The leaders of seven refugee camps in eastern Chad have denied claims of voluntary return to Darfur by the UN and the Sudanese government.
They told Radio Dabanga that the recent promotion of refugees leaving the camps in Chad in the international media is ‘false and misleading’.
The camp leaders of camp Arka, Soni, Furshana, Jebel, Terayjin, Kulungo and Gaga gave unanimous statements to Radio Dabanga: local authorities must first guarantee security and provide basic services before refugees will voluntary return to their villages in Darfur.
Camp Arka Soni opened in 2004 and is still receiving refugees on a regular basis. Muhammad Dafallah, leader of this camp, said his people will only travel back when ‘the militias are all disarmed, new settlers have been expelled and those responsible for genocide are brought to justice.’
The head of the Terayiin camp, Ali Yacob, added that the government’s statements are ‘rumours and propaganda.’
Dawud Abdel Rasul, head of camp Jebel, said: “’he UN and the Sudanese government are not dealing with the reality on the ground and reporting voluntary return for their own agenda.’
The head of Gaga camp, Ali Yahia Omar said “some villages are mainly abandoned with perhaps one family living in a makeshift shelter. The government gets journalists and organisations to photograph these people and say they have voluntarily returned.’
He also said that misinformation only serves to harm the genuine plight of refugees that still live in camps, “displaced from their home and villages for nearly ten years”.