Impending Assault on Kalma Camp (South Darfur) by Khartoum's Military

Impending Assault on Kalma Camp (South Darfur) by Khartoum's Military

10-31-2014, 11:11 PM


Post: #1
Title: Impending Assault on Kalma Camp (South Darfur) by Khartoum's Military
Author: Eric Reeves
Date: 10-31-2014, 11:11 PM

and Security Forces, 31 October 2014

Eric Reeves, 31 October 2014

Highly reliable sources in Darfur report the ominous prospect of a
wholesale assault by Khartoum's military and security forces on Kalma
camp for displaced persons, near Nyala, capital of South Darfur
(contact details for an Arabic speaker receiving this information as
well are available upon request). The pretext will be the "need to
conduct searches" of the camp, according to a UN account from last
month (see 14 September 2014 OCHA report); but this will be merely
pretext. And judging by previous assaults, including the recent
assault on nearby al-Salam camp, we may expect serious violence and
human rights abuses. In al-Salam, too, the "need to search" was
asserted by Khartoum's forces, but despite a brutal and humiliating
ransacking of the camp, nothing was found.
In the case of Kalma--the largest and most notoriously abused of the
camps--the prospect of a "search" is especially alarming. For Kalma has
a long and horrific history of violence against its displaced
civilians. If the assault occurs this weekend or next week, as my
Darfuri source indicates, there may be a very serious number of
casualties, killed and wounded. This will not be without precedent. A
military attack on Kalma occurred in August 2008, and was without
meaningful response by the UN on the ground. Using public and
confidential sources, I wrote (with Mia Farrow) the following:
At 6am on the morning of August 25, [2008] Kalma camp, home to 90,000
displaced Darfuris, was surrounded by Sudanese government forces. By
7am, 60 heavily armed military vehicles had entered the camp, shooting
and setting straw huts ablaze. Terrified civilians--who had previously
fled their burning villages when they were attacked by this same
government and its proxy killers the Janjaweed--hastily armed
themselves with sticks, spears and knives. Of course, these were no
match for machine guns and automatic weapons. By 9am, the worst of the
brutal assault was over. The vehicles rolled out leaving scores dead
and over 100 wounded. Most were women and children.
The early morning attack ensured that no aid workers were present as
witnesses. Doctors Without Borders did manage to negotiate the
transportation of 49 of the most severely wounded to a hospital in the
nearby town of Nyala. But beyond this, aid workers have been blocked
from entering the camp. Military vehicles have now increased in number
and massed around Kalma. They have permitted no humanitarian
assistance to reach the wounded. People already hard hit by recent
floods and deteriorating sanitary conditions have received no food,
water or medicine since Monday. The dead cannot even be buried with
the white shrouds requested by the families of the victims. (Wall
Street Journal, 6 September 2008)
No one was held accountable, and the UN/African Union Mission in
Darfur (UNAMID) proved helpless, despite significant protection
resources nearby. We should recall that the primary mandate of UNAMID
is to protect civilians. Shielded from international criticism by the
UN and the African Union at every turn, UNAMID continues to be the
largest, most expensive, most disastrous failure in UN peacekeeping
history. Even Ban Ki-moon was recently obliged to note that UNAMID
failed to report serious human rights abuses and atrocity crimes
(UNAMID provides the information that serves as the basis for the
Secretary-General's quarterly reports on the mission and Darfur). But
the report was a necessary whitewash, coming in response to the
extremely serious charges of malfeasance reported earlier this year in
a devastating three-part report in Foreign Policy ("They Just Stood
Watching," 7 April 2014); it was based largely on observations made on
the ground in Darfur by former UNAMID spokeswoman Aicha Elbasri. The
first installment ends with might have served as an epigraph:
Elbasri says that she raised concerns about UNAMID's refusal to
acknowledge the government role with one of the peacekeepers' local
commanders, Maj. Gen. Wynjones Matthew Kisamba. She still remains
shaken by his answer. The UNAMID forces, she recalls Kisamba saying,
had to occasionally massage the truth. "You know, sometimes we have to
behave like diplomats," he told her. "We can't say all what we see in
Colum Lynch of Foreign Policy (2014 October 29) provides an excellent
account of why we should take such comments seriously--and as
characteristic of UNAMID behavior (UN Secretary-General admits only
five cases in an unreleased report--a ludicrous figure, given what has
been reported by multiple highly reliable sources).
Picture 2- UNAMID watching militia attack
UNAMID inert in the face of a militia attack on civilians near Kutum,
North Darfur
There have been other examples of UNAMID's complete failure to protect
civilians, even when their assistance is urgently requested. In the
village of Tabarat, North Darfur, Reuters alone reported on the 2
September 2010 slaughter of villagers that UNAMID neither halted nor
investigated (indeed, no report was ever produced by UNAMID):
Darfuri men were shot dead at point blank range during a surprise Arab
militia raid on a busy market this month in which at least 39 people
were killed and almost 50 injured, eyewitnesses said on Friday. The
attack on civilians was reminiscent of the early years of the
counter-insurgency operation in Sudan's west, which took up arms
against the government in 2003, complaining that the region had been
neglected by Khartoum The International Criminal Court in The Hague
has since issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan
al-Bashir for genocide and war crimes in Darfur, charges he denies.
Details of the September 2 attack on the market in the village of
Tabarat have not previously come to light. The government prevented
peacekeepers from visiting the site until days later. But five
survivors of the attack told Reuters that heavily armed Arab militia
had targeted male victims and shot many at point blank range.
In Tabarat, men were rounded up by militia wearing military uniforms
who rode into the market on horses and camels pretending to be buying
goods before spraying the shops with gunfire. Then vehicles mounted
with machine guns and carrying militia fighters appeared and rounded
up some of the men, survivors said. "They laid them down and they came
up close and shot them in their #########," Abakr Abdelkarim, 45, told
Reuters by telephone from the town of Tawilla, where many of the
victims had sought refuge and medical help. "(Those killed) were all
men and one woman--some men were tied with rope behind the cars and
dragged until they died."
Adam Saleh and others said after the attack they had gone to the joint
U.N.-African Union (UNAMID) peacekeeping base in Tawilla to ask
peacekeepers to come to Tabarat but they had refused. "They also
refused to come and help us recover the bodies," Saleh added. (Opheera
McDoom for Reuters [Khartoum], 17 September 2010)
The most recent attack, which included members of the Sudan Armed
Forces (SAF) as well as allied militia forces, was a savage assault on
al-Salam camp, reported only by Radio Dabanga:
"Military raid on South Darfur's El Salam camp"

Radio Dabanga (5 August 2014 [El Salam Camp, Bielel Locality, South Darfur])
A large military force stormed El Salam camp for the displaced in
Bielel locality, South Darfur, on Tuesday morning [5 August 2014]. The
army troops searched the camp and detained 26 displaced. "At 6.30am on
Tuesday, army forces in about 100 armoured vehicles raided El Salam
camp," Hussein Abu Sharati, the spokesman for the Darfur Displaced and
Refugees Association reported to Radio Dabanga on Tuesday afternoon.
"The soldiers searched the camp, treating the displaced in a degrading
and humiliating way. They assaulted the people, treating them as
suspects, and detained 26 camp residents. The market was pillaged, and
the personal belongings of many displaced disappeared."
According to Abu Sharati, the search for criminals, motorcycles,
vehicles without number plates, and weapons in the camp, was done.