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S. Darfur begins to transform IDPs camps into permanent residential areas

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An overview of the IDPS camp at Sortony, North Darfur, where a large number of people have fled the fighting in Jebel Marra area on 20 November 2016. (UNAMID An overview of the IDPS camp at Sortony, North Darfur, where a large number of people have fled the fighting in Jebel Marra area on 20 November 2016. Photo UNAMID)
February 12, 2018 (NYALA) - The government of South Darfur State has embarked on planning the El-Sereif camp for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) as part of a plan to transform camps into permanent towns.

The government seeks to dismantle IDPs camps that have been established in areas around the capitals of Darfur’s five states since the eruption of the armed conflict in the region.

In 2016, the governor of South Darfur State Adam al-Faki, offered the IDPs three options, saying they should either be integrated into existing towns, stay in the camps after they are being planned or return to their original villages voluntarily.

Speaking to El-Sereif camp residents, 6 kilometres south of Nyala, capital of South Darfur Monday, al-Faki demanded them to open internal streets to allow planning the camp for the IDPs who wish to settle permanently.

He added the camp would be transformed into “El-Sereif City” instead of “El-Sereif Camp”, saying IDPs will be granted residential plots inside the new city and they have the right to stay or return to their villages of origin.

He called on the IDPs to cooperate with the Ministry of Physical Planning to undertake the planning of the camp, stressing the security situation is stable and the IDPs could return to their villages to carry out their agricultural activities as normal.

Al-Faki pointed out that his government is committed to protect the villages of voluntary return and provide it with the basic services.

Since the signing of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur in July 2011, the government constructed several villages and vowed to support IDPs who return to their home areas.

However, the return of IDPs and refugees remains the main challenge for the Sudanese government. There are 2.7 million people living in protracted displacement camps since 2003 despite the relative improvement of the security situation.

In a recent report released on 5 February, UNOCHA estimates there are about 386,000 returnees in Sudan conflict areas including Darfur and the Two Areas.

(ST)

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