The Governor of South Darfur has given the residents of the Gireida camps the choice between accepting the annexation of the camp sites to the town or returning voluntarily to their places of origin.
In a public meeting in Gireida, Governor Adam El Faki told the displaced people that the more than ten camps may be added to the existing residential districts or they may become new districts in the town.
In both instances, the displaced people will not be entitled any more to humanitarian aid.
The camp residents strongly rejected the options, for legal and security reasons.
“Actually the annexation of the camp sites to Gireida town means the legitimisation of the theft of our lands. In this case, the land ownership will be officially transferred to the new settlers and the government’s militiamen,” a camp elder told Radio Dabanga.
“Yet, the people are also unable to return, because of the presence of militiamen in their villages and at their farms. They prevent us from returning to our lands for farming. Even when we leave the camp for a few kilometres to collect firewood or straw, they attack us.
“So we can only return if the situation has become secure, and a comprehensive peace has been reached,” he said.
El Shafee Abdallah, Coordinator of the Central Darfur camps, told this station earlier this month that the lands and villages of the displaced people are currently occupied by government-allied militiamen, from the region or from neighbouring countries.
“The government aims to keep the displaced people where they are, after a so-called replanning of the camps,” he said. “If the camp areas are annexed to the towns and the displaced registered as town residents, they will deprived from the possibility to reclaim their land. Thus the way to legalising the new settlers’ ownership of our lands will be paved.”
“That is why the displaced people will never accept the re-planning of the camps and their integration into the towns,” he explained.