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Sudan notifies UN of presence of illegal arms in IDPs camps

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Residents of Kalma camp in South Darfur State protest against the planned visit of President al-Bashir to their camp on 20 September 2017 (ST Photo)
September 24, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese government has notified the United Nations of the presence of weapons inside the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in Darfur, saying it poses a serious danger to camps residents.

The notification comes few days after several IDPs were killed and dozens of others injured at Kalma camp, South Darfur in clashes between security forces and IDPs who protested against a visit by President Omar al-Bashir to the camp.

The Sudanese government accused rebel elements belonging to the holdout Sudan Liberation Movement-Abdel Wahid (SLM-AW) of triggering the deadly clashes. But the IDPs denied the accusations saying their protests were peaceful but the state governor and his security services wanted to punish them for the refusal to receive the president.

In a related development, the former rebel veteran Suleiman Jamous who returned to Khartoum several months ago slammed the actions of "the dormant rebel cells" in Kalma camp saying the violent protests aimed to hamper the U.S. decision on the lift of sanctions next October.

"The movements want through these incidents to prove their presence in the media," said the former humanitarian secretary of the Justice and Equality Movement in statements to the semi-official SMC on Sunday.

Sudan’s Foreign Ministry Under-Secretary Abdel-Ghani al-Nai’m on Saturday told the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock that his government is making huge efforts to collect illegal arms, pointing to the presence of weapons inside IDPs camps and the danger it poses to lives of the camp’s residents.

He pointed that the security situation in Darfur is improving due to the success of the disarmament campaign, adding the government is making significant efforts to ensure that weapons are carried by the regular forces only.

Al-Nai’m said the recent visit of President al-Bashir to Darfur comes within the framework of the disarmament campaign and to urge the IDPs to choose from among the three available options.

He pointed out that the three options include the right for a voluntary return to their original villages, resettlement in the IDPs camps or integrating into communities of their choice.

The Sudanese diplomat added that his government top priority is to provide social services and launch development projects as well as preparing the new communities to integrate the IDPs.

He told the UN official that the Sudanese presidency is keen to promote peace and stability in Darfur, saying they work on a number of domains to achieve security, development and peace in the region.

Meanwhile, al-Nai’m underscored Sudan’s commitment to the United States proposal to deliver the humanitarian assistance to the needy population in the South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

He also briefed the UN official on the efforts made by Sudan to resolve the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan, pointing that his country hosts large numbers of South Sudanese refugees.

Al-Nai’m further invited Lowcock to visit Sudan as soon as possible to inspect the situation on the ground, calling on the UN to support his government efforts to reconstruct and develop areas affected by conflicts.

(ST)

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