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South Darfur declares to Security Council: No camp dismantling

May 11 - 2018 NYALA
Nyala: 1,500 residents of Kalma camp for displaced people began to return to their homes of origin in West Darfur in December 2010 (Albert González Farran/Unamid)
Nyala: 1,500 residents of Kalma camp for displaced people began to return to their homes of origin in West Darfur in December 2010 (Albert González Farran/Unamid)

The South Darfur Governor will withdraw his order to dismantle Kalma camp for displaced people, he told a delegation of the United Nations Security Council in Darfur this week.

Following his meeting with the delegation of the Security Council, represented by the British government, on Tuesday Governor Adam El Faki said he withdraws his decision to dismantle the Kalma camp by force. El Faki said that voluntary return is the key solution to the issue of the displaced people.

The state-owned Ashorooq TV cited El Faki saying “We do not take anyone by force from the camp to the village, we only provide services to the returnees. It is the media that claims we are doing it by force.”

Kalma is with more than 100,000 displaced one of the largest camps for the displaced in the region. According to El Faki, there are 14 camps in South Darfur that hold 528,000 people.

Speaking to the press after the meeting, British ambassador to Sudan Ifran Siddiq called for the continuation of the work between the organisations, the African Union-UN Mission in Darfur (Unamid) and the Sudanese government.

Their visit came to assess the security and humanitarian situation in Darfur, he explained. Previously the UNSC delegation met with the government of North Darfur and Unamid, which focused on the latest developments in the region. The delegation is assessing the situation in Darfur ahead of the renewal of Unamid’s mandate next month.

Last month, Governor El Faki said that the camp would be dismantled by force, and that cells had been prepared for any protesters.

In April Governor El Faki declared that Kalma camp would be dismantled by force and evacuated within a couple of weeks, as part of President Omar Al Bashir’s voluntary repatriation plan that would result in an end to the presence of camps in the state.

He went as far as threatening that the state had prepared cells in a prison in Red Sea State, where they could receive detainees who stand against voluntary return, from South Darfur.

Insecurity

Voluntary return is one of the options which the Sudanese government gives to the people in Darfur who have been displaced by the armed conflict that erupted in 2003. Khartoum plans to transform the camps into residential areas, or integrate them into existing towns.

The people in the camps point to the insecurity that is still plaguing villagers in most parts of Darfur, despite the large yet partly successful disarmament campaign ordered by the Sudanese presidency last year. They say that it is often caused by roaming militiamen and the abundance of weapons –that have not been found and collected during the government’s disarmament campaign last year– as well as the danger of running into armed new settlers in the home areas.

Sheikh Abdelrazig Yousef, spokesman for the Darfur Displaced General Coordination told Radio Dabanga in March this year that the displaced consider the current voluntary return projects initiated by the government as “intimidation.

“They want the people living in the camps to forcibly return to their villages so as to obliterate the marks of displacement,” he said.


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