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Fresh clashes erupt between Sudan army, SLM-AW in Jebel Marra

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March 23, 2018 (KHARTOUM) A new round of clashes has erupted between the Sudanese army and the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-AW) led by Abdel-Wahid al-Nur in Jebel Marra area.

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Darfur rebel forces gather as they guard during the visit of Joint Special Representative (JSR) Ibrahim Gambari at Fanga Suk village, in East Jebel Marra (West Darfur), 88 km from Tawilla March 18, 2011 (Reuters)

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune Friday, SLM-AW spokesperson Mohamed Abdel-Rahman al-Nayer accused the government forces of attacking their positions in Jebel Marra.

He said the Movement fighters have clashed with government forces on Wednesday and Thursday in Fina, Dalo and Dowa areas of Jebel Marra in South Darfur State.

Al-Nayer pointed out that government forces on 100 vehicles and camel and horses back sought to enter Dolda area, saying their fighters clashed with the attacking force killing a number of them and destroying 3 vehicles and a fuel tanker truck.

He also said the two sides clashed south of Darbat area and in Soro area.

However, a government source in Central Darfur State told Sudan Tribune the government forces are now dealing with SLM-AW fighters who descend from the top of the Jebel Marra mountain "to loot the residents".

He stressed the SLM-AW doesn’t control any parts of Jebel Marra in Central Darfur State.

Last week, governor of Central Darfur State Ga’afar Abdel-Hakam said they closed some roads in Golo and Nirtiti areas, Jebel Marra to prevent what he described as "criminal activities" carried out by the SLM-AW fighters.

He claimed that SLM-AW elements stole cattle from some shepherds and caused the deadly fire that destroyed a number of villages in the state last week.

Central Darfur State witnessed in 2016 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.

On 12 April 2017, the Sudanese army declared Darfur a region free of rebellion following the capture of Srounq area, the last SLM-AW stronghold in Jebel Marra. However, the army continued for several months to carry out attacks on rebel pockets in the mountainous area.

Jebel Marra, which spans over three states including North, Central and South Darfur, is located in a water-rich area that is characterised by a mild climate.

Last year, the UN Security Council decided to reduce the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID), admitting that the security situation has improved but it decided to reinforce its presence in Jebel Marra because there is no cessation of hostilities as the SLM-AW refuses to declare it unilaterally or to engage in peace negotiations.

In a report to the UN Security Council on 22 February 2018, the UNAMID reported some clashes between the government and the SLM-AW fighters who resisted the weapons collection campaign, currently taking place in the Central Darfur.

The Sudanese army has been fighting armed groups in Darfur since 2003. UN agencies estimate that over 300,000 people were killed in the conflict, and over 2.5 million were displaced.

(ST)

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