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EXCLUSIVE: UNAMID strongly resists Sudan’s demand to surrender IDP camp sheiks


August 5, 2010 (WASHINGTON) — The head of the joint African Union - United Nations mission in Darfur (UNAMID) Ibrahim Gambari informed Khartoum today that it is in their best interest to drop their demand to hand over six individuals residing in a Darfur IDP camp, Sudan Tribune has learned.

More than half a dozen of people were killed last week when clashes broke out reportedly between supporters of Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) headed by Abdel-Wahid Al-Nur Nur and those of Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) which is the only group in peace talks with the Sudanese government in Doha. Supporters of the former contests the IDPs representation by the second group.

The governor of South Darfur Abdel-Hamid Musa Kasha blasted UNAMID and accused it of failing to discharge its mandate and threatened to storm the camp and take custody of the six IDP’s he claimed to be behind the violence that broke out.

However, Gambari received instructions from the United Nations leadership on the response he is to convey to the Sudanese government regarding the request. On Thursday, the top UNAMID official met with the Sudanese interior minister Ibrahim Mahmood Hamid for discussions on the recent events.

A well placed source in New York revealed to Sudan Tribune the talking points provided by the office of the United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) to Gambari reflecting the world body’s position on Khartoum’s request regarding the six individuals.

UNAMID has a responsibility to protect civilians. We are concerned that the arrest of the sheikhs will further inflame the situation in Kalma and lead to more violence.

We recognise of course the prerogatives of the Sudanese justice system and UNAMID’s obligation to respect Sudanese jurisdiction in this case. However, we cannot hand over the sheikhs unless key legal conditions are met, namely that:

1. The request be made formally to the Secretary-General
through the Sudanese Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

2. The request is to be accompanied by a bona fide warrant
based on bona fide criminal charges (issued by a judicial
officer based on charges filed by the prosecution).

The Government of Sudan must commit in writing to

a) Take all necessary measures to ensure their protection and safety;

b) Ensure they are not subjected to torture or to any form of inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment;

c) Bring them to trial in accordance with international standards of justice,
fairness and due process of law.;

d) Grant UNAMID permission to visit them and monitor their conditions of
detention and

e) Guarantee that no sentence of death shall be carried out on any of

For the time being these conditions have not been met. In the event that the government can comply with the above, UNAMID will be willing to reassess the situation, though we will need time to evaluate any documents.

Of course, rather than this legal route, it would be preferable to find ways to de-escalate the situation politically.

Further violence is not in the government’s interests; it will undermine the Doha process, increase support for anti-Doha elements and inflame tensions in other parts of Darfur. The government should therefore cease its insistence on the handover of the five sheikhs (and one woman).

The government’s concerns regarding the instability of Kalma and flow of arms in the camp are legitimate. However, efforts by the Government to exert control over the camp are likely to be counter-productive. We hope we can work together to find ways to bring the situation under control.

It is important to address this situation at the level of Khartoum, recognizing the serious implications for Doha and the broader situation in Darfur.

The response of the United Nations will likely infuriate the Sudanese government which has insisted at the highest levels including president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir that UNAMID complies with its request. Khartoum had previously announced several retaliatory measures including monitoring travel of UNAMID personnel and searching their bags. They would also have to inform the government before moving on roads even within South Darfur’s capital Nyala.

The United Nations spokesperson Martin Nesirky said that these restrictions if imposed would be a violation of the Status of Force Agreement (SOFA) signed with Khartoum in February 2008.

The Sudanese interior minister was quoted by state agency (SUNA) as expressing to Gambari his confidence in UNAMID’s cooperation with the local police in preserving security in the IDP camps. He made no reference to the demand for handing the wanted IDP’s.

The content of UN’s response to Khartoum reflects worries that any further escalation in the Kalma situation would kill any chances of SLM-Nur joining the peace process. The exiled rebel leader has in the past rejected any negotiations unless security is achieved on the ground in Darfur.

The Kalma camp is located near Nyala, the capital of South Darfur, and is home to about 90,000 people, most of whom are supporters of Al-Nur. Sudanese government forces targeted the camp in a raid that killed dozens of residents in August 2008.

A breakthrough meeting between Al-Nur and a senior Qatari official in Paris earlier this month raised hopes that the former may ultimately end up at the negotiation table. Any attempt on the part of Khartoum to resort to force to take out the six IDP’s may move him further away from this direction.

Yesterday, the SLM chief praised the position of UNAMID on the wanted individuals in rare positive remarks towards the peacekeeping force.

UNAMID has revealed that Sudanese authorities blocked any aid organization from entering the camp to deliver humanitarian aid.


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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 6 August 2010 06:17, by Gatwech

    Khartoum should be careful not to provoke the UN. The situation may get worse and prompt the UN to review its forces mandate in Darfur to a more powerful mandate that would deal with Khartoum. Will that be good for you NCP’s thugs?

    Please comply with the UN. Stop messing up around in every region of Sudan.

    Darfur will soon call for self-determination.

    repondre message

  • 6 August 2010 06:25, by telfajbago

    • The Government of Sudan must commit in writing to

    a) Take all necessary measures to ensure their protection and safety;

    b) Ensure they are not subjected to torture or to any form of inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;

    c) Bring them to trial in accordance with international standards of justice, fairness and due process of law.;

    d) Grant UNAMID permission to visit them and monitor their conditions of detention and

    e) Guarantee that no sentence of death shall be carried out on any of them:

    Why putting conditions to hand over innocent IDPs to genocidal regime in the first place? This act is it not the beginning of creating bad blood between the UNAMID and the people on the ground by Khartoum? Who will say that the UNAMID is there to protect if these people is handed to their killers? Nobody. UNAMID, UN you have a responsibility to ensure that the IDPs of the camps are treated as dignified people entitled to human right protections; and putting in mind that, it’s Khartoum government which committed genocide against the survivors, therefore handing them over to the regime under any conditions, whatsoever, will be consider a criminal act or direct conspiracy to kill them. Gambari we know the mentality of Khartoum very well, they will put a lot of pressure to hand over these people, put take it from my mouth, the day you hand over these people to the criminals of Khartoum, it will be the end of the UNAMID in Darfur.

    repondre message

  • 6 August 2010 07:43, by Kur

    Those Darfuri Shiekhs have done nothing other than the fact that they want to stand up against injustice. Khartoum kills and tortures prisoners. The UN therefore is responsible for the safety of those shiekhs and that courageous woman of Darfur. They should never be handed over to that merciless regime of killers. They have no justice in their hands but the blood of innocent people.
    Innocent people are not supposed to surrender themselves to criminals. It is those criminals who are supposed to surrender themselves to the ICC.


    repondre message

  • 6 August 2010 08:40, by DASODIKO

    Haaa, The world most wanted criminal Bashir is adviced to write a formal letter to UN Secreatary General Moon; through his Foreign Minister Karti; who himself is wanted by the ICC for commiting Genocide against 2 Millions of women and children in South Sudan,to hand over the innocent Kalma IDPs camp leaders. What a funny request!!!!

    Well done UNAMID these advices from International Community will help you to do your job properly. Keep up men you will be proud of your work one day if you continue in such manners.

    repondre message

    • 6 August 2010 14:12, by okucu pa lotinokwan

      This immediately show to the whole world that Khartoum government are not ready for any peace in Darfur despite the fact that, those wanted by Khartoum are the very people who have participated in the peace talk in Doha,how come about to demand for person coming from peace talk and going back to his home.UNMID should not listen to any nonsense wheather means fighting let them resist it.
      Bashir with all his alliance are to face ICC,this is their time to do any things on the Darfurian people,but their day will come where they will test the same soup.God help your suffering children in the hand of bloody people.


      repondre message

  • 6 August 2010 16:42, by telfajbago

    The Government has declared all-out war against the civilians in Darfur, today a round nine O’clock the Government antinovs bombarded the areas of Dirrrbat as a result three villages were burned completely to ashes Dalu and Nou village, plus another village. Five civilian reported dead and seven others injured, it’s Gazi’s domestication of Darfur peace working these days in Darfur at it’s best as the regime currently carried out hundreds arbitrarily arrests in different Darfur towns and cities.

    repondre message

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