Sudan

South Darfur displaced protest militia base in Dereig camp

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DEREIG CAMP (4 May.) - The residents of the Dereig camp for the displaced in Nyala locality, South Darfur, have begun an open-ended sit-in on Saturday in protest against the presence of a group of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) within the camp. On Sunday demonstrators from the camp intended to hand a memorandum to Unamid, but they were not allowed to enter and the memorandum was refused.

“A group of heavily armed RSF militia members in three armoured Land Cruisers entered the camp on Friday”, a Dereig camp sheikh reported to Radio Dabanga.

“Their commander told us that they would start on Saturday with the erection of a site within the camp. In response we decided to start a silent protest on Saturday morning. Shop owners closed their shops, and camp residents blocked the roads leading to the camp. We arranged a sit-in at the place where the RSF were planning to build their base.”

Over our dead bodies

On Sunday the camp population staged a demonstration against the RSF presence. They went to the nearby Unamid team site with the aim to hand a memorandum on the matter. “But Unamid closed its doors and refused to accept the memorandum,” the sheikh said.

He warned the authorities for the consequences of “what Hemeti’s RSF are doing”. He stressed that the camp residents “do not and will not allow him to establish a base for his militia inside the camp”. “Over our dead bodies.”

The camp sheikh demanded from the authorities to intervene and prevent the establishment of a militia base inside the camp, and appealed to Unamid and the UN to protect them.

Hemeti

Radio Dabanga reported in November and December that the commander of the Border Guards Mohamed Hamdan, better known as Hemeti, had recruited 5,000 to 6,000 young men in Darfur to receive a military training in Khartoum. Hemeti initially told them that they would be sent to fight the rebels in Darfur. Later they discovered that they were transported to war zones in South Kordofan.

Large numbers of these militiamen were stationed in the area near El Obeid, the capital of North Kordofan. After fierce protests of the population against their assaults, they, now named Rapid Support Forces, were expelled from North Kordofan mid February. From the end of February onwards, they attacked and destroyed, under the command of the National Intelligence and Security Service, hundreds of villages, and displaced more than 300,000 people in South and North Darfur.