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Sudan, opposition trade accusations over Kalma incident

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A resident of Kalma camp treated by a UNAMID medical team at the camp hospital on 22 September 2017 (ST Photo)
September 23, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese government and the opposition forces have traded accusations over triggering the deadly incident at Kalma camp for Internally Displaces Persons (IDPs) in South Darfur state.

At least three IDPs were killed and dozens of others injured Friday in clashes between security forces and IDPs who protested in Kalma against a visit by President Omar al-Bashir to the camp.

In a statement issued on Saturday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Gharib Allah Khidir said the killing of the IDPs resulted from the clashes triggered by rebel elements belonging to the holdout Sudan Liberation Movement-Abdel Wahid (SLM-AW).

He pointed out that the IDPs were ready to go to the reception of President al-Bashir, “however, some isolated elements loyal to the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-AW) led by Abdel-Wahid al-Nur made hostile acts to prevent the IDPs from going to the site of the meeting”.

He accused the armed elements of initiating the clashes, saying they fired at the security forces and police unites which were deployed to secure the meeting site according to the established procedures.

Khidir disclosed the South Darfur security committee had notified the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) a day before al-Bashir’s visit that some SLM-AW elements are planning to sabotage the meeting.

However, the IDPs representatives asserted they held peaceful protests to express their rejection of the presidential visit to their camp and accused the South Darfur governor of ordering the attack in a bid to dismantle the camp.

The SLM-AW condemned the violence against the IDPs of Kalma saying the attempt to break into the camp is a violation of all international humanitarian law.

"We call upon the international community to carry out its moral and humanitarian duty and urgently intervene to stop the ongoing massacre and to protect the unarmed refugees," said Mohamed Abdel Rahman al-Nayer, the SLM-AW spokesperson.

For its part, a number of opposition forces have held the government responsible for the incident demanding the UN Security Council (UNSC) to lead a broad campaign to stop the war crimes against IDPs.

In a statement seen by Sudan Tribune Saturday, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N al-Hilu) led by Abdel-Aziz al-Hilu accused the government militias of killing the IDPs after they rejected al-Bashir’s visit to the camp.

It demanded the UN to bear its responsibility and move quickly to stop the war crimes and protect the IDPs, calling on the UNSC to renew the mandate of the UNAMID for several years and assign human rights experts to document the crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by all parties.

On the other hand, the opposition National Umma Party (NUP) has condemned the incident, describing it as the “brutal crime” against the unarmed Kalma residents.

The NUP called for providing all kinds of aid to the victims and exposing the bloody nature of the regime.

It called on the opposition forces, civil society and the international community to bear their responsibilities and preserve the IDPs right to life and expression.

The NUP further urged the Sudanese people to form a unified national front to overthrow the regime, saying “the removal of the regime is the most effective way to stop these crimes and secure a decent life for the residents”.

For its part, the opposition Sudanese Congress Party (SCoP) has denounced the incident saying the regime is insisting on promoting its record of killing and blood.

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune, the SCoP stressed the need to review the resistance mechanisms to ensure its effectiveness and ability to produce positive actions on the road towards the revolution.

The SCoP also criticised the UNAMID for limiting its role to assisting the victims, demanding to broaden the mandate of the Mission to include the protection of civilians.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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