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South Darfur governor reiterates threats to dismantle Kalma camp

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April 26, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The governor of South Darfur State Adam al-Faki Thursday repeated threats that his government is determined to dismantle Kalama camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and threatened to arrest the camp’s leaders who are accused of inciting the residents to reject returning to their areas of origin.

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South Darfur governor Adam al-Faki (ST Photo)

Despite the improvement of the security situation in Darfur region, the displaced people remain in the IDPs camps, pointing to the continued insecurity and attacks by gunmen. They also ask for financial compensations, and to provide them with basic services.

But government officials accuse rebel supporters inside the camps of manipulating the IDPs and use them as a political expression of their demands and to sabotage the government’s plans to end the conflict.

Addressing a group of IDPs who accepted to return to their villages in Dgraiss area, 25 km south of Nyala on Thursday, al-Faki said that his government would close Kalma camp within the framework of a presidential plan to dismantle Darfur camps before the end of 2018.

He further said the security forces would conduct a weapons collection operation within the coming weeks in the troubled camp of Kalma which was described in the past as a "rebels’ hideout".

The governor stressed that the security forces would arrest wanted individuals and called on the IDPs to return to their areas and evacuate the camps before the launch of the operations of dismantlement.

The Sudanese government and the UN agreed to not force the IDPs to return to their area of origin and vowed to work together to create the necessary conditions for the voluntary return.

Concerning the Kalma camp, which is one of the largest in camps Darfur and home of around 100,000 people, the government, UNAMID and the leaders of the camp agreed not to forcefully collect weapons without prior consultations with the peacekeeping mission or the IDPs representatives.

Until now, no weapons search has been implemented inside the camp despite the conduct of similar operations in different camps in the whole Darfur region.

The governor said his government is now preparing prison cells in the famous Suakin Prison in eastern Sudan for 300 persons for those who resist the government policies.

He further advised the returnees not to listen to those who incite them to resist the voluntary return programme.

Sudanese security forces killed several residents of Kalama camp during a visit of President Omer al-Bashir to their area in September 2017.

The Kalma camp was the theatre of bloody clashes between the supporters of the holdout rebels and those who joined the Doha peace process in 2010.

Also in August 2009, the camp witnessed one of the most bloody clashes between the residents and the Sudanese security forces that resulted to the death of some 30 people and many others wounded.

Mohamed Issa Solbang, humanitarian secretary of Kalma camp committee denounced the statements of Governor al-Faki.

"The state government plans to commit again genocide and crimes against humanity," he told Sudan Tribune on Thursday evening.

Issa stressed that the displaced people are more interested by the voluntary return than the government but the lack of security forces them to remain in the camps.

(ST)

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