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'Don't move an inch': West Darfur displaced reject model town

June 29 - 2017 EL GENEINA
A return village in Um Baru locality, North Darfur (2016, UNDP)
A return village in Um Baru locality, North Darfur (2016, UNDP)

Displaced people in West Darfur refuse to be replaced to a new town northwest of El Geneina, calling upon camp residents “not to move an inch from the camp”.

The Darfur Displaced and Refugees Association in West Darfur announced its rejection of the decision by State Governor Fadlelmowla El Haja. El Haja ordered to establish a new town for the displaced people in El Ghaba, northwest of the state capital – named 'Abuzer'.

The association said in a statement on Wednesday that the displaced people “will not leave their camps until a comprehensive peace and security is achieved, militias are disarmed, and perpetrators of genocide in the region prosecuted”.

Those who met the governor and his delegation as representatives of the displaced community “do not represent the displaced and none of them were members of the Association”, it claimed.

The group calls on camp residents to reject the decision and not to move a single inch from the camp until their conditions are met.

On Tuesday, Governor El Haja announced the agreement he made with displaced people to establish a new town that would accommodate all displaced people from the camps in El Geneina.

He pledged his government's commitment to provide all the necessary services of water, health and education to the new town of 'Abuzer', to accommodate the new residents.

Reasons for camp residents to refuse to parttcipate in voluntary return programmes by the Sudanese government mostly involve the worsened security situation in their home areas, where militias roam or unknown people have settled on their lands.

In February 2016, the UN and the government of Sudan signed documents worth $88.5 million in contributions from Qatar for projects in all Darfur states over a period of nearly two years. The majority would be spent on constructing model villages for displaced Darfuris.

Darfur displaced have often rejected relocations to model villages as they consider the situation in the conflict-torn western region far from secure enough to leave the camps.

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