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Darfur rebels condemn ‘policy of forced return’

April 29 - 2018 JEBEL MARRA
An aerial view of Kalma camp, near Nyala, capital of South Darfur (file photo)
An aerial view of Kalma camp, near Nyala, capital of South Darfur (file photo)

The plans of the governor of South Darfur to dismantle Kalma camp for the displaced constitutes “a declaration of war” against the camp residents, says the Sudan Liberation Movement faction under the leadership of Abdelwahid El Nur (SLM-AW), echoing similar comments by prominent Sudanese this week.

In addition, the forced dismantlement of the camp, with more than 100,000 displaced one of the largest camps for the displaced in Darfur, is “a clear defiance of international humanitarian laws and the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement,” the movement said in a statement on Friday.

“The Khartoum regime considers the camps for the displaced as proof of the crimes it committed [in Darfur],” the statement reads. “Therefore the camps must be dismantled though the causes for the displacement are still there.”

The SLM-AW called on the international community to intervene and protect the displaced people in the camps. It appealed to the International Criminal Court to start an investigation into the threats by South Darfur Governor Adam El Faki to forcibly dismantle Kalma camp and arrest protesters.

The movement as well strongly condemned the silence of Unamid about militia attacks on villages in northern Jebel Marra a week ago.

Last week, Governor El Faki announced his intention to dismantle the camp “within one or two weeks”. In Februart, the South Darfur government, the UN-AU peacekeeping Mission in Darfur (Unamid), and UN agencies in Sudan announced they would set up a joint committee to facilitate the voluntary return of the hundreds of thousands of displaced people in the state.

Forced return

According to the Sudan Liberation Movement-Transitional Council (SLM-TC), the dismantling of the Darfur camps for the displaced is “Khartoum’s plan B to complete its demographic change project in Darfur”; it constitutes “a second genocide”.

The movement said in a statement on Friday as well that the government not only declared the forced return of the Darfur displaced, it is causing large-scale displacement in Jebel Marra by ordering its militias to attack villages in the area.

The SLM-TC called on Unamid to carry out its duty and protect the displaced. It further urged the people living in the Darfur camps to confront the government’s policies of forced return.

Insecurity

Reports continue to reach this station about attacks on returnees in the conflict-plagued western Sudanese region.

Most recently, in the evening of Saturday April 21, gunmen on a Land Cruiser and others on camels attacked a group of voluntary returnees in North Darfur's Tawila locality.

One of the victims reported to Radio Dabanga that they were ambushed near Turbo village, 15 kilometres south of Dubo El Omda. "The janjaweed shot in the air to frighten us, and then left with ten of our goats.”

The returnees came from the Shangil Tobaya camp for the displaced, and arrived at Turbo village two months ago – as part of the voluntary repatriation programme organised by the government in cooperation with UN agencies.


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