28 December 2012

Sudan: Ronga Tas Camp in Darfur Surrounded By Military Forces and Border Guards

Zalingei — Armed forces, police forces and border guards are surrounding a camp of internally displaced people in Ronga Tas, Central Darfur.

The authorities have announced to continue its siege until 27 persons are handed over to the police, who are being accused of organizing demonstrations against the government's plans for restructuring and remodeling the camp. The estimated 33,000 people living in the camp have refused a voluntary relocation to a place that is not their place of origin, they told Radio Dabanga.

The displaced started a demonstration today (Thursday 27 December) inside the camp and in the direct surroundings of the camp. During the demonstration the protesters destroyed the foundation stone for restructuring and remodeling of the camp, which was placed by the head of the Darfur Regional Authority, Tijani Sese, together with the ambassador of Qatar, as well as some other stones marking the new area. The protesters shouted slogans: "No for planning, No for voluntary return, No to police, No to Sese, No to Doha". A local camp leader said the displaced would rather die than leave. He told Radio Dabanga that they would only return to 'their real places of origin security provided'.

According to witnesses, the commissioner of Asum locality that administers Garsila, Abu Gasim Suar, has tried today to enter the camp, but the protesters prevented this move. As a response the government ordered Military Security Forces to encircle the camp to prevent movements outside of the camp. The commissioner himself was spotted wearing a military uniform while carrying a Kalashnikov. The displaced received a list with the names of 27 people to be arrested accused for organizing the demonstration.

The besieged population told Radio Dabanga that the UN peacekeeping mission, UNAMID, should act immediately in order to protect the people.

The problems in Ronga Tas camp in Central Darfur started earlier this month when they were promised to receive medical help for fighting the impetigo skin disease that leads to itching, hair loss and 'creates circular shapes with muddy color' on the scalp. The disease began spreading three years ago in the camp, especially among children aged between two and twelve. According to the displaced the health authorities promised to send a medical team to the camp to assess the spread of impetigo cases sometime ago, but the team has not yet arrived.

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