20 September 2017

Sudan: Al Bashir in Darfur - Sudan-Chad Border 'A Model of Security'

El Geneina / Foro Baranga — Sudan's President Omar Al Bashir says that the border between Sudan and Chad is no longer a conduit for illegal weapons, stolen vehicles, and armed rebel groups, but "a model for establishing security" thanks to the joint Sudan-Chad border force.

Al Bashir was addressing a mass public rally in El Moulid Square of El Geneina, capital of West Darfur yesterday, as part of a controversial multi-day visit to the region.

He called on people of West Darfur "to raise the slogan of a state without displaced persons or refugees and directed the governor of the state to work-out a housing plan to accommodate eligible persons and displaced persons". He reiterated that the state is in the process of extending security and collecting and legalising weapons and vehicles.

He stressed that Sudan's borders with the neighbouring state of Chad will no longer be a crossing point for arms or a haven for opposition groups, thanks to the efforts of the joint Sudanese-Chadian border force.

Foro Baranga

Al Bashir visited Foro Baranga in West Darfur today, where he affirmed the Presidency's support for the voluntary return of displaced citizens to their home areas and villages, appreciating the efforts exerted by the government of West Darfur State to facilitate the voluntary return of the displaced people and to provide them with the necessary services.

The official Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reports that at a public rally in Foro Baranga, Al Bashir called on the people of Foro Baranga locality to support the programmes of the West Darfur government which is led by Wali (Governor) Fadlal-Moula Al Haja for meeting the citizens' aspirations.

The president directed the Ministry of Transport, Roads and Bridges to conduct studies for establishing Kaja Bridge which links between Forbaranga and a number of Chadian areas for easing the movement of citizens and commodities between Sudan and Chad.

He also gave a directive for reactivating the Andarero agricultural project to guarantee food security in the area, and directed banks to open branches in Foro Baranga locality.

Al Bashir is expected to visit Nyala in South Darfur on Thursday, and the nearby Kalma camp for the displaced on Friday, where peaceful demonstrations are being staged ahead of his visit.

Kalma protest

The residents of Kamla camp have responded to appeals to hold peaceful demonstrations against Al Bashir's visit. According to Yagoub Furi, coordinator-general of the Darfur Displaced and Refugees Association, an estimated 200,000 people participated in a 10km-long peaceful protest march (see video).

Further peaceful protests are planned for Thursday and Friday. Protestors chanted slogans calling for Al Bashir's extradition to the International Criminal Court (ICC), describing him as a war criminal and a genocide murderer in the province. They carried banners demanding justice and rights. The presence of UN blue helmets showed that the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (Unamid) responded to appeals by the displaced to provide protection to the demonstrators. Last wek, the displaced handed a letter requesting Unamid "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".

'Severe provocation'

Sheikh Ali Abdelrahman El Tahir, the head of camp Kalma, said the visit is "a severe provocation; given the regime's massacres, genocide and crimes against humanity in many areas that have forced the displaced people to flee the camps".

The spokesman for the Darfur Displaced and Refugees Association, Hussein Abusharati, said to Radio Dabanga the demonstrations are rejecting Al Bashir's visit to the camp without any prelude or announcement to the camp through the UN mission.

"We reject the government's interference in the camps through the speeches addressed to international community and international organisations."

'Al Bashir trying to improve his image'

He told Radio Dabanga that "The march that started at camp Kalma against Al Bashir's visit will not stop for three days". He said. "I say the cover has been removed from those who ate the government's money claiming that they are leaders in the camp, the government has to ask them for another camp Kalma to visit."

Yesterday the Association issued a statement describing Al Bashir's visit as a provocation to the feelings of the victims who have been displaced from their villages and areas, fled the abuses and injustices carried out by the pro-government tribal militias, the administering, funding and guiding from the leadership of the government which has been providing support, weapons and cover for the perpetrators of atrocities against innocent people in Darfur, South Kordofan and the Blue Nile.

The statement said the aim of Al Bashir's visit to the camps is "to try to improve his image in the United States so as to lift the sanctions imposed against his failing regime and not for the people of Darfur".

The statement called on Al Bashir to comply with international justice, surrender himself to the international courts immediately and recognise the crimes he has committed in Darfur.

Cutting ribbons

According to the Information Minister of West Darfur, during his visit, Al Bashir will officially open the new road between the state capital of El Geneina and Adri in Chad. He will also open 25 health centres, new buildings of the Central Bank branch in El Geneina, the Sultan Bahreldin Museum, and the El Geneina Football Stadium.

Displaced residents of Klama camp participate in a peaceful protest on Tuesday against the visit of Sudan's President Al Bashir

Displaced residents of Klama camp participate in a peaceful protest on Tuesday against the visit of Sudan's President Al Bashir

Unamid troops provide protection as displaced residents of Klama camp participate in a peaceful protest on Tuesday against the visit of Sudan's President Al Bashir

Displaced residents of Klama camp participate in a peaceful protest on Tuesday against the visit of Sudan's President Al Bashir


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