By: Ahmed Alhaj (Site Admin)
Khartoum, Sudan (PANA) - Five veteran Darfuri displaced persons who were taking shelter in a camp of the United Nations African Union Mission (UNAMID), afraid of arrest and persecution for allegedly committing petty crimes, have been pardoned by the governor.
"The Governor of South Darfur, invoking the spirit of the Muslim Holy Feast of Eid, granted amnesty to five local sheikhs sheltering in UNAMID’s Community Policing Centre (CPC) near the Kalma Camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) for over a year, ever since local authorities sought to arrest them for alleged criminal activities," a press release by UNAMID said on Sunday.
The camp, the largest in Darfur, was known to be riven by violence at the time of the events.
As the sheikhs said they feared for their lives, UNAMID declined to turn them over when requested to do so by the authorities, citing its obligations under its mandate to ensure that due process and the right of individuals are upheld at all times.
They remained inside UNAMID camp for several months, for fear of persecution.
The incident created serious tension between the local authorities and the federal government, on the one hand and UNAMID and the international community on the other hand.
"UNAMID’s position was, at times, a source of friction between the mission and the authorities. UNAMID’s Joint Special Representative, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, spared no effort to reduce the level of tension and held extensive discussions with Sudanese officials over the issue, both at South Darfur state level and at national level in separate meetings with Interior Minister Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid and Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs Mutrif Siddiq, earlier this month," the statement said
Governor Abdul Hamid Musa Kasha said he believed the granting of amnesty to the five would enhance the implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) and encourage reconciliation among residents of Kalma Camp
Following the amnesty declaration, JSR Gambari expressed his profound appreciation to the Wali (Governor) of South Darfur and to the Government of the Sudan, for the peaceful resolution of the matter.
“Our approach of patience and persistence in handling this matter has produced a win-win and peaceful resolution,” Gambari said, based on the good cooperation and working relations established between UNAMID and the Sudanese authorities notably, in this case, in South Darfur.
He appealed to the Sheikhs to be of good behaviour, while encouraging them to play a constructive role in the peace process and national reconciliation, especially in the spirit of Ramadan and the Holy Feast of Eid, the celebration that follows the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
UNAMID pointed out in its statement that an integrated task team, led by the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) comprising of representatives of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), UNAMID civilian staff, military and police component, Sunday escorted the five Sheiks who had been sheltering in Kalma camp for over a year back to their respective homes.
The sheikhs thanked the mission and the entire UN family for the protection granted them during the past 14 months.
Sheikh Ali, the paramount head of Kalma camp, expressed appreciation to UNAMID for its role.
UNAMID and UN country team are considering the possibility of providing the sheikhs with food rations since they have been away from their families for a long time and also in view of the forthcoming Eid celebrations.
UNAMID peacekeepers stationed in Kalma camp presented them with some food items.
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