Darfur displaced: ‘Unamid statement on Kalma biased’
The Darfur Displaced and Refugees Association has condemned the statement issued by Unamid on the killings in South Darfur’s Kalma camp on Friday. A number of opposition parties strongly condemned the violent crackdown of the peaceful protests, and also criticised the statement.
The residents of Kalma camp near the South Darfur capital of Nyala went to the streets last week to protest against the planned visit of President Omar Al Bashir to the camp.
On Friday, the day of the visit, security forces violently dispersed the peaceful demonstrators. Five protesters were reportedly killed, and at least 26 people were wounded.
Medical staff of the UN-AU peacekeeping Mission in Darfur (Unamid) intervened immediately and assisted with the treatment of the wounded.
Unamid issued a statement that day in which it expressed its deep concern “about clashes between government forces and internally displaced persons (IDPs) residing at Kalma camp [..]”, and urged “all conflicting parties to exercise utmost restraint”.
Before the demonstrations started, on Tuesday, when the president began touring Darfur, representatives of South Darfur camps for the displaced officially requested Unamid to secure their peaceful protest marches they planned to hold against the visits of Al Bashir to a number of camps in the state.
The spokesman for the Darfur Displaced and Refugees Association, Hussein Abusharati, called the statement by Unamid on Friday “biased”.
“Unamid speaks about ‘clashes’, knowing that the demonstrations were peaceful,” he told Radio Dabanga on Sunday. “The peaceful marches at Kalma camp last week lasted for three days without hearing a single shot fired, because the displaced were not carrying arms.”
According to the spokesman, “such a statement should not be issued by an official in such a position.
“We therefore request the head of the mission to apologise and correct the statement, and re-write it in an appropriate manner that reflects the facts.”
The displaced leader also requested Unamid to start a thorough investigation into the incidents on Friday.
The spokesman for the Communist Party of Sudan, Ali El Sayed, called for an inquiry as well. “Those responsible should be held accountable,” he told this station.
El Sayed further criticised the statement in which Unamid urged all parties to exercise restraint, and called it “an unsuccessful call, as the peacekeepers are supposed to be neutral.
“They should have safeguarded the displaced, as mandated by the Security Council. The people even officially informed them in advance about the demonstrations they were going to hold and requested their protection, however without finding any response,” he said.
The Sudanese Congress Party as well condemned the deadly incident in Kalma camp on Friday and the reaction of Unamid.
The party called on the joint UN-AU mission “to activate the mandate with which it is entrusted and protect the civilians in the region, and not act as a false witness to the facts by covering the regime’s violence against the displaced”.
It further urged “the international and regional communities to uphold their common human values and review the evaluation criteria for the competence of the [Sudanese] regime by taking into account the internal affairs [in the country]”.
According to Kamal Omar, Political Secretary of the Popular Congress Party and member of the federal parliament, “The recent bloodshed at Kalma camp is a horrendous act.
The justification of the violence used by the government does not make any sense, because the displaced people were unarmed,” he told Radio Dabanga.
“The people who are responsible for the attacks on peaceful demonstrators must be brought to trial. The principle of accountability has to be upheld.
“Almost all political forces in Sudan have condemned the incident,”he added. “The parties that have remained silent have nothing to do with the Sudanese people.”
Also the Revolutionary Awakening Council (RAC), founded and headed by former janjaweed leader Musa Hilal, condemned the killing of demonstrators in Kalma camp.
“Innocent, peacefully demonstrating camp residents were brutally attacked despite their appeal to Unamid to protect them, days before the incident took place,” RAC spokesman Ahmed Abakar told this station.
He demanded that the perpetrators, “headed by Al Bashir”, be brought to trial.
Abakar further declared the RAC’s “full solidarity with their brothers who are displaced in the camps of Darfur, Blue Nile, South Kordofan, and other parts of Sudan”.
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