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Darfur Minawi rejects Sudan’s fifth census

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July 26, 2008 (KHARTOUM) — Minni Minawi, the senior Presidential assistant and sole signatory of Darfur Peace Agreement, rejected the latest census and called on the Government to abandon its outcome.

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Minni Minawi

"The census was distorted and non-comprehensive"

Minnawi disappeared for almost two months from Khartoum to protest against the ill implementation of a peace deal to end Darfur conflict that he signed with Khartoum in May 2006. He told Sudan Tribune recently that he is in Imbro, a town in North Darfur.

His long disappearance has prompted speculations that he will suspend participation in the government.

President Omer al-Bashir speaking from Nyala on July 23 urged Minnawi to return to Khartoum and resume his functions. He pledged to implement what is left of the Darfur Peace Agreement. He also promised to integrate Minnawi’s forces into the armed forces.

The former rebel leader demanded in a memorandum dated on July 21 to stop the war in Darfur before the census and the organization of the general elections next year.

"We do not recognize the outcome of the (fifth) census which was conducted in April 2008 and we had already expressed our view about the issue."

He also said that a Roadmap for sustainable peace in Darfur and the whole of Sudan implies to achieve peace, the voluntary return of IDPs and refugees after good preparation and provide security, the compensation for damages and losses, and then extract the identity documents, and census.

He also called for the adoption of the results of Census 1993 and to adjust it with the reality of population growth.

Minawi further called to include the DPA in the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of Sudan, and to represent his movement in the different national commissions.

The census is a milestone in the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which ended 21 years of civil war, and will provide important information for development planning.

The fifth Sudan Population and Housing Census, a milestone in the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was conducted from 15th 30th April 2008. It was the first all inclusive census for people of southern Sudan since Sudan became independence in January 1956.

The most recent U.N. estimate for Sudan’s population is 37.8 million but the numbers are difficult to verify because of Sudan’s huge internal displacement and also tens of thousands of Sudanese who have fled fighting over the years to neighbouring countries.

Southerners say they were undercounted in the last census in 1993 at the height of the civil war with millions displaced and vast swathes of the south inaccessible, and there are concerns that despite peace in the south numbers in the upcoming census may not show a big increase.

(ST)

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