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Sudanese army denies SPLM-N Agar claims over ceasefire breach

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September 16, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudan Armed Forces (SRF) on Saturday has denied claims of attacking positions of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North led by Malik Agar (SPLM-N Agar) in Blue Nile state.

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SAF spokesperson Ahmed Khalifa al-Shami (Photo Defence Ministry website)

On Thursday, SPLM-N Agar said its fighters have repulsed a government attack against afternoon at Taga area in the Ingessana Hills, Blue Nile state.

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Saturday, SAF spokesperson Ahmed Khalifa al-Shami said the army didn’t violate the ceasefire during the past period, stressing full commitment to the unilateral cessation of hostilities.

The Sudanese government and the SPLM-N are committed to a cessation of hostilities since more than a year. Khartoum extended the truce until October while the SPLM-N Agar until November of this year.

Al-Shami refuted SPLM-N Agar claims of breaching the cessation of hostilities, describing it as “mere false fabrications” that are not supported by any facts on the ground.

He added these claims aim to spoil the visit of the Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour to Washington, saying the SPLM-N Agar statement was prepared in coordination with the opposition activists abroad.

Nowadays, Ghandour is on a visit to Washington at an official invitation from the U.S. State Department. After what, he will lead Sudan’s delegation to the UN General Assembly annual debate in New York.

Ghandour’s visit comes weeks before a decision on the permanent lift of U.S. sanctions on Sudan on 12 October.

Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the SPLM- Agar Mubarak Ardol said the government forces again attacked their positions in the Blue Nile state on Saturday.

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune, Ardol pointed out that their fighters are dealing with the government attack, saying details of the battles would be published soon.

He described the SAF statement as “deceptive”, saying it is nothing but “an attempt to mislead the local, regional and international public opinion on the violations of the declared cessation of hostilities”.

The Sudanese army has been fighting the SPLM-N rebels in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan, also known as the Two Areas since 2011.

The SPLM-N is now divided into two factions: one in the Nuba Mountains led by Abdel Aziz al-Hilu and the other in the White Nile State led by Malik Agar. The rift emerged several months ago over the right of self-determination and other organisational issues.

Talks between the government and the Movement for a cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access are stalled since August 2016.

(ST)

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