Saturday, November 15, 2008

Darfur refugees seek justice over peace

KALMA CAMP, Sudan (AP) — Refugees in this crowded camp — where mass graves hold the victims of one of the bloodiest Sudanese government attacks against them — see little hope in a new drive for peace aimed at ending the nearly six-year war in Darfur. What they want is justice.

For many of the refugees, that means putting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on trial for genocide.

Khalthoum Adam, a 50-year-old woman in Kalma Camp, says that peace deal or no, without a trial she won't return to her home village not far from Kalma. She fears violence by Arab camel herders she says are still holding the land she and her family were driven out of by attacking planes and government militia five years ago.

"They will be sending us to another danger" if camp residents are forced to return home as part of a peace agreement, she said. "If (al-Bashir) doesn't go to trial, we will stay in the camps."

Adam spoke as she emerged from Kalma with a group of women to collect grain from nearby fields, guarded by U.N. peacekeepers to prevent the frequent attacks on women who dare step out of the camps.

Distrust of al-Bashir and his Arab-led government is deep and bitter among the 2.7 million mostly ethnic Africans driven from their homes. Some observers say their fears must be taken into account amid new, still struggling efforts to get Darfur rebel leaders and the government back to the negotiating table. Read more >>>>>>>>>

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