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Kalma camp leaders condemn Darfur state collecting arms

October 2 - 2017 KALMA / KHARTOUM
Demonstration in Paris on 30 September 2017 against the deadly incidents in Kalma camp, and the death sentence against student Asim Omar (RD)
Demonstration in Paris on 30 September 2017 against the deadly incidents in Kalma camp, and the death sentence against student Asim Omar (RD)

A call to collect weapons from residents of Kalma camp sparked anger among community leaders, following the deadly incidents during a mass demonstration near the camp on 22 September.

Sheikh Ali Abdelrahman Taher, the head leader of the displaced community in Kalma camp in South Darfur, has denounced the call of the South Darfur governor to collect arms from the displaced. The governor accused camp residents of symphatising with the rebel forces of Abdelwahid El Nur, in a press statement on Saturday.

Taher told Radio Dabanga that “for 14 years we have been living in displacement camps in which none of us has carried a weapon.” He announced his refusal to any representatives from Khartoum visiting the camp and called on representatives of the United Nations and the African Union-UN peacekeeping mission (Unamid) to inspect the camps for weapons. “If there are any.”

“Representatives of the displaced people unanimously agreed to reject the entry of any militia members into the camp. We only recognise the Sudanese army and police, not any new forces.”

The government should instead collect the weapons from militias, paramilitary forces such as the Border Guards and armed factions that carry heavy weapons, Taher said.

Six people were killed and 28 other wounded when, in the morning of 22 September, for the fourth consecutive day, peaceful protests took place against a visit by President Omar Al Bashir near Kalma camp. Sudanese forces violently dispersed the demonstrators near the location of the presidential roadshow, in Bielel locality.

Protests in Europe

On Saturday, Sudanese activists in France and Canada carried out demonstrations in solidarity with the victims and wounded people of camp Kalma. Protesters in Ottawa delivered a memorandum to the Canadian Foreign Ministry, urgently demanding an investigation into the killings in Kalma camp.

In addition the memorandum condemned the death sentence that has been raised against student Asim Omar, who is accused of the murder of a policeman.

A demonstration in front of the Republic Square in Paris was attended by a number of Sudanese representatives, French political movements and civil society organisations.

'No impact'

In Khartoum, State Minister of Foreign Affairs Ata El Mannan Bakhit ruled out that the incidents in Kalma have any impact on the decision by the United States that is at hand, to lift economic sanctions against Sudan.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday in response to the demand by the US to investigate the deadly incidents, Bakhit said: “There are five tracks for clear negotiations with Washington for which the responsible committees have submitted reports. Most were positive.” And: “This does not mean the violation of the course of negotiations.”

The state minister said he expects “a positive decision by Washington to entirely lift the sanctions this month”.

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