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North Darfur Govt, RSF launch camp dismantling

November 6 - 2018 EL FASHER
Visit of North Darfur government officials, RSF leadership to camps in North Darfur on November 5 (RD)
Visit of North Darfur government officials, RSF leadership to camps in North Darfur on November 5 (RD)

The government of North Darfur officially launched the dismantling of Abu Shouk, El Salam and Zamzam camps on Monday. Camp residents would be granted ownership of land here or voluntarily return to their home areas.

The Governor of North Darfur State, Sharif Samouh, and the commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan (also known as Hemeti), announced the start of the tranformation of Zamzam, El Salam and Abu Shouk into fully serviced residential districts during their visit to the camps yesterday.

The three camps will be transformed into urban housing schemes for El Fasher city. The officials directed the Ministry of Urban Planning to start distributing plots to ownership documents.

“The options are still open to the displaced people to return, resettle, or integrate into society,” Samouh said, reiterating his government's support for all three options. Commander Hamdan pledged to the displaced people at Zamzam camp that the authorities will “pay for the planning fees”.

The heads of the three camps have submitted a package of demands for the implementation of the new housing schemes. These include the construction of schools, mosques and Koran schools, and creating employment opportunities for youths – especially youths with special needs.

45,000 families’

The governor announced that each family wishing to settle in the new plans would be granted a 300 square metre piece of land with an ownership certificate, this along with giving new names to the new housing schemes, linking them to an internal water network and providing services that would suit the population socially and environmentally.

In October, North Darfur state announced that the first phase includes the resettlement of 45,000 families – meaning at least 135,000 people.

RSF presence

Meanwhile, witnesses from North Darfur said that a RSF team driving more than 600 trucks, loaded with various types of weapons, moved from El Fasher on Thursday. They were stationed at Kafout area on Friday and Saturday, and then moved from Kutum on their way to El Tina on Sunday.

The witnesses did not know the reasons for the moving. They added that residents stayed in their homes and did not go shopping or farming as the militiamen passed by.

On Saturday, RSF commander Hamdan announced the deployment of troops on the border with Libya to hunt down members of the armed movements in the Libyan desert. He vowed to chase them “wherever they go if they try to enter Sudan again”.

Displacement in Darfur

The voluntary return of displaced people and refugees remains the main challenge for the Sudanese government seen the large numbers of people still living in the relative safety of the camps.

According to the latest global numbers, the conflict and ensuing insecurity had still displaced over 2.7 million people in Darfur in December 2016 (UN OCHA). Up-to-date numbers are difficult to ascertain by humanitarian organisations in Darfur.

In April this year, the first large-scale voluntary returns from Chad took place when the UNHCR and the Commissioner of Refugees (COR) assisted dozens of Sudanese refugees from Chad in their return to Kabkabiya, Saraf Omra and Karnoi. The operation is planned to continue in December.

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