October 31, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese rebel groups will cease hostilities in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states ahead of a polio vaccination campaign that will start in November, said a statement released by the alliance of rebel groups, Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) on Thursday.
"The top leadership of the SRF held a consultative meeting on the polio campaign due to start in Sudan, and they were briefed by the SPLM-N leadership on the arrangement of the polio campaign due to start in the two areas of South Kordofan/Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile", reads the statement.
The statement further said that the SRF military command "will observe the cessation of hostilities during the duration of the polio campaign in the Two Areas as soon as it is declared by the AUHIP".
UN agencies announced that a campaign to immunise children under five years against polio will be launched on 5 November. Also the Sudanese army said committed to observe 12-day humanitarian truce beginning from 1 November .
The SPLM-N welcomed the campaign but demanded to discuss the cessation of hostilities and other arrangements with the Sudanese government under the sponsorship of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel on Sudan (AUHIP) which is tasked with the mediation of talks between the two sides.
However Khartoum declined the demand saying such measure does not deserve negotiations .
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF said alarmed by the spread of polio in different east Africa countries and launched vaccination campaigns in Kenya, and Ethiopia this summer. However some cases were registered in South Sudan.
The UN Security Council in early October said alarmed at the imminent threat of the spread of polio through South Kordofan, and the continuing outbreak of polio in the Horn of Africa and urged the two parties to resolve differences over the technical plans necessary in order to launch the operation on 5 November.
The rebel alliance however wondered why children in the rebel controlled areas in North Kordofan and Darfur "are not to be vaccinated since the campaign is a national campaign in Sudan and the region!".
UN agencies say the vaccination campaign targets 147,000 children under five years in the SPLM-N controlled areas in South Kordofan and 7,000 children in Blue Nile who have not been vaccinated since the ongoing armed conflict began in 2011.