Sudan Government Massacres Merowe Dam Affected People

Saturday, April 22, 2006

On April 22, 2006, the militia of the Merowe Dam authorities, armed with machine guns and heavy artillery, attacked the affected people of Amri village while they were gathering in the village school in the dam–affected area. The Amri communities have been vigorously resisting displacement in the past months. The attacking militia opened fire on people without warning when they were having breakfast in the school courtyard. Three people were immediately killed and more than fifty injured.

Eyewitness say the dam militia attacked the school using 16 pick–up land cruisers equipped with heavy artillery and machine guns and opened fire without warning on people who are using school as their meeting place. At 11 am while the people were having breakfast, the school was cordoned by the dam militia who opened fire randomly on the people inside. Three were killed immediately:

  1. Atta Al sayed Al Khidir Al Mahi (a farmer)
  2. Yassin Mohamed Al Khair (a farmer who was released from detention by dam security two day ago)
  3. A third whose details are not yet confirmed.

More than fifty people have been wounded in the attack. Eyewitnesses say the injuries of thirty are serious and they are in critical conditions. The wounded were driven by local cars owners to the nearest hospital (25 km) in Kariema town. Further reports from the area confirmed that the dam security have arrested all the people who drove the injured to Kariema. Unconfirmed reports say the number of detainees could be more than thirty.

Television footage on the incident by Al–Jazeera can be found at

The conflict between the dam authority and the affected people is about the resettlement places. Whereas the affected people demand to be resettled around the dam reservoir, the dam authority insists on resettling the people in Bayouda desert, a location rejected by the people. Affected people allege that the dam authority has sold their land to rich Arab investors.

The Merowe Dam (under construction) is financed by China Exim Bank and different Arab Funds, and executed by Chinese and European companies, including Lahmeyer International, Alstom, and ABB. See for the response of some of these companies to the massacre.

The Leadership Office of Hamdab Affected People (LOHAP), the Corner House and International Rivers call on the United Nations and Western embassies in Khartoum to take immediate steps to protect the people affected by the Merowe Dam from further atrocities, and to investigate the massacre at Amri School. They call on the Sudanese government and all the companies involved in the Merowe Dam project to immediately halt construction of the Merowe Dam and displacement of the affected people.