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UNAMID chief expresses concern over Jebel Marra clashes

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UNAMID head Jeremiah Mamabolo (Cr) with Central Darfur governor Jaafar Abdel Hakam (C l) in Golo on 28 January 2018 (UNAMID photo)

May 20, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) chief, Jeremiah Mamabolo, has called on the Sudanese government and the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-AW) led by Abdel-Wahid al-Nur to stop the fighting in Jebel Marra.

On Sunday, Mamabolo concluded a two-day visit to oversee progress on the establishment of UNAMID’s temporary operating base in Golo, Jebel Marra.

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune Sunday, Mamabolo expressed concern over the recent clashes between the government forces and the SLM-AW in Jebel Marra, urging both sides “to exercise restraint and consider the impact of renewed fighting on vulnerable civilians”.

“UNAMID appeals to all parties involved to exercise restraint and resolve all outstanding issues through dialogue and the peace process. A political solution is the best way forward to satisfy the interests of the people of Darfur,” he said

“We particularly regret the new displacements and the burning of villages such as Gobbo, Kawara, Kimingtong in South Darfur as well as other villages in the Rokero locality in Central Darfur,” he added

Mamabolo also “commended the UN Country Team for swiftly responding to and assisting those affected by the ensuing humanitarian situation”.

Fighters of the SLM-AW, which does not commit itself to a cessation of hostilities, since last March have clashed with the government forces in several positions of the mountainous area.

In a statement released last week, the rebel group said they clashed with the government forces in several positions in Jebel Marra area which spans over North, Central and South Darfur states.

Also, the UN secretary general in a recent report to the Security Council spoke about “low intensity” of clashes in Jebel Marra.

The UN report mentioned some displacement in Jebel Marra following the clashes but it was not able to provide an estimation of the number of civilians affected by the fighting.

On 13 May, a Sudanese official told Sudan Tribune that more than 1500 troops including militiamen of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have been deployed in Kass locality of South Darfur in order to attack the SLM-AW positions in Jebel Marra.

The sources said additional sources have been massed in Zalingei, the capital of Central Darfur to take part in the military operations.

In April 2016, the Sudanese army launched a comprehensive offensive on the rebel-held areas in Jebel Marra but stopped its operations under the U.S. pressures and after signing a framework agreement for the lift of economic sanctions.

The UNAMID has established a new temporary base in Golo to enhance the protection of civilians in the Jebel Marra but the new site is not yet fully operating.

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.

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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