NYALA (27 Mar.) - A Sudanese living in a Central African Republic (CAR) camp disclosed that 5,663 refugees have been uprooted from their homes because of the recent coup d’état in the country, adding they are now living in “deplorable” conditions.
Yousef Mohamed Abakar said that refugees living at the Bembere camp near CAR's capital Bangui where forced to leave the site when Seleka rebels took over the main town. They are now returning to the abandoned Samwinja camp, located near the Sudanese border.
Samwija was the first camp Sudanese refugees established in CAR. However, due to safety issues, agencies moved refugees to the Bembere camp and few people chose to stay behind.
Abakar said organizations left Samwija five years ago and the camp, which started receiving refugees again, does not have any kind of infrastructure.
The refugee spoke to Radio Dabanga after attending the Internally Displaced Persons and Refugees conference held in Nyala, South Darfur, on Monday and Tuesday, to which he claims not having been invited.
Abakar said he is the only refugee in CAR who attended the summit. He collected money from fellow refugees in the country to travel, “despite the critical conditions because of the coup”.
The refugee blamed the government and the chairman of the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) Dr. Tijani Sese for what is happening to the Sudanese people in CAR.
He believes organizers of the Nyala summit deliberately prevented him from expressing his opinions.
“The conference only concerned some 30 people” and refugees were excluded, Abakar said, adding displaced and refugees were not given the opportunity to draft resolutions.
Radio Dabanga spoke to 12 displaced who attended the Nyala conference, and many of them echoed Abakar’s claims.
“Most of the participants were affiliated to the ruling National Congress Party (NCP). They were not refugees or displaced”, a source was quoted as saying.
An interviewee said the displaced were not given enough opportunity or time to reflect their viewpoints. Another said displaced and refugees did not take part in drafting the summit’s final recommendations, which in turn did not contain their essential demands, “especially those related to voluntary return”.
The displaced and refugees who took part in the conference are said to have gathered and drafted their own memorandum that contains important demands that were “neglected”. They include security, disarmament of militias, and expulsion of new settlers.
The memorandum was reportedly submitted to the conference’s organizers.
Organized by the DRA with logistical support of UNAMID, the summit was aimed at discussing several topics of concern to displaced and refugees -including voluntary return- prior to the upcoming Donors Conference in Doha.