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Kalma IDPs call to task UNAMID with weapons search operation

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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)
November 14, 2017 (NYALA) - The residents of South Darfur largest camp for displaced people have rejected a forcible arms collection campaign the authorities plan to carry out in Kalma during the upcoming days and called to leave the operation for the hybrid peacekeeping mission (UNAMID).

The IDPs are reacting to a meeting held at the Sudanese presidency to discuss ways to conduct the campaign in the IDPs camps in Darfur including Vice President Hasabo Abdel Rahman, South Darfur Governor Adam al-Faki and UNAMID head Jeremiah Mamabolo.

The IDPs spokesperson Hussein Abu Sharati said the camps are free of weapons and saying that the weapons search operation the authorities plan to carry out aims to dismantle the camp.

"Talk of weapons in Kalma is just an open pretext for the South Darfur government to dismantle the camp after failing to persuade the displaced to return to their villages under the name of voluntary repatriation programme," he told Sudan Tribune.

Abu Sharati added that the voluntary return the government wants to implement is fraught with great dangers for the lives of civilians, stressing that "many of their areas are still under the control of others who refuse to leave."

The IDPs spokesperson is alluding to the nomads who settled in the fertile areas abandoned by the IDPs who fled attacks by the government militias during the years of the counterinsurgency campaign.

The Sudanese army and government militia have launched the forcible weapons collection campaign which is the second phase a large scale operation aiming to restore peace and to end tribal violence in the region.

The South Darfur government said they would inspect Kalma camp located outside Nyala pointing to the presence of arms inside the camp which is accused of harbouring some activists loyal to the armed groups.

Abu Sharati He called on the UNAMID forces" as a neutral body", to take over the weapons search operation in the camp, pointing out that "Kalma is safe and there has been no security breach, as it is the case from time to time in (the state capital), Nyala" which is at 17 km from the camp.

He further disclosed that the UNAMID mission held several meetings with the IDPs to discuss the decision of the South Darfur government to inspect the camp, adding the camp leaders rejected the intervention of the government forces in Kalma.

He emphasized that conduct of the arms search by the state government may endanger the lives of displaced persons, calling on the international community and human rights organizations to stand with the displaced to protect them.

UNAMID called on the Sudanese government and the IDPs to work with the Mission “in a collaborative way in order to advance the weapons collection campaign.”

The call came after a show of force by the Sudanese government forces which surround some parts of the camp before to withdraw on 2 November.

The camp residents protested in the past several times against the presence of the government forces. In August 2008, the police killed over 40 IDPs who objected a weapons search operation in the camp.

Recently, the government forces killed three civilians during a protest against a visit of the Sudanese president to the area last September.

(ST)

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