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Darfur displaced: ‘Arms collection an excuse to dismantle camps’

June 19 - 2020 NYALA
Aerial view of Kalma camp near Nyala, capital of South Darfur (file photo)
Aerial view of Kalma camp near Nyala, capital of South Darfur (file photo)

Efforts by South Darfur authorities supported by army and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) to collect illegal weapons in camps for the displaced is just an excuse to destroy the camps, leaders of the displaced assert, saying that the campaign is effectively “declaring war on the displaced”.

Responding to a statement by the governor of South Darfur, Maj Gen Hashim Khaled, announcing his forces’ readiness to collect weapons from the camps, Yagoub Abdallah Furi of the general coordination of the camps says it is “a provocation and an introduction to declaring war on the displaced.”

He asserts that the aim of the governor is “to find justification for dismantling the camps that stand as witness to the horrors of the defunct regime… It also gives government militias the green light to burn camp Kalma and other camps in Darfur.”

Furi argues that “there are no weapons in the camps. The governor and his government are fully aware that the weapons are in the hands of their tribal militias, who protect them and cover-up their crimes. They must disarm these militias instead of displaced people of crimes.”

In the statement, Furi holds the joint UN-AU Mission in Darfur (Unamid) and transitional government in Khartoum “responsible for the consequences of any hostile action by the governor of South Darfur or any other government party.”

Furi points out that “Unamid is the only force responsible and entrusted with protecting and supervising the camps, and we warn against any government force entering the camps.”

The joint UN-AU Mission in Darfur (Unamid) sent reinforcements to Kalma camp for the displaced near Nyala to prevent escalation after two people were shot and killed last week.

The governor of South Darfur claims that the incident was “designed to abort the ongoing efforts of peace talks in Juba”. He also argued that “those responsible for the incident thought by doing so they would change the new UN Peace Mission‘s mandate from UN Chapter VI to Chapter VII”.

He said that the incident occurred just as negotiating parties were close to signing a peace deal, “is not a coincidence,” he said. “Now it is the time to put an end to the vicious cycle of violence,” he concluded.

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