Nancy Reeves, Editor and Funding Advisor; Julie Darcq, Online Campaign Coordinator
Other Contributions by Team Zamzam to the Welfare and Security of the Camp
The counselors of Team Zamzam, in addition to providing psychosocial counseling to women and girls who have been traumatized by sexual violence, overseeing and arranging for fistula surgeries, and providing food and medicine to the most needy, participate in a wide range of other activities related to the welfare and security of the camp. The latter has become an increasing concern.
The Legacy of Genocidal Violence
Most international humanitarian assistance has been withdrawn from Darfur. This has meant an end to most food supplies, water and sanitation assistance, and medical care that were so substantial during the years in which the Darfur genocide was an international cause célèbre. And yet genocidal violence continues, including ethnically-targeted sexual violence, especially in West and North Darfur states. The assault of agricultural and the seizure of farmlands by Arab militias ensures that the deliberate destruction of non-Arab peoples will continue.
In August 2004, from the headquarters in Misereh (North Darfur) of notorious Janjaweed leader Musa Hilal, the genocidal ambitions of the al-Bashir regime and Darfur’s Arab tribal groups was given crystalline clarity. In their 2005 book (Darfur: A Short History of a Long War), Julie Flint and Alex de Waal report (as have others):
The ultimate objective in Darfur is spelled out in an August 2004 directive from [Janjaweed paramount leader Musa] Hilal’s headquarters: “change the demography” of Darfur and “empty it of African tribes.” Confirming the control of [Khartoum’s] Military Intelligence over the Darfur file, the directive is addressed to no fewer than three intelligence services—the Intelligence and Security Department, Military Intelligence and National Security, and the ultra-secret “Constructive Security,” or Amn al Ijabi.
When the Rapid Support Forces took over the genocidal tasks with the appointment of Hemeti as the militia’s commander in 2013, such ambition was still clearly in evidence. In 2014 the town of Guba in East Jebel Marra (the part of Darfur lying east of the Jebel Marra massif) was a training site for Hemeti’s Rapid Support Forces. Human Rights Watch reported at the time that:
Two senior RSF officials, the commanding officer, Alnour Guba, and Col. Badre ab-Creash were present on the Guba base. Ahmed [a military defector interviewed by Human Rights Watch] said that a few days prior to leaving for East Jebel Marra, Sudanese Vice President Hassabo Mohammed Abdel Rahman directly addressed several hundred army and RSF soldiers:
“Hassabo told us to clear the area east of Jebel Marra. To kill any male. He said we want to clear the area of insects. … He said East Jebel Marra is the kingdom of the rebels. We don’t want anyone there to be alive.
The meaning of the reference to “insects” should be clear to all…
In the face of such genocidal ambition, the people Zamzam camp are developing their own resources for protection and the provision of critical services. Team Zamzam has been a very active and influential part of these efforts, something captured in these excerpts from the monthly updates of the coordinating counselor:
Two separate visits were made to several villages surrounding the area of Tabit, Shangil Tobay, and Abu Zariqa to check on people’s conditions and evaluate the present security situation in the area. [These areas are all well outside Zamzam IDP camp and reflect the intrepid, committed spirit of Team Zamzam—ER]
Four different meetings were held with the camp’s security committee to hear their concerns.
Several meetings with the security and camp monitoring committees of different neighbourhoods to hear the latest developments and the challenges they face on a daily basis.
Six meetings were held with various committees and farming delegations from various locations to listen to the concerns and challenges of the present farming season.
Accompanying and checking on patients with various medical issues
A total of 18 pregnant women accompanied women to El Fasher Hospital for initial examinations and routine checks
Two visits were made to the hospital to check the conditions of 4 children and a number of adults who were injured recently in the latest attacks on East Jabal Mara.
A total of 4forty-two adult patients and 11 children complaining of various illness have been accompanied to different hospitals in El Fasher for treatment.
Accompanying 126 patients suffering from various diseases, most of whom were children with malaria, to El Fasher civilian hospitals. Among these were eight pregnant women and three fistula patients.
Forty-one persons/patients suffering from different illness were accompanied to different hospitals and health centres within El Fasher; we also carried out four visits to inspect the condition of eight children suffering from wounds caused by the blast of a grenade inside the camp.
A total of 38 adult patients and 6 children, all complaining of various illnesses, were accompanied to different hospitals in El Fasher for treatment.
A total of 23 pregnant women were accompanied to obstetrics and gynecology wards in El Fasher for medical consultation
Twenty-two survey visits were carried in 11 neighbourhoods to inspect living conditions, focusing on sanitation, water shortages, and other issues of concern to the camp’s inhabitants.
A total of 6 families with handicapped children accompanied to the hospital in El Fasher.
Participating in efforts to eliminate Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Three consecutive meetings were held with volunteers alongside several influential woman of the camp to discuss the issue of Female Genital Mutilation
Four meeting were held with women leaders within the camp, at various locations, to discuss the psychological impact of female genital circumcision on young girls, and how to prevent this practice from continuing. As the result of this meeting, a new volunteer group has been set up to lunch new initiative for raising awareness.
Conducting of health and welfare surveys within Zamzam
Several visits and tours of primary schools in the camp and the secondary schools in the surrounding area to assess health conditions of pupils and raise awareness concerning potential outbreaks of fever.
Re-visit the areas and neighborhoods that were hit by torrential rains and floods to check the condition of the people who are suffering under their torn tents. [This year’s rains were particularly destructive in Sudan generally and Darfur in particular—ER]
Attending and participating in several meetings with the newly set up emergency committees to take urgent measures to provide shelter, blankets, and food for flood victims.
Eleven field surveys were carried out to check (1) living conditions of living in various locations within the camp; (2) hear the complaints of inhabitants within the neighbourhoods; and (3) evaluate the situation of recently displaced persons. [Many tens of thousands of newly displaced persons have moved to Zamzam over the past three years—ER]