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Sudan’s armed groups condemn Kalma Killing, as South Darfur government accuses IDPs

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A resident of Kalma camp wounded during the clashes with the government forces on 22 September 2017 (ST Photo)
September 22, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The armed opposition groups condemned the killing of several residents of Kalama camp during a visit of President Omer al-Bashir to their area, while the South Darfur government accused armed elements in the camp of opening fire on the government troops.

The killing of three to eight people Friday has been condemned by three holdout groups that pointed accusing fingers at the government saying it shoulders the responsibility for the murder of peaceful protesters and called for an international investigation.

However, three statements by the Sudan Liberation Movement - Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM), Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the SPLM-N Agar denounced the inertia of the hybrid peacekeepers who are tasked with the protection of civilians.

"How come the UNAMID calls for restraint while it knows that what happened is not (clashes between government forces and internally displaced) as its statement claims. UNAMID knows this is an unprovoked attack by the government militias," said Minni Minnawi.

Minni Minnawi, the chairman of a Sudan Liberation Movement group condemned the "barbaric and savage massacre" in Kalma

" The UNAMID should swiftly move to protect the civilians and not keep sending wrong signals suggesting to vindicate the perpetrators," he stressed.

JEM spokesperson Jibril Bilal also recalled the UNAMID to play its role in the protection of civilians in Darfur, adding that "the South Darfur state government and President Bashir who are the eyewitness to the crime shoulder personally the responsibility of the shooting on the displaced people".

Bilal further said that the incident is a continuation of the targeting of defenceless civilians and in line with the government policy of close the IDPs camps, and to forcing the displaced to receive the president, despite their refusal to receive him through demonstrations against the visit.

For his part, the SPLM-N Agar Secretary-General called on the international community to hold the Sudanese government responsible for the death of civilians stressing that the massacre was committed" in front of the eyes and ears of UNAMID".

"This massacre, unlike the others, is being committed in the presence of General Bashir, under his supervision and while he is 1 kilometre away from Kalma camp," he said adding "We call upon the UN Security Council to hold the government of Sudan responsible and to provide adequate civilian protection for the people of Sudan, especially in the war zones".

Kalma camp whose residents are almost from the Fur tribe witnessed in the past several confrontations with the government forces. On 25 August 2008, the government forces killed over forty displaced people who objected a weapons search operation in the camp.

At the time the government repeated described the camp as the hideout of armed groups.

In a statement released late on Friday, the South Darfur government accused armed elements in the camp of firing on the security forces tasked with the protection of the site of al-Bashir’s rally in Belil locality not far from the largest IDPs camp in the state.

"Displaced persons opposed the visit of President al-Bashir opened fire from inside Kalma camp on the joint security force with Kalashnikov, Grinov and Dshk machine guns, as well as grenades".

The government further said one soldier was seriously injured in his head as result of the attack and three military vehicles were damaged.

The statement further said that two IDPs supporting the presidential visit were killed in the camp by those who are hostile to the government during clashes inside the camp.

President al-Bashir is touring the five states of Darfur in support of a weapons collection campaign and to show that the government forces are in full control of the region, weeks before a decision by the American administration on the permanent lift of sanctions.

(ST)

Related article: Several IDPs killed in protests against al-Bashir’s visit to South Darfur camp

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