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‘Sudan will not accept people queuing like beggars for Western aid’

Image of Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir on 22 October 2016 [Mirayafm/Facebook]
Image of Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir on 22 October 2016 [Mirayafm/Facebook]

The President of Sudan said on Friday that his country would not accept assistance from the West for those displaced in camps in Darfur, Anadolu has reported. President Omar Al-Bashir made his comment during a public speech in Shataya, South Darfur, which was aired on national television.

“We do not need relief from abroad, and we have been working to establish development projects as well as providing services to the displaced,” he explained, adding:

The displaced are standing in lines just like beggars to get help from foreigners. We will not accept that our people queue to receive aid.

Al-Bashir insisted that the Sudanese are supposed to help other people. “We do not need the foreigners’ help. We will never accept that we have to take anything from anyone.”

The Sudanese leader said that his government will be supporting every last one of the displaced people until they return home to their farms. “We will be providing them with all the services they need,” he said. “If others want to settle in the city, we will support them too.”

Read: Huge shortfall in Sudan’s humanitarian aid budget, says UN

According to Al-Bashir, the displaced people at the Kalima Camp, the most populous camp for displaced people in the state, as well as other camps, welcome the idea of returning to their homes.

He stressed the need to collect weapons and believes that it is the ultimate solution for security and stability in Darfur:

Weapons will only be in the hands of the government forces, and possession of a weapon is a crime punishable by law.

The Sudanese authorities announced on 6 August that civilians must surrender their weapons, ammunition and unlicensed vehicles to the nearest military or police point without delay. On 22 August, Attorney General Omar Ahmed issued a decree establishing a specialist unit to fight terrorism and target illegal weapons and ammunition. Two days later, the authorities announced that 1,150 unlicensed weapons had been handed to police in East Darfur, along with 85 unregistered four-wheel-drive vehicles.

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The Darfur region (which consists of five states) has been the scene of an armed conflict between the Sudanese Army and local rebels since 2003. Around 300,000 people have been killed and nearly 2.5 million more are now internally displaced persons, according to the UN.

Although there are no official statistics for the number of weapons owned by tribesmen in Darfur, unofficial reports suggest that the figure is in the hundreds of thousands, including heavy weapons. The chaos in the region has led to the spread of arms among gangs and tribes competing for scarce natural resources. In the past few years, UN peacekeepers have reported that the tribal conflict is “the fundamental source of violence.”

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