Interpreter dies in Darfur camp protest

A Sudanese interpreter has been killed in Darfur when an angry protest turned violent during a senior UN official's visit to a camp for displaced Sudanese.

    Dan Egeland is on a five-day visit to Sudan

    The man was killed in an African Union (AU) police station on Monday after Jan Egeland, the UN under-secretary for humanitarian affairs, and his entourage beat a hasty retreat from the Kalma camp in the face of violent protests.

    Egeland said: "After we left, the AU civilian police post was overrun and a member of the force was killed. He was a Sudanese interpreter."


    Egeland and aid workers had cut short their visit to the camp in South Darfur State after a demonstration spun out of control and an aid worker was attacked.


    Thousands of Darfuris took the opportunity of his visit to demand international troops deploy there to protect them.

    A female refugee shouted that an aid worker was a member of the Janjawid militia.

    The crowd attacked a UN vehicle with axes and stones, shattering its windows.
    The UN entourage travelling with Egeland left to return to the town of Nyala, about 15km away.

    The residents of the camp said they rejected the peace deal signed on Friday between Darfur's main rebel faction and the government, calling it "incomplete".

    "This peace in Abuja is not complete. We reject it totally," said Ezz El-Din Ahmed, who is from the Fur tribe, Darfur's largest.

    Peace deal

    Egeland, who is on a visit to Darfur a month after the Sudanese authorities prevented him from travelling to the region, has called on Khartoum to give aid workers better access to Darfur, as agreed in the peace deal.

    The main faction of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), led by Minni Arcua Minnawi, signed the peace agreement in the Nigerian capital, Abuja. But a rival faction, led by Abd al-Wahid Muhammad al-Nur, and a second Darfur rebel group rejected the deal.

    Minnawi is from the smaller Zaghawa tribe but is militarily stronger than al-Nur, who, like many of those in the camps visited by Egeland on Monday, is from the Fur tribe.

    "This peace is not reality," said Mohammed Jaama Sineen from the Fur tribe, who has lived in Kalma camp for the past three years.

    "We are asking for international forces. We want to ask Jan Egeland to send the UN to protect us."


    Western governments have called for a UN mission to take over from the 7,000 AU peacekeepers in Darfur. Sudan says it is undecided on the issue but said in the past it would consider a UN mission only after a peace agreement.

    Thousands of camp residents chanting "Welcome, welcome international protection", surrounded Egeland with signs which read: "Enough suffering for the Darfur people."

    "They [the government] want us to go home, but we will not go back until Abdel Wahed himself comes to Kalma to tell us there is peace," said a Fur tribesman.

    The SLA and the Justice and Equality Movement took up arms in early 2003, accusing the government of neglecting Darfur, a region the size of France.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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