The residents of villages in the area of Aro in Wadi Azum locality, Central Darfur, took to the streets on Tuesday in protest against the construction of a model village in the area.
The coordinator of Central Darfur camps for the displaced reported that the demonstrators moved to the Aro Basic School, chanting slogans against the commissioner of the locality, who was holding a speech at the school.
The police responded by firing into the air to disperse the crowd. The shooting ignited fire at three school classes.
The coordinator said that after the Darfur Regional Authority and the governor failed to establish a model village near the Ronga Tas camp, they opted for Aro instead.
Early this month, a model service hub was officially opened in Tabit, North Darfur. The model complexes and villages are part of the Voluntary Return Programme, sponsored by Qatar since the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur was signed in 2011 by the Sudanese government and the Liberation and Justice Movement.
The Qatari government planned to fund the construction of water wells in 11 Darfur localities, as well as 10 model villages at a total cost of $70 million. The Darfur Reconstruction Fund, headed by Qatar, has already realised 315 projects in Darfur, out of 1,071 planned projects which include schools, health centres, and police stations.
The Darfur displaced reject their relocation to model villages as they consider the situation in the conflict-torn western region far from secure enough to leave the camps.