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AU team to probe accusations of Darfur rebels cross-border attacks from S. Sudan

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Weapons and vehicles including two ambulances captured from Darfur rebels by the RSF in Ain Siro on 1 June 2017 (ST photo)
December 8, 2017 (ED-DAEIN) - A team from the African Union (AU) on Friday has arrived in East Darfur state to verify Sudan’s claims about armed attacks launched by Darfur rebels coming from South Sudan territory.

The Sudanese army and the Rapid Support Forces militiamen clashed during four days from May 19 to 22 with two groups from the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-MM) led by Minni Minnawi and the SLM-Transitional Council (SLM-TC) in East and North Darfur.

A fierce battle occurred between SLM-MM and government forces in the Eshairaya area, some 50 kilometres south-west of Ed-Daein, East Darfur capital.

The Sudanese government called on the international community to condemn the rebel attacks, claiming the assailants came from Libya and South Sudan.

The official news agency SUNA said an AU team tasked with resolving issues among member countries has arrived in Ed-Daein, adding it was received at the airport by the state health minister Hashim Sulieman.

“The visit of the AU team aims to investigate the incidents that occurred in Eshairaya area which is located in Yassen locality, East Darfur state,” he said.

It added the Darfur armed groups came from Tumsaha area in South Sudan and used Eshairaya as a corridor to reach Jebel Marra area.

According to SUNA, the AU team held a joint meeting with the security committee in East Darfur, saying the latter has presented the team with information and pictures proving the movements of the rebels and how they entered the state and from where they received their military equipment.

From their part, the head and members of the AU team have raised some questions regarding the information provided by the security committee.

The team also met with local residents to verify the information about the incidents in Eshairaya.

Juba has been always accused by the Sudan, various observer groups and armed oppositions of harbouring Sudanese rebels and in fact letting them fight alongside its own force. The government in Juba has always denied the accusations.

South Sudan seceded from Sudan on July 9th, 2011 following a referendum on whether the semi-autonomous region should remain a part of the country or become independent. 99% of the southern voters chose independence.

Relations between the two nations soured after South Sudan’s independence following a series of disputes over a number of issues and accusations of support to rebel groups.

(ST)

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