Military raid on South Darfur’s Kalma camp; Unamid measures ‘to mitigate impact’
On Thursday, government forces raided Kalma camp for the displaced in Nyala locality, South Darfur. For more than three hours they scoured the camp, horrifying the camp residents.
Speaking to Radio Dabanga, Saleh Eisa, Secretary-General of Kalma camp reported that government forces in 17 armoured vehicles entered into camp. “About 40 armoured vehicles were stationed around the camp. The forces searched the camp for more than three hours, frightening the camp residents terribly.”
The residents of Kalma camp hold Unamid responsible for any harm afflicted to the displaced. Eisa said that after the raids on El Salam camp and Dereig camp, located near South Darfur’s capital of Nyala, the Kalma camp elders contacted Unamid.
“Unamid officers confirmed to us that the government forces would not enter Kalma camp. They said that we could remove the barricades we had put around the camp as protection. After we had removed them, the camp was suddenly raided by heavily armed soldiers.”
“We have told Unamid earlier that we reject any military entering the camp. If there would be any inspection required, it could be handled by Unamid police. In case there would be offenders, we will hand them to Unamid, not to any other party”, Eisa stressed.
Meanwhile, the Emergency Court in Nyala sentenced two residents of El Salam camp, Yousif Adam El Sayer, and Adouma Ibrahim to two years imprisonment, and a fine of SDG 2,000 ($350) after they had been detained during the raid by government forces and militias of El Salam camp on 5 August.
Sheikh Mahjoub Adam Tabaldiya of El Salam camp reported that camp resident Mohamed Adam Eisa, also detained during the raid, was transferred to Khartoum. “We do not know what happened to him, and fear he may be subjected to torture.”
Tabaldiya appealed to human rights organisations and activists to intervene for the sake of Mohamed Adam Eisa, and the “unjustly convicted by the military court in Nyala”.
In a press release issued today, Unamid expresses its concerns about the security raids, “recently conducted by the Government of Sudan on internally displaced people (IDP) camps in Nyala and surrounding localities in South Darfur; due to their possible impact on the civilian population”.
The joint AU-UN peacekeeping mission announced it has taken measures to mitigate the impact of such operations on the civilian population of these camps.
Following the security raid on El Salam camp during which displaced were arrested for alleged possession of illegal drugs, weapons and ammunition, “Unamid monitored the trials of those arrested during the operation; most of who have since been released”. “Unamid has been engaging relevant state authorities on the conditions of those still being detained.”
The peacekeeping mission stated that security raids have been conducted in Otash and Dereig camps and are part of a wider campaign by the South Darfur authorities to address the high level of criminality in the state, especially around Nyala.
“The security raids have generated alarm and anxiety amongst IDPs in Kalma camp, who are anticipating a similar operation at their camp and have expressed their concerns to Unamid.”
In a recent statement to the media, the AU-UN Joint Special Representative for Darfur, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, said that “while the Sudanese law enforcement authorities have the right to pursue criminals and apprehend them, as is the case in any other sovereign state, the Government has to guarantee that these activities are carried out respecting human rights and observing international humanitarian law; especially in the vulnerable IDP communities”, the Unamid press release of today reported.
Ibn Chambas reminded the camp population that harbouring, aiding, or abetting offenders who possess weapons contravenes international humanitarian law, and that such weaponry should not be stored, handled or trafficked in the camps for the displaced.
“Consequently, Unamid has engaged the local authorities in South Darfur, in accordance with its protection of civilians’ mandate, and demanded that if there were a need for such selective searches, these should be conducted in coordination with the camp leaders and the Mission.”
Unamid continues to “conduct 24/7 patrols at the camp, and monitor the situation closely”.
File photo: Newly displaced at Kalma camp. They fled the widespread attacks by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces on their villages in the areas southeast of Nyala on 27 and 28 February 2014 (Albert González Farran/Unamid)
Sudan activists campaign for release of political detainees (12 August 2014)
Military raid on South Darfur’s Dereig camp (11 August 2014)
Military raid on South Darfur camp ‘a farce’: Sheikh (7 August 2014)
Military raid on South Darfur’s El Salam camp (5 August 2014)
‘Criminals flee South Darfur capital’ (5 August 2014)
Strict security measures in South Darfur capital (28 July 2014)