yesterday blamed the international aid agencies for failing to provide adequate protection for Arab refugees and demanded that Care, in particular, should withdraw from the camp.
As Sudanese government officials addressed an angry crowd at Mossei yesterday, armed men of the Turjem arrived on horseback to warn that they would take retribution unless those responsible were arrested immediately.
Senior police officers warned that the atmosphere remained volatile in a number of camps and foreigners were likely to be targeted. People at Kalma said they feared that the security forces, who are accused of colluding with the Janjaweed, will use the incident as an excuse for more violence.
The camp, which has been hit by an outbreak of cholera, is packed with between 60,000 and 75,000 people. It has been the scene of violence in the past. Two weeks ago, 42 people were arrested after a village sheikh, Abdullah Bashir Sabir, was severely injured.
The authorities say that Mr Sabir was attacked after he tried to get people from his village to return home. But, according to the people in the camp, and his family, he was shot because he refused to comply with the government's demands that he take his people back to the village and the waiting Janjaweed.
Mr Mohammed, who had two wives, arrived at Mossei, near Nyala, the capital of south Darfur, from Guala in the south-east. His relations denied that he was a member of the Janjaweed, and insisted that they had had to flee their village after it was attacked by fighters from the African tribes, the Fur, Daju and Zarghawa.
However, Ibrahim Ali Hassan, an African refugee at Kalma, maintained: "We knew who these men were as soon as they arrived. These people are Janjaweed. They have killed and burned and attacked women."
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