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ICC NOTE: Most of the displaced Sudanese are from Southern Sudan and also from the West. This is another reminder of the real face of the Khartoum government who speaks of peace and even signs treaties that states a desire for peace. But their actions reflect something very different.

12,000 People Affected By Demolitions Outside Khartoum

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August 18, 2006


The United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) on Thursday expressed grave concern at the forced relocation of 12,000 people from Dar al Salaam camp for displaced Sudanese on the southern outskirts of the capital and the ongoing destruction of their dwellings by Khartoum state authorities.

“Residents said bulldozers had begun demolishing hundreds of houses at around 8am that [Wednesday] morning, with hardly any notice [given] to families,” UNMIS said in a statement.

“A United Nations verification mission to the area witnessed heavily armed policemen and tanks stationed around the community,” the statement added. “The UN mission also heard gunshots before being refused entry and told to leave the area. Reports have been received of deaths and injuries of residents within the camps, including the death of a child.”

The state authorities could not be reached for comment.

The residents of Dar al Salaam camp have lived on the current site for more than two decades. Many fled from south and western Sudan during a famine in the 1980s. Sudan ‘s 21-year civil war ended with a peace deal in 2005, but about two million southern Sudanese remain in camps around Khartoum , unable to return home due to a lack of basic services in the south.

“The United Nations is deeply concerned about this incident, particularly in view of the fact that both the authorities and the residents had signed a Memorandum of Understanding stating that the residents of Dar al Salaam would not be relocated from their existing homes until a site acceptable to both parties had been found,” the statement observed.

UNMIS demanded an immediate cessation of the demolitions and requested access to the area to assess the humanitarian situation and the affected population’s needs.

Forced relocations have become increasingly common in and around Khartoum as land values have skyrocketed, forcing millions of primarily southern Sudanese to move from their small plots of land.