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1500 people return from rebel-held areas in South Kordofan: official

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Mukuma Hamad, a volunteer health worker, holds a container of folic acid, the only assistance she can give pregnant women who visit the lone health clinic in Hadara village, in rebel-controlled Southern Kordofan (Skye Wheeler/ HRW Photo)
March 30, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Government of South Kordofan State Friday said more than 1500 residents have returned from the rebel-held areas to their original villages in the state.

The semi-official Sudan Media Center (SMC) has quoted the commissioner of humanitarian aid in South Kordofan Zahra Nadir Faris as saying dozens of families mostly children, women and the elderly have returned to their villages of origin.

She pointed out that her commission in cooperation with the federal Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) provided shelter and foodstuff for the returnees.

Faris called for further coordination between her commission and aid groups to provide assistance for the growing numbers of returnees.

The Sudanese army has been fighting the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (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 led by Abdel Aziz al-Hilu and the other led by Malik Agar. The rift emerged last year over the right of self-determination and other organisational issues.

Before the PSLM-N split, the Sudanese government and the Movement held 12 rounds of talks but they failed to reach a peace agreement.

Also, during the recent round of talks from 1 to 3 February, the Sudanese government and SPLM-N al-Hilu failed to reach a cessation of hostilities agreement.

The African mediation delinked the ceasefire and the humanitarian access and focused at this round only on the cessation of hostilities agreement.

However, differences between the sides emerged when Khartoum proposed that the cessation of hostilities be a step towards a permanent ceasefire and humanitarian access.

For its part, the SPLM-N al-Hilu said they want this agreement to be limited to the security arrangement, pointing they are not ready for the political process.

Also, on the humanitarian issue, they reiterated that they want the emergency relief to be delivered from outside Sudan.

(ST)

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