Yet again, Kalma camp for displaced persons—just outside Nyala, capital of South Darfur, has been the scene of deadly violence by Khartoum’s security forces—on this occasion, in connection with a speech my President and Genocidaire-in-Chief, Omar al-Bashir, who was speaking in Nyala.
According to Radio Dabanga, al-Bashir “addressed a mass public rally in Nyala yesterday, where he spoke of the return of the displaced to their villages of origin, and encouraged the state to develop formal housing for those who are eligible.” Predictably, al-Bashir made no mention of the many thousands of villages that have been destroyed by his army and militia forces—or the countless farms that have been violently expropriated by militia forces, some from outside Sudan (e.g., Chad, Niger, Mali).
Nor did al-Bashir mention the intolerable insecurity in most of Darfur that faces those attempting to return to their lands: violence in the form of raping girls and women (see | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1QG/), murder, extortion, and further destruction of property are the norm (see | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1P4/)—and UNAMID’s ongoing deployment out of Darfur ensures that insecurity in Darfur will only grow.
It is at this moment that the Trump administration is making its final decision to lift sanctions on the al-Bashir regime permanently—this in the interests of securing putative counter-terrorism intelligence from men who could hardly be more dishonest, and will abandon all terms specified for the permanent lifting of sanctions, once the decision is announced. There is no meaningful provision for the re-imposition of sanctions, no matter how egregiously offensive Khartoum’s behavior, in Darfur—or South Kordofan and Blue Nile. Despite the U.S. insistence on improved humanitarian access as a condition for lifting sanction, Khartoum maintains a humanitarian blockade on areas of the two regions controlled by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army-North (SPLM/A-N).
The violence at Kalma has many precedents (see especially my Wall Street Journal oped with Mia Farrow, below, on the terrible violence of August 2008; below the Radio Dabanga dispatch on the present Kalma violence). The international community seems not to care. The UN’s World Health Organization refuses to label the disease that has taken hold in Kalma as cholera, even as that is clearly the case. This, too, is at Khartoum’s behest, but WHO’s silence represents despicable, and deadly, cowardice.
Kalma is the emblem of Darfur, our clearest present picture of what the Khartoum regime has in store for the people of Darfur. And if the dismantling of camps such as Kalma—announced with emphatic insistence by the regime on a number of occasions—the final stage of the Darfur genocide will have begun.
South Darfur camp protest turns deadly, UNAMID calls for restraint
Radio Dabanga [ https://www.dabangasudan.org/en ] September 22, 2017 | NYALA
At least three people died in protests against a visit of the Sudanese president in Kalma camp in South Darfur. The African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur said it is deeply concerned about clashes between Sudanese government forces and displaced people. Approximately 26 others were wounded, according to the UNAMID peacekeeping mission in a press statement received by Radio Dabanga.
The Kalma camp coordinator released a statement earlier today reporting that five people were killed this morning, and 26 people sustained injuries. The coordinator provided the names of the deceased and said that the wounded are being treated in the UNAMID base in the camp. UNAMID urges all conflicting parties to exercise utmost restraint and “is doing everything it can to deescalate the situation. “I call upon everyone involved in this situation to restore calm as soon as possible. A peaceful resolution of differences is the only way forward for the Darfuri people,” said UNAMID Joint Special Representative, Jeremiah Mamabolo.
A medical team from UNAMID is currently in Kalma camp to assist local authorities in treating the injured. Furthermore, the mission engages with the state government and leaders of the displaced communities in an attempt to peacefully resolve the issue. The deadly incident reportedly occurred this morning after forces of the Sudanese government dispersed a group of displaced people who were protesting against the visit of the Sudanese president Omar Al Bashir to South Darfur. Al Bashir addressed a mass public rally in Nyala yesterday, where he spoke of the return of the displaced to their villages of origin, and encouraged the state to develop formal housing for those who are eligible.
[These are villages that in many thousands of cases have been destroyed by al-Bashir’s army and militias—ER]
On Monday, dozens of representatives of the camps for displaced people met in Kalma and handed a letter to UNAMID with the request to secure the peaceful marches that displaced people plan to hold, without the risk of being subjected to repressive or violent actions by riot police. The statement continues explaining that displaced decided to hold peaceful marches for a period of three days from today until Thursday – for this, they called on UNAMID to provide security during these days.
The request of the representatives to UNAMID to provide protection during the days of protests in Sept. 2017
Representatives of the displaced in South Darfur have been unambiguous in their rejection of Al Bashir’s visit. Sheikh Ali Abdelrahman El Tahir, the head of camp Kalma which has seen four days of protests, told Radio Dabanga yesterday that “President Al Bashir is not welcome in the South Darfur camps for the displaced,” he said. “We don’t want to see his face here.” Yagoub Abdallah Furi, the Coordinator of the Darfuri Camps, confirmed to Radio Dabanga that “the demonstrations will continue with the same force on Friday in conjunction with the announced visit of Al Bashir so that both local and international opinion will know what Kalma is talking about.”
[Date-stamped photos of victims of the attack, from Radio Dabanga and also as conveyed to me by a highly reliable source and taken at the scene, appear below—ER]
“Now Sudan Is Attacking Refugee Camps,” The Wall Street Journal, 6 September 2008
Eric Reeves and Mia Farrow http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122065894281205691.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
At 6am on the morning of August 25  Kalma camp, home to 90,000 displaced Darfuris, was surrounded by Sudanese government forces. By 7am, 60 heavily armed military vehicles had entered the camp, shooting and setting straw huts ablaze. Terrified civilians—who had previously fled their burning villages when they were attacked by this same government and its proxy killers the Janjaweed—hastily armed themselves with sticks, spears and knives. Of course, these were no match for machine guns and automatic weapons. By 9am, the worst of the brutal assault was over. The vehicles rolled out leaving scores dead and over 100 wounded. Most were women and children.
The early morning attack ensured that no aid workers were present as witnesses. Doctors Without Borders did manage to negotiate the transportation of 49 of the most severely wounded to a hospital in the nearby town of Nyala. But beyond this, aid workers have been blocked from entering the camp. Military vehicles have now increased in number and massed around Kalma. They have permitted no humanitarian assistance to reach the wounded. People already hard hit by recent floods and deteriorating sanitary conditions have received no food, water or medicine since Monday. The dead cannot even be buried with the white shrouds requested by the families of the victims.
How can such brazen cruelty be inflicted upon our fellow human beings? How is it that a military assault on displaced civilians in a refugee camp creates barely a ripple in the news cycle? How does such outrageous human destruction prompt so little outrage? How is it that those who have been tasked with protecting the world’s most vulnerable population have failed—and failed, and then failed yet again—in their central responsibility? What does this say about the United Nations and the powerful member states? How have we come to such a moment?
Such questions can be answered by looking at our response to Darfur’s agony over the past six years. Any honest assessment would be as shocking and dispiriting as the assault on Kalma itself. The international response to massive crimes by Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and his cabal has been simply this: We accommodate and acquiesce, with the contrived hope that these tyrants might grow weary of their task, or that paper agreements can somehow have meaning without a sustained and powerful international commitment backing them.
The Kalma massacre is a part of Khartoum’s larger genocidal campaign. Since 2003, 80% – 90% of Darfur’s African villages have been destroyed, and more than 2.5 million survivors have fled to squalid camps across Darfur, eastern Chad and the Central African Republic. Hundreds of thousands have died. Khartoum’s next goal is to shut down camps in Darfur, and force people out into the desert where they cannot survive. The homes and fields that once sustained so many of Darfur’s people are ashes now, or they have new occupants—Arab tribes from Darfur and as far away as Chad, Niger and Mali.
The message of the Kalma massacre is chillingly clear for Darfuris. But this assault on civilians in full view of the international community raises the question of what the massacre says about the rest of us. The only message we have sent to the Sudanese government is that they can now attack the camps and the world will watch and do nothing.
[Ms. Farrow has just returned from her 10th trip to the Darfur region. Mr. Reeves is author of “A Long Day’s Dying: Critical Moments in the Darfur Genocide” (The Key Publishing House, 2007)]
(c) 2017 SUDAN Research, Analysis, and Advocacy