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U.S. calls to stop fighting in Darfur’s Jebel Marra

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An overview of the IDPS camp at Sortony, North Darfur, where a large number of people have fled the fighting in Jebel Marra area on 20 November 2016. (UNAMID An overview of the IDPS camp at Sortony, North Darfur, where a large number of people have fled the fighting in Jebel Marra area on 20 November 2016. Photo UNAMID)

April 27, 2018 (WASHINGTON) - The United States said "deeply concerned" by the recent fighting in Jebel Marra, calling on the Sudanese warring parties to stop the fighting and to allow unfettered humanitarian access to civilians affected by the recent clashes in the mountainous.

In a statement released on Friday U.S. State Department Spokesperson said they have "credible reports" the about attacks on Jebel Marra villages resulting in thousands of newly displaced civilians after the resumption of hostilities between the government forces and the Sudan Liberation Movement -Abdel Wahid Al-Nur (SLM-AW).

"We call on all sides – the GoS forces, SLA/AW, and armed tribal groups — to immediately halt their provocative actions and violent responses," said US State Department Heather Nauert.

"In addition, the government should permit immediate and unhindered access by the United Nations – African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), UN Country Team elements, and national and international humanitarian agencies to the areas where violence is taking place, as well as to displaced populations," Nauert further said.

The Sudanese government and three armed groups including Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) SLM - Minni Minnawi and SLM-Transitional Council have declared a unilateral cessation of hostilities in Darfur. The SLM-AW is not part of measure which aims to enable aid workers to provide humanitarian assistance to civilians in the war affected areas.

The holdout rebels issued several statements about the clashes accusing government forces of attacking their positions. However, authorities of Central Darfur state said they seek to secure routes adding that the rebels are looting civilians and commercial convoys.

Following the security improvement in Darfur, the United Nations and the African Union decided to cut the peacekeepers deployed in the region but reinforced UNAMID presence in Jebel Marra and establish a new basis in Golo to protect displaced persons there.

Nauert called on Darfur authorities to cooperate with the peacekeeping mission to establish Jebel Marra Task Force. Also, she urged the parties to " take immediate steps towards a comprehensive peace process".

(ST)

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