Home | News    Wednesday 4 February 2009

Sudan rejects JEM conditional withdrawal from Darfur flashpoint town

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February 3, 2009 (KHARTOUM) — Sudan has rejected an offer by a rebel group to pull its troops out of south Darfur flashpoint town saying the army will take it in the appropriate time.

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Fighters from the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) riding in the back of an armoured vehicle (AFP)

The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) said it would withdraw its troops from Muhageriya provided that the disputed town be turned a demilitarized area under the control of the hybrid peacekeeping force and Sudanese army and Minni Minnawi fighters also must evacuate the location.

JEM chairman, Khalil Ibrahim, said he issued the order of conditional withdrawal from Muhajaria to ensure the safety of civilians and in a positive response to "kind appeals" of the government of the United States of America and (Ban) Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations.

But Ali Sadiq, the spokesperson of the foreign ministry rejected immediately the offer of the rebel movement saying no room for conditions from JEM. He pledged that the Sudanese army would take the town in the right time.

Also Mahdi Mandour, the secretary for political relations at the ruling National Congress Party told reporters in Khartoum today that Sudan will not abandon its sovereignty or its responsibility to protect its citizens and will force the rebels to leave the town, if they did not withdraw their troops in a timely manner.

The head of the UNAMID Rodolphe Adada, is scheduled to meet JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim tomorrow to discuss the issue of Muhageriya with him. Also the joint chief mediator, Djibril Bassolé is travel to eastern Chad with Adada.

Speaking from Darfur, Ahmed Hussein Adam, the spokesperson of the rebel group, said that JEM troops are located now out the flashpoint town.

The rebel group seized Muhageriya, 80 km from Nyala, the capital of South Darfur on 15 January from Minni Minnawi group that signed a peace agreement with the Sudanese government in May 2006.

The peacekeeping mission said 30 people at least had been killed and thousands fled the fighting between the government troops and the rebels. The UNAMID also has decided to maintain its 190 troops in the town to protect the civilians and the IDPs despite a request by the Sudanese government to evacuate the area.

The UNAMID says civilians are still gathered outside its camp seeking refuge.

Sudanese government demanded on Sunday that UNAMID peacekeepers in Darfur leave the town, warning that its forces planned to launch an operation to retake the town.

(ST)

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  • 4 February 2009 12:04, by tayeb M. Alhassan

    Nothing comes for free. To seek solutions in peace negotiations is optional and you may get what you want but to opt for arm-twisting to get it all makes the big difference. JEM few days ago threaten to take Al-Fashir, after Mohajeriya, today comes to say let’s go safe out of Mohajeriya. Hot water is not a place for frogs to play in or catch insects. Mohajeriay civilians already abandoned their homes when JEM took the city from SLA of Minnawi who pledged to peace to claims rights for the agonized people in Darfur thru peaceful means but JEM goes Jeopardizing that sustained peace defiant and aggressive to any peace initiative because simply their target is bigger than any peace accord gains. Now they can get all.

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  • 4 February 2009 12:37, by Bazinguaboy

    These peacekeeping missions sometimes set you wondering. They can not protect themselves, or civilians "in imminent threat of danger"(as was the case with UNMIS in Abyei) ... as per their mandates and yet do not want government troops to carry out their legitimate responsibilities to protect their own civilians from the threat of a rebel force that has refused to be party to an agreement brokered by the UN and other members of the international community and that UNAMID is here to keep. Food for thought, Dr. Adada: Try to picture Darfur without your presence - sure bloodshed would have been the order of the day but for a short while before somebody realises he is fighting a losing battle. We are glad you are here but do something political or else to prove your mettle.

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