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Thousands return to Central Darfur despite insecurity

December 4 - 2015 UM DUKHUN
Camp for Sudanese refugees in eastern Chad (file photo)
Camp for Sudanese refugees in eastern Chad (file photo)

Thousands of people have returned from Chad to Um Dukhun locality in Central Darfur, according to findings by humanitarian aid workers and traditional leaders. Many refugees decided to return because of registration demands by the Chadian government, although the majority consider their home areas in Darfur still unsafe to return to.

Approximately 24,000 people have returned to Muradaf in Um Dukhun, the UN's humanitarian affairs office (OCHA) reported this week. 14,000 people had returned by June this year and an additional 24,000 people in November.

According to the returnees speaking to aid workers and traditional leaders, they decided to return because of the improved security situation in Um Dukhun since the signing of a cessation of hostilities agreement between the two tribes in September 2014.

Another factor that led to the return was the Chadian government's ultimatum for Sudanese refugees to either integrate into the camps or to return to Sudan. The majority of the returnees lived outside of camps in Chad and they were not registered as refugees.

The returnees have settled in the Muradaf area, very close to the border with Chad, because they considered their home areas in Um Dukhun still unsafe to return to.

The Government’s Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC), the international NGO Triangle Génération Humanitaire (TGH), and traditional leaders conducted the assessment that took place on 17 November.

New tribal fighting

Insecurity remains in Um Dukhun. Yesterday, clashes broke out between Misseriya and Salamat tribesmen in the area of Um Dukhun, Central Darfur. “Three people were killed,” a listener reported to Radio Dabanga, saying that a committee of tribe elders intervened and contained the conflict.

In October, five Salamat and two Misseriya tribesmen were killed, and several others were wounded in fighting that broke out over a cattle theft. 54 tribesmen were killed in the Misseriya-Salamat fighting in Um Dukhun locality in Central Darfur in the year 2014, according to the National Council for Strategic Planning in Sudan in October.


Citizens returning to Um Dukhun, Central Darfur (20 January 2014)

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