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Insecurity, Unamid exit concerns El Salam's displaced

May 20 - 2016 KALMA
A displaced woman in Kalma camp, South Darfur, in a makeshift shelter (Albert González Farran/Unamid)
A displaced woman in Kalma camp, South Darfur, in a makeshift shelter (Albert González Farran/Unamid)

Displaced people in El Salam, a South Darfur camp, have informed the Sudanese government and Unamid about the lack of security outside the camp borders, the worsened food and health situation, and urged the UN-AU peacekeeping mission to remain in Sudan. “It is time to end the mission of Unamid,” Sudan's Foreign Minister said yesterday. 

El Salam camp Sheikh Mahjoub Tabeldiya reported that gunmen in the vicinity of the camp killed two men, raped five women, and robbed or assaulted a dozen of camp residents during the month of April.

He said that Sheikhs and women and youth unions met with the delegation of the government and the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (Unamid), led by Ambassador Ali El Sadig on Wednesday. “We explained them that displaced people cannot venture out of the camp for more than a kilometre, to collect firewood or till their farms, for the risk of being attacked by militiamen.”

There are 29,793 displaced people who arrived in El Salam from 2013 to 2014, who have not received aid since July 2015, Tabeldiya claimed. “We handed the committee a list of the number of displaced who died of hunger. Most of them were children and elderly people.”

'There are not enough health centres, and they are understaffed.'

The committee listened to the demands of the provision of more food, plastic sheets, and tents to cover all displaced people, and the demand to increase the number of health centrese, staff, and medicines in El Salam camp. “There are only three health centres staffed by two doctors and eight nurses, one midwife, and doctor assistants to serve the 128,000 displaced people in the camp.”

Tabeldiya said that the small number of schools, built of straw, that serve thousands of pupils are in need of improvement. There is a lack of seating material and not enough teachers.

Regarding an exit of Unamid from Sudan, Tabeldiya voiced the concerns of the camp residents. “Unamid needs to exist.

“Any idea or orientation toward the withdrawal of Unamid might mean the occurrence of a genocide, again,” the Sheikh said. “We asked the committee to keep Unamid, and to empower its mandate and mechanisms so that it can better protect the displaced people.”

The secretary-general of a nearby camp, Kalma, informed Radio Dabanga this week that thousands of camp residents had not received food rations for ten months. These 41,700 displaced people arrived at Kalma between 2013 and 2014. Relief organisations have refused to provide food rations for them under the pretext of their association with their villages where they have means of production.

Exit strategy working group

Sudan does not seek to allow an extension of the mandate of Unamid. “It is time to end the mission of Unamid,” Foreign Minister Kamal Ismail said on Thursday. “The situation is stable in Darfur and the rebel activities receded. There is no citizen in Darfur that is under threat and in need of protection from Unamid.”

This week, the working group on the exit strategy for Unamid met with government delegates in Nyala in South Darfur. Governor Adam El Faki announced that the group was informed about the improved security situation, the government's efforts to deter outlaws, end tribal conflicts, and to plan the voluntary return of displaced people from the camps.

“South Darfur has become free of any security threats, especially as no armed movements exist in its territory, which has encouraged the displaced people to return to their villages.” El Faki said that many arrangements are put in place for displaced people who are interested in planning sites for their residence.

Relations between Sudan and the UN became tense after Khartoum called for the withdrawal of the 17,000-strong Unamid peacekeeping mission from the country, following a mass rape in Tabit in North Darfur by army troops in October 2014. Khartoum has demanded the mission to construct an exit strategy from Sudan, with the Foreign Affairs Ministry.


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