Sudan confiscates, transforms farmlands to residential plots

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A total of 15,000 acres of agricultural land in the North Darfur locality have been confiscated by the Sudan authorities and turned into residential plots according to people who have been displaced by conflict in the area.

The lands are in El Siniya, Mwekila, Kabkabiya North, Jebel Tutka (west of Kabkabiya), and Bentiu, southwest of Kabkabiya.

The displaced people issued a statement yesterday claiming that members of the Sudanese security apparatus have summoned all the displaced landowners who protested against the decision.

Starting 2017, the Sudanese government began to issue announcements about the improved security situation in the region, which showed the first signs of the campaign to increase the numbers of voluntary returnees from the camps to their areas of origin.

Reports, however, of militiamen with their families occupying the abandoned villages and farms started to emerge too. This was already the case in 2015 when witnesses narrated their visits to specific areas which were occupied by newcomers or foreign settlers, and continues to be a problem for returnees.

Voluntary return is one of the options which the Sudanese government has given to the people in Darfur who have been displaced by the armed conflict that erupted in 2003. Another option for them is to remain in the camps which will be transformed into residential areas.

Recently, Darfur state governors made a promise to return any land of people who have been displaced by war and now willing to return, to their rightful owners by force, at the Darfur States Conference of Displaced People in Nyala in December 2018.

Adama.L