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Concern in South Darfur, Govt. to dismantle camps

February 23 - 2016 KASS
A protest by students in Darfur (file photo)
A protest by students in Darfur (file photo)

People in camps in Kass, South Darfur, are concerned about the government’s plan to dismantle their camps. Sources said that the camps are to be turned into permanent residences, and that displaced are forcibly relocated to alternative locations.

On Monday, multiple sources in Kass told Radio Dabanga that a meeting in the town between the director of the National Intelligence and Security Service, a military intelligence official, an official of the Sudanese Humanitarian Aid Commission, a State Government representative, and native administration leaders discussed the plan to dismantle the camps in Kass locality.

The number of displaced people in the camps in the locality, where they have fled to since the armed conflict erupted in 2003, totals 187,913, according to camp leaders.

The meeting came up with the plan to divide the displaced people in Kass into three categories, dismantle the camps, and move the groups to alternative locations, one of them north of Kass.

“Another humanitarian catastrophe is on the verge of happening.”

Community leaders, sheikhs and camp representatives expressed their fear and rejected the plans, “instead of resolving the problem that brought the Darfuris to the camps in the first place”, one of them said.

They called on the United Nations to move before “another humanitarian catastrophe” occurs. According to its Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there were 2.5 million displaced people in Darfur at the end of 2015. Since January 2015, up to 247,000 people in Darfur were displaced from their homes by conflict. Of these, 110,000 people have received some form of humanitarian assistance (and are therefore considered verified).

According to the activist Sudan Democracy First Group in a statement on 12 January, the Sudanese government “will be able to impose their political agenda on the displaced and use this new reality as a leverage in negotiations with the political armed movements” if it continues with its plans to dismantle camps in Darfur.

In December last year, Sudan’s second vice-president Hasabo Abdelrahman said that Khartoum intends to end the displacement in Darfur before 2017, by resettling the people who now live in camps or by the voluntary return of displaced people to their home areas. Displaced people in camps around Darfur have repeatedly rejected the plans.

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