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US Ambassador visit: International protection demanded by North Darfur displaced

September 12 - 2022 ZAMZAM CAMP / EL FASHER
US Ambassador John Godfrey meets with members of Zam Zam IDP camp in North Darfur on September 11 (US Embassy)
US Ambassador John Godfrey meets with members of Zam Zam IDP camp in North Darfur on September 11 (US Embassy)

In a meeting with the US Ambassador John Godfrey, residents of Zamzam camp for the displaced near El Fasher, capital of North Darfur, requested international protection from continuous violations and attacks. 

Godfrey met with a number of camp leaders on Sunday, where he reaffirmed that the US “will continue to support all efforts to bring lasting peace to the region.” 

One of the camp leaders told Radio Dabanga that the displaced handed the new ambassador a note during the meeting.  

Omda Jamal Abdelkarim told Godfrey that people lack security, as they are routinely subject to fatal attacks and armed robberies. The camp leader said that insecurity is as well caused by disputes between shepherds and farmers. He further pointed to the deterioration of health and education services. 

Fatima Ibrahim, the women's representative in the camp, said that women face many threats such as rape and physical assault. 

She told him that there are cases of rape, but no reports have been opened for them since the exit of UNAMID until now, due to the laws set by the government stipulating the lodging of an official complaint a day after the incident, which leads to the escape of the offender. She also accused the police of manipulating the reports, and turning for instance a report of rape into a report of adultery. 

The ambassador affirmed that all the demands of the displaced are legitimate and that the embassy is sitting with the federal government to solve all the issues of the displaced, deploring the attacks against people in the camp. He also noted that the government in Khartoum and the North Darfur state government responsible for protecting civilians and maintaining security, indicating that the embassy is working in cooperation with the authorities in training the joint Sudanese peacekeeping force in the context of the Juba Peace Agreement.

Sit-in lifted 

A number of displaced people have expressed their dissatisfaction on lifting the Zamzam sit-in last Wednesday without achieving all of the main demands, such as the return of the many displaced who have been abducted or have gone missing. 

In a memorandum earlier submitted to the North Darfur government, they demanded the restoration of the Rule of Law and the arrest of the armed robbers in the area, the deployment of joint forces to protect the displaced and secure the agricultural season, the implementation of all provisions of the 2020 Juba Peace Agreement regarding displaced people and refugees, in addition to the improvement of basic services in the camp. 

North Darfur governor 

The US Ambassador also met with the state's governor, Nimir Abdelrahman, in El Fasher on Saturday to discuss the general security and humanitarian situation in the state, in addition to the need to take the necessary measures to implement the Juba Peace Agreement. 

The US embassy in Khartoum reported in a statement that Godfrey was briefed on the challenges facing the state, including those related to education, protection of civilians, and support for the large number of displaced people who lost their homes due to heavy rains. 

It is noteworthy that the US ambassador extended his visit to North Darfur for a third day. 

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