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Girl raped near Zamzam camp, displaced give Darfur govt 24 hours to respond

September 14 - 2022 EL FASHER
Zamzam camp in North Darfur (File photo)
Zamzam camp in North Darfur (File photo)

Yesterday, Zamzam camp leaders gave the Darfur authorities one day to do something about recurrent attacks by gunmen in the area after a 15-year-old girl was gang-raped in the vicinity of the camp. Since last Monday, when the Darfur Regional Government officially agreed to provide more protection, the area witnessed a large number of attacks on displaced working on their farms in the area. 

Zamzam camp, 15 km south of El Fasher, capital of North Darfur, is one of the largest camps for displaced people in the region. Residents have been complaining about the rampant insecurity in the area for a long time. To back their demands for protection and better services in the camp, they set up a large sit-in in mid-August and blocked traffic from entering the El Fasher-Nyala road.

On September 5, the sit-in was lifted following an agreement with a newly formed committee of the Darfur Regional Government (DRG).

Members of the sit-in committee told Radio Dabanga at the time that the committee pledged to deploy sufficient forces to protect the camp and the agricultural season, and to upgrade the police post in the camp to a police station. In addition, joint committees with members from the North Darfur government, the DRG, and the Zamzam camp administration will be formed to review the services in the camp, especially concerning the provision of drinking water, health, and education.

'The number of displaced receiving food aid does not exceed 10% of the 500,000 people living in the camp' - Zamzam activist Ahmed Abdelkarim

After the rape of the girl on Monday, the Zamzam sit-in committee gave the DRG and the North Darfur government 24 hours to implement the security clauses of the agreement. They threatened to set up the sit-in and close the El-Fasher-Nyala Road again.

Ahmed Abdelkarim, head of the sit-in committee, told Radio Dabanga yesterday that the agreement stipulates the deployment of 20 vehicles at five sites in the area, including Um Geigo and Gallab, to secure farms. 

He said that the authorities did not commit to the clauses and deployed 12 vehicles with restricted powers and noted that they did not move until four hours after the rape was reported.

Abdelkarim warned of a “humanitarian disaster” if the harvest at the end of the current agricultural season is not secured. “Many camp residents have not been able to farm for two years because of the insecurity and the exit of UNAMID,” he explained. “International food aid has been reduced. The number of displaced receiving food assistance does not exceed 10 per cent of the 500,000 people living in the camp.”

He further said that since the signing of the agreement last week, the area witnessed a large number of attacks on displaced working on their farms in the area, and the grazing of livestock by armed herders on the farms.  

 


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