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South Darfur governor is determined to dismantle IDPs camps


Governor El Faki is Determined to in Darfur against All International Conventions.

By Abdullahi Osman El-Tom

A week, or so, ago, Governor of South Darfur, Adam El Faki stunned the IDPs of Darfur in general and those of Kalma camp in particular with his decision to forcibly dismantle all IDP camps in Darfur within the year 2018 and Kalma camp within a fortnight. Kalma camp, 17k east of Nyala houses over 130,000 inhabitants. The IDPs are yearning to go back to their original villages, now occupied by new settlers. As expected, and indeed affirmed by all international conventions on refugees and IDPs, Darfur IDPs maintain legitimate demands. These consist of security arrangements, the removal of Janjaweed and other hostile settlers and, of course, provision of basic services. It is to be noted that public amenities in the area including clinics, wells and schools have been deliberately destroyed by government forces and their Janjaweed allies.

El Faki’s decision comes as no surprise to the IDPs and Human Rights activists. That is so because it has been abundantly clear that the Regime is bent to dismantle the IDP camps which remain as a symbol of its atrocious crimes in Darfur. To implement its decision, the regime is determined to use all means, including violence, and in complete disregard to the International Humanitarian Law and the other conventions that protect IDPs and refugees against forced return.

Governor El Faki’s history is dotted with massacres, ethnic cleansing and blatant breaching of human rights. Prior to his appearance in South Darfur, he worked as a senior security agent, second only to the Governor, in South Kordofan and was credited with atrocious assaults on Nuba villages, in addition to those who were accused of being sympathetic to the SPLM. His aptitude for brutality comes from his mentor Ahmed Haroun, the previous Governor of South Kordofan. Haroun must have found it easy to mentor his already half-baked, El Faki, for the latter is a graduate of one of the many Wahabi colleges of Saudi Arabia. In the name of Jihadist ideology of the Wahabis, he is attuned to massacring the Christian and Pagan Nuba opponents, and the Muslims of Darfur are not spared either. His mentor, Haroun, is one of four Government personnel who were indicted by the ICC for crimes against humanity in Darfur. To this day, he is still at large, a trusted confidant of Al Bashir and retains the post of Governor of North Kordofan.

El Faki endeared himself to Al Bashir by organizing a presidential visit to the State of South Darfur in September 2017. The botched visit was a disaster for Kalma residents who had resolutely refused to welcome Genocidaire Al Bashir at their camp, the very man who had orchestrated their ejection from their lands in the first place. In a punitive mission, El Faki unleashed his notorious forces against Kalma protestors, killing six on the spot, with four dying later, not to mention the additional injury of more than 30 others. UNAMID, located within eye-sight of the attack, released its usual lukewarm “Deeply Concerned” statement shortly afterwards. It shamefully described the assault as a “CLASH”, presumably between two equal parties. It was as though the violence was not one-sided!

The Governor’s decision to dismantle Kalma and other IDP camps by force is yet to draw a strong response from UMAMID, Rights groups or other agents of the international community. If these bodies are still duped by previous agreements with the Khartoum government, we urge them loudly to wake up. As we all know, Sudan has concluded an agreement with the UNAMID, the UN and leaders of Kalma IDPs to opt only for voluntary repatriation, without the use of force or disguised pressure. The history of Al Bashir and his government is telling and can hardly escape anyone who is willing to learn and understand. If the Khartoum government is good and consistent in anything at all throughout its close to 30-year history, it is in their utter disregard for any accord or agreement they sign with other parties.

Additionally, El Faki did not mince his words regarding his intent to dismantle Kalma and other IDP camps. His plan is to remove the camps either way, voluntarily or otherwise. He told the IDPs that he has already reserved 300 cells in Sawakin prison in Eastern Sudan for camp leaders who oppose repatriation and the planes have already been commissioned to transport any uncooperative chiefs to their new destination.

As far as safety fears of the IDPs are concerned, Governor El Faki has his answer ready. He gave them a chilling example of his response to an earlier appeal of IDP returnees for protection against Janjaweed atrocities stating:
“A couple of days ago in the morning, returnees from Marla area came to me in Nyala, complaining about someone who had his leg broken. I asked them if they were reporting any death to which they said no. I then told them not to come unless they have a minimum of ten persons killed because the government cannot protect everyone” (Radio Dabanga).

The message is then clear, for the IDPs, UNAMID and the international community. Kalma returnees should be ready to expect, and even sustain, the killing of less than ten people in each village, alongside looting, rape and other forms of oppression, without bothering his Excellency, El Faki. The ceiling for justified complaints is now set at the loss of ten lives or more. That is the minimum security protection the governor can offer Darfur IDP returnees, full stop.

The UN has also assured Kalma IDPs of the government’s commitment to provide a stimulant of public services back home, but, a careful examination of El Faki’s words indicates otherwise. Focussing on killings of ten or more, before he deems it fit to intervene, El Faki is simply too dumb or perhaps too inhumane to contemplate the more lethal killers such as the lack of health care, potable water and education services. The IDPs simply have to do without such services and at their peril.

The international community must act and do so as fast as it can. Global leaders in the UN, EU, USA, Human Rights and UNAMID must rush to prevent Governor El Faki and the Regime in Khartoum proceeding along with this catastrophic plan. I concede that this is a tall order but it has to be voiced and as loudly as possible. The fate of Darfur IDPs depends on the resolve of such global leaders; their humaneness, civility and the very willingness to protect the weakest among us, such as the IDPs of Darfur.

The author is the Secretary for Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation. He can be reached at : Abdullahi.eltom@mu.ie

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