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UNEASY CALM REPORTED IN TENSE CAMP FOR DISPLACED IN DARFUR – UN

By UN

2 August - An uneasy calm has returned to a displaced persons' camp in the restive region of Darfur in western Sudan where clashes broke out last week over tensions related to the current state of the peace process, the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission (UNAMID) there reported.

Mohammed Yonis, UNAMID's Deputy Joint Special Representative and acting chief of mission, visited South Darfur, where the troubled Kalma camp is situated, and discussed the security situation with the state governor and camp leaders.

The governor, Abdul Hammid Musa Kasha, requested UNAMID's assistance in disarming camp residents.

Tensions have been rising in Kalma following the end of the latest round of peace talks in Doha, Qatar, with some groups contending they were unrepresented. The tensions boiled over on Thursday when hundreds of internally displaced persons (IDPs) – some in support of the Doha process, some in opposition – took to the streets.

Many protesters were armed with sticks and machetes, and sporadic shooting was heard throughout the camp, according to UNAMID, which reported that a number of people were killed during the disturbances.

At yesterday's meeting with Mr. Yonis, the governor asked UNAMID to help deliver the bodies of those killed to their families. He also asked for UNAMID assistance in building roads in the area.

Mr. Yonis thanked the governor for extending support to UNAMID and pledged the mission's continued cooperation in resolving the Kalma issue with the help of local authorities and the camp leaders.

“UNAMID is here to help and to support the Government of the Sudan and the people of Darfur in achieving sustainable peace in the region,” Mr. Yonis said.

Mr. Yonis' delegation later travelled to Kalma camp, on the outskirts of the city of Nyala, to meet with the camp leadership. He urged the sheikhs or leaders to spare no effort to prevent further violence and pave the way for reconciliation.

The leaders in turn asked for UNAMID's help in providing urgently needed humanitarian aid, mainly food, water and medical assistance to the thousands of IDPs who gathered around the local community policing centre over the weekend for security.