July 19, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) has brushed off the unilateral cessation of hostilities declared by President Omer al-Bashir as “merely a ploy” to buy time to reorganize his troops in the Two Areas.
The Sudanese government has been fighting the SPLM-N rebels in South Kordofan and Blue Nile since June 2011.
Last Month, al-Bashir declared a four-month unilateral cessation of hostilities in the Two Areas, saying it came as goodwill gesture to give an opportunity for the rebels to lay down arms and to join the peace process in Sudan.
On Tuesday, the SPLM-N Chief of general staff Gen. Gagod Mukwar said the regime has allocated the state’s budget and resources to suppress the voices of the people of the Two Areas.
Mukwar, who spoke during a graduation ceremony of 445 officers in the rebel-held areas in South Kordofan, added the regime has mobilized human and material resources to silence and destroy the people of the Two Areas in order to “sit on the throne of dictatorship and tyranny but failed miserably and suffered decisive defeat”.
He described al-Bashir’s declaration of the cessation of hostilities as mere hoax, saying he seeks to win time to rearrange and reorganize his troops to launch another attack during the next summer.
The rebel commander stressed that any serious and credible cessation of hostilities must be carried out jointly through negotiations involving the two parties and to be monitored by the African Union.
He hailed the resilience and sacrifices of the SPLM-N fighters during the summer attacks in the Two Areas, saying “we defeated the regime’s decisive summer campaign for the fifth time and inflicted heavy losses in lives and equipment on its troops and militias”.
Mukwar further said the SPLM-N fighters are ready to repulse any government attack, expressing readiness to engage in peace talks to resolve the country’s problems.
Last December, negotiations between Khartoum and the SPLM-N stalled after the government delegation insisted that the objective of talks is to settle the conflict in the Two Areas, while the SPLM-N team has called for a holistic approach to resolve ongoing conflicts across Sudan.