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Darfur displaced: ‘We cannot return as long as our land is occupied’

April 9 - 2018 KALMA CAMP
Kalma camp leaders attend a meeting, September 2017 (RD)
Kalma camp leaders attend a meeting, September 2017 (RD)

Last week, the residents of Kalma camp in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur, briefed a US government delegation about the situation of the displaced in the region and the reasons why they still cannot return to their areas of origin.

“The American delegation met with the camp administration in the presence of the deputy director of Unamid in South Darfur,” Yagoub Abdallah, the general coordinator of the Darfur Displaced and Refugees Association told Radio Dabanga.

“The US representatives inquired about the voluntary repatriation programme, whether people had returned already, and as well about the reasons preventing the displaced from returning to their villages,” he reported.

The displaced told the delegation that only a small number of people returned to their areas last year and early this year. “But they soon returned to the camp because of the aggression they met from militiamen and new settlers.”

“We explained the American visitors that apart from the insecurity still caused by the many militiamen in the region, the presence of new, armed settlers is preventing the displaced to return to their villages.

“The new settlers, consisting of Arab herders from Darfur or migrants from Chad or Niger, are occupying our lands with the support of the authorities,” the camp leader said. “These settlers assault anyone who tries to return to their village.”

The displaced further told the American delegation that the government is still continuing its war against the Darfuris. “Government militiamen are now burning villages in Jebel Marra.”

The camp leaders handed the US representatives a memorandum in which they had listed their concerns (attached below). They called on the USA and the international community to provide protection to the displaced people in Darfur, to pressure the Sudanese government to stop distributing land to investors and new settlers, and to press for the arrest of all of those indicted by the International Criminal Court.

They also urged the delegation to advocate for the release of all the political detainees in the country, including many Darfuri detainees, among them Sheikh Matar Younis and dozens of Darfuri students.

Memorandum of Kalma camp leaders handed to a US govt. delegation, Nyala, April 5, 2018 (RD).jpg

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