Sudanese troops have opened fire inside a Darfur refugee camp, leaving 27 people dead, a rebel group has said. Some 100 government trucks surrounded the Kalma camp, home to some 90,000 people who have fled their homes in Darfur, a rebel spokesman told the BBC.
There is no independent confirmation of the reports but international sources have been told that Sudan wants to disarm the camp’s residents. More than two million people have fled five years of conflict in Darfur.
Ahmed Abdel Shafie, who heads a faction of the rebel Sudan Liberation Army, told the BBC that the government wants to force people to leave the camp. Another rebel leader puts the number of those killed higher. Abdel Wahed Mohamed al-Nur, said that 50 people had been killed.
“This really is a catastrophe. People are being killed while the world just watches,” he said. Reports from inside the camp put the toll lower. Adam Mohamed, a community leader in Kalma, near South Darfur’s capital Nyala, told the AFP news agency that eight people had been killed and 30 wounded.
A spokesman for the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur said they had sent patrols to check the reports.
Sudan’s government has accused armed rebel supporters of taking refuge inside the camp while residents have accused government-backed militias of mounting a series of raids on the settlement. The reports came on the day that the new joint UN-African Union mediator Djibril Bassole was due to arrive in Khartoum to take up his position.