The African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) today expressed deep concern over security raids, recently conducted by the Sudanese Government, in several camps for displaced people in the city of Nyala and the surrounding towns in South Darfur.
UNAMID has since taken measures to mitigate the impact of such operations on the civilian population in the camps, according to a statement released today. For example, following a security raid conducted on Al Salam camp on 5 August when individuals were arrested for alleged possession of illegal drugs and weapons, UNAMID monitored the trials of those arrested and said that most of those detained have since been released.
Other security raids have been conducted in Otash and Dereig internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps as part of a wider campaign by the South Darfur authorities to address the high level of criminality in the State. Such raids have generated alarm and anxiety amongst IDPs in Kalma camp, who told UNAMID that they are anticipating a similar operation.
Earlier this week, the African Union-United Nations Joint Special Representative for Darfur, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, said that while the Sudanese Government has a right to pursue criminals and apprehend them, it must also guarantee that activities are carried out respecting human rights. Likewise, he reminded that any camp population harbouring, aiding or abetting offenders who possess weapons contravenes international humanitarian law.
The Mission is currently engaging local authorities in South Darfur, in accordance with its protection of civilians' mandate and demanding that if there were a need for such selective searches, they should be conducted in coordination with the camp leaders and the Mission.
Meeting with camp leaders, including women and youth, in Kalma, UNAMID has explain the measures it has taken to reduce the impact of such security raids on civilians and assured them that it continues to conduct 24/7 patrols and monitor the situation closely.