February 6, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - A Darfur rebel group urged humanitarian assistance to civilians displaced by the combats in Jebel Marra and warned the international community against the alleged arrival of a Malian Islamist group in the region.
- SLM-AW leader Abdel Wahid Al-Nur chairing a meeting of the leadership council on 6 Feb 2013 (photo provided by the SLM-AW)
The UK-based Sudan Social Development Organisation (SUDO) said in a report released last week that the number of families displaced by the fighting between the Sudanese army (SAF) and the Sudan Liberation Movement – Abdel Wahid (SLM-AW) in Jebel Marra reached 1,462 families. Last December, the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) put the number at 850 families.
The affected women and children, who do not receive any humanitarian assistance, fled to Nirtiti, in Central Darfur state. Some 20% are from Golo and 80% are from Jaldo. The SLM-AW took control of the two mountainous locations respectively on 24 and 28 December.
The spokesperson for the rebel movement, Nimir Abdel-Rahman, told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday that fighting is still taking place in the two areas. However, he denied reports that they restrict humanitarian access to needy civilians.
“We appeal on the UN agencies and aid groups to provide humanitarian assistance to the civilians and we are ready to cooperate with them to secure their access and protect them,” Nimir said.
Deputy spokesperson for the UN secretary-general Eduardo del Buey stated on 31 January that the Sudanese army and SLA-AW fighters are blocking humanitarian access to many parts of Jebel Marra due to clashes between the two sides.
Nimir confirmed that the humanitarian situation in the two areas is deteriorating and urged aid groups and UNAMID to contact them on this regard.
The rebel official also said the Sudanese army continue to bombard their positions on a daily basis.
He went on to say the SLM-AW leadership held a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the recent developments in the region after the alleged arrival of the Malian group in Darfur, after a series of attacks carried out by the French and Malian armies during the last two weeks.
“The Islamist group of Ansar Al-Dine arrived from Mali through Niger and Libya,” he said. He expressed fears that the Sudanese government might seek to hide them in mountainous Jebel Marra areas as they are hunted by the African and French armies.
“We are ready to cooperate with France and all the African countries that are fighting this terrorists group and provide them with all the information we have about their positions and numbers,” he said.
Asked about reports saying that the Islamist and Jihadists groups are still in Mali, Nimir asserted that Ansar Al-Dine are in North Darfur, as was announced by Abul Gasim Imam, the spokesperson of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) and other rebel groups.
He went to say that the SLM-AW collected information proving they are near Kutum and Kabkabiya in North Darfur with over 60 vehicles.
He also said they believe that the Tuaregs entered Darfur with the support of Libyan Islamist groups and not the Libyan government, as was previously claimed by other groups.
The Sudanese government did not react to the statements issued by Darfur rebel groups over the presence of the Malian groups in Darfur.