Tensions remain high in Darfur's embattled Kalma camp

10:55, August 24, 2010      

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While tensions in South Sudan's embattled Kalma camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) remain high, the UN Security Council on Monday met behind closed doors to discuss the fragile humanitarian situation in the region.

Two days ago, 13 IDP houses were burnt to the ground in one area of the camp, which is located near South Darfur State's capital of Nyala, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters here.

Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman, the Sudanese ambassador to the UN, condemned the recent outbreak of violence on behalf of the Sudanese government.

"We are concerned with people who are armed in the camps, we also call for the demilitarization of the camps," he told reporters following the Council's consultations.

Deadly clashes erupted in the Kalma camp in late July, following the latest round of peace negotiations in Qatar's capital of Doha.

Protesters of the Abdul-Wahid Mohamed el-Nur faction of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) who felt they were inadequately represented in the Doha talks, faced off with supporters of the peace negotiations in gun-battles that resulted in the deaths of eight IDPs.

Vitaly Churkin, the Russian UN ambassador who holds the rotating Security Council presidency for August, issued a statement calling for calm in an increasingly fragile situation.

"(The members of the Council) called for enhanced cooperation among all parties concerned to insure that assistance is given to the people in need," said Churkin. "They urged all parties to join the Doha process, resolve their differences from dialogue and refrain from violence."

Churkin reiterated concern over the transfer of weapons coming and out of IDP camps, particularly in Kalma.

"Weapons are flowing all over the place, not just in the camps but also outside of the camps," he said.

Meanwhile, the joint UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) remains locked in a diplomatic confrontation with the government of South Darfur State, after the mission harbored six IDPs that have been accused by Sudanese authorities of instigating the July clashes in Kalma.

UNAMID has since continued to shelter the six people, despite the government's demand that they be handed over to Sudanese officials.

"Supporters of the Abdul-Wahid faction committed these crimes inside the camps," Ambassador Osman said on Monday. "We requested that UNAMID hand them over to the government, the government will insure very just trials for those elements and its responsibility to insure justice, and to put an end to any atrocities in the camps."

However, the UN spokesman reiterated the mission's concern over the IDP's security, noting that UNAMID maintains its position in harboring the six individuals.

"There are concerns for their safety and for due process, and that's a key part of the question," Nesirky said.

However, the situation for the 50,000 people that remain inside of the Kalma camp remains dire.

"The humanitarian situation at Kalma is still fragile. Aid workers have been granted access to the camp, but some of the assistance is not getting through," said Nesirky.

Source: Xinhua


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