UNAMID JSR consults Transitional Government of Sudan on defusing tension in Kalma IDPs Camp

Photo by Nizar Saied Ahmed.

Photo by Nizar Saied Ahmed.

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17 Jun 2020

UNAMID JSR consults Transitional Government of Sudan on defusing tension in Kalma IDPs Camp

Following the killing incident at the Kalma Camp for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in south Darfur on 11 June and the probability of a revenge attack by aggrieved parties, UNAMID Joint Special Representative/Joint Chief Mediator (JSR/JCM), Jeremiah Mamabolo, on 14 June, engaged in a series of high-level consultations with officials of the Transitional Government of Sudan (TGoS) to immediately chart a joint way forward to mitigate the palpable tension in the IDP Camp and to allow the due process of the law to take its course.

In JSR Mamabolo’s meeting with the Commander of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), who is also the member of the Sudanese Sovereignty Council, Lt. General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (Hemeti), at the RSF Headquarters in Khartoum, Mr. Mamabolo acknowledged the swift intervention of the RSF  to create an outer-perimeter buffer zone around the Kalma IDPs Camp while UNAMID patrolled the camp; in order to prevent potential reprisals from the aggrieved party. JSR Mamabolo also proposed the establishment of a tripartite mechanism, comprising the TGoS, IDPs leadership and UNAMID to enable the relevant Sudanese judicial authorities to investigate the incident and ensure accountability and the prevalence of justice.

In his response, General Hemedti appreciated the existing collaboration with UNAMID, especially the quick deployment of the Mission’s troops to Kalma IDPs Camp to contain the volatile situation. He deplored the proliferation of firearms in the IDPs Camp and requested UNAMID to assist the TGoS competent authorities in identifying and apprehending the perpetrators.

JSR/JCM Mamabolo clarified UNAMID’s responsibility in the IDPs camp by indicating that whilst the Mission provides physical protection for the IDPs and other civilians, it does not have the authority to arrest individuals ; reiterating that UNAMID only complements the efforts of the Government which has the primary responsibility for protecting civilians in the country. In the same vein, Mr Mamabolo stated  that the presence of weapons or armed elements – criminal or otherwise – inside an IDP camp is a clear violation of international humanitarian laws and urged the IDP leaders at Kalma camp to cooperate with UNAMID and the Sudanese authorities to restore the arms-free status of this humanitarian space. He also warned against the consequences of harbouring arms or armed criminals inside the camp.  

Later the same day, Mr. Mamabolo held further consultations with some members of Council of Ministers where he met with the Minister of Cabinet Affairs, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Justice, as well as the Attorney General, along with  other senior government officials.

The Ministers collectively commended UNAMID’s prompt intervention to prevent the situation from escalating through the deployment of its troops in and around the IDPs Camp and securing the crime scene. They strongly condemned the wanton killing of the two people in the Camp and insisted on UNAMID handing over the alleged perpetrators of the killings, citing the lack of access by government entities into the Camp. 

“The essence of my consultation with the TGoS is to map out collaborative strategies to prevent such tragedies in the future and enhance the rule of law in the Mission’s Area of Responsibility. To prevent and mitigate such situations, I strongly suggest the formation of a joint tripartite mechanism involving the TGoS, UNAMID and the IDPs to chart an amicable way forward and further complement current Government’s protection of civilians efforts,” JSR Mamabolo clarified to the Ministers.

All parties present at the meeting agreed to form two committees: one committee to focus on the conduct of the investigation into circumstances surrounding the killing incident with the objective of and handing over suspects, who should have their day in court. This committee, to be led by the country’s Attorney General, will comprise members from the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Ministry of Justice. The second committee, under the leadership of the Ministry of Justice, will be responsible for assessing the security situation in all the IDP camps in Darfur, and will commence its work once the current government COVID-19 travel restrictions are lifted in order to work on the longer term protection of civilians gaps once UNAMID concludes its term in Darfur.

UNAMID will be represented in both committees, in a supportive role and will provide required technical and logistical assistance to the Transitional Government of Sudan, as required.