November 13, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir has issued a directive to implement Corona peace agreement that has been signed with a splinter faction from the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-AW) led by Abdel-Wahid al-Nour in Darfur area of Jebel Marra .
- SLM-AW fighters on guard during a visit by UNAMID chief Ibrahim Gambari to Fanga Suk village, in East Jebel Marra, West Darfur, on 18 March 2011 (Photo: Reuters)
Last Tuesday, the government of Central Darfur state said it signed a peace deal with a breakaway commanders from SPLM-AW including Abu Gamal Khalil Bakr, Al-Amin Abdel-Jabar al-Tahir (aka al-Amin Turo) and the movement’s spokesperson Shihab al-Din Ahmed Hagar.
However the SPLM-AW downplayed the agreement and described it “mere play” to draw attention away from the crimes committed by the regime in Jebel Marra and its use of chemical weapon use, saying the number of those who broke off from the movement doesn’t exceed 20 people.
Last September, Amnesty International accused the Sudanese government forces of using chemical weapons repeatedly against civilians in Jebel Marra over the past eight months, saying chemical attacks are believed to have killed up to 250 people.
However, the Sudanese government denied the accusation and described it as false.
The official news agency (SUNA) said that al-Bashir on Sunday met with his Defence Minister Awad Ibu Ouf and Central Darfur governor Gaafar Abdel-Hakam besides several senior army officers to discuss the Corona agreement.
It pointed out that al-Bashir issued directives to continue the voluntary return operations in Jebel Marra, saying the peace process must be attractive in this stage.
Central Darfur state witnessed this year clashes between the government forces and SLM-AW fighters in western Jebel Marra area. Thousands of civilians fled the fighting to the other states mainly to North Darfur.
Abdel-Hakam told reporters following the meeting that he briefed President al-Bashir on the details of Corona agreement that has been signed in Jebel Marra last week.
He said that large number of fighters has returned to state’s capital, Zalengie under the agreement, saying they have been enrolled into the training camps.
The governor stressed the need to focus on the humanitarian situation in Jebel Marra, pointing to importance to complete the process of demobilization and reintegration of ex-fighters who have not been accommodated in the regular forces.
He added that al-Bashir directed him to continue his contacts with the rest of the rebel groups in order to complete the peace process in Darfur, stressing that Jebel Marra area is now free of rebellion.
For his part, the head of the General Staff of the Sudanese army Lt. Gen. Imad al-Din Adawi underscored their commitment to implement the Corona peace agreement and in particular the security arrangement item.
He pointed that more than 40,000 people have returned to Rokoro area under this agreement, praising efforts that the Sudanese army continued to make in order to secure the voluntary return operations and protect the residents.
UN agencies estimate that more than 120,000 people have been displaced by the fierce clashes which occurred since last January between the government army and the rebel SLM-AW in Jebel Marra.
Jebel Marra, which spans over three states including North, Central and South Darfur, is located at a water-rich area that is characterized by mild climate.
On 12 April, the Sudanese army declared Darfur a region free of rebellion following the capture of Srounq area, the last SLM-AW stronghold in Jebel Marra.