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'No voluntary return in insecure Darfur': displaced to US

April 25 - 2017 EL FASHER
Newly displaced people who fled their village in 2015 after clashes between government and rebel forces in Zamzam camp, North Darfur (Albert González Farran/Unamid)
Newly displaced people who fled their village in 2015 after clashes between government and rebel forces in Zamzam camp, North Darfur (Albert González Farran/Unamid)

People in Zamzam camp for displaced people in North Darfur complained that the security and humanitarian situation in the camp is very bad. They told a United States envoy that militiamen occupy their home farms; voluntary return is out of the question.

A delegation from the office of the US Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Paul Steven, arrived at Zamzam, south of El Fasher, to meet with Sheikhs, leaders and youth and women representatives. Zamzam is one of the largest camps in Darfur.

The coordinator of the camp told Radio Dabanga that the delegates asked them about the security and humanitarian situation, in addition to the possibility of voluntarily returning to their home areas. Steven said that security problems remain despite “the relative improvement” in the situation in North Darfur.

In a press statement he urged the Sudanese government to take control of the militias and protect its citizens, along with granting the AU-UN hybrid peacekeeping mission (Unamid) and aid agencies freedom of movement. Making progress on the human rights situation in Sudan is of upmost importance, he added.

Attacks

The security situation in the vicinity of Zamzam is very bad, youth and women representatives said. Armed men and militia members attack people who go outside. Meanwhile residents have witnessed a reduction of the food ration cards and a deterioration of the health situation.

The envoy's office wanted to assess the situation on the ground in Darfur to present a full report on the situation in Sudan in July, the month set by the US Government to review the progress in the country and ease economic sanctions and a trade embargo that have been in place against Sudan since 1997.

Earlier this month the military attaché of the US embassy in Sudan visited North Darfur for a briefing by the State Governor. Sudanese media reported that Military Attaché Jörn Pung said he witnessed great developments in North Darfur. A week later the embassy said the US 'encourages close cooperation among the Government of Sudan, United Nations, and native administrations'.


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