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Sudan denies access to Darfur peacekeepers in Jebel Marra: report

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A photo released on 1 March 2018 showing an UNAMID integrated team conducts a humanitarian and security assessment mission to Golo and Rokero, Central Darfur ( UNAMID Photo)
January 22, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Darfur hybrid peacekeeping force (UNAMID) was not able to verify reported human rights violations and violence in the Greater Jebel Marra area, amid reports of clashes between the government and fighters of Sudan Liberation Movement Abdel Wahid (SLM-AW).

In a recent report to the UN Security Council dated on 14 January, seen by Sudan Tribune, the Secretary-General gave a gloomy picture about the situation in the troubled Jebel Marra area of Darfur region.

The report, which insists on the good cooperation with the government institutions, underscores the inability of the peacekeepers to fulfil their principal mission, the protection of civilians, due to the restricted access to many areas in Jebel Marra.

"The ability of UNAMID to independently monitor and verify reported violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law remained a challenge, owing to lack of access to Jebel Marra, in particular in Feina and Sabun el Fagur localities in Central Darfur".

During the past 90 days from 4 October 2018 to 3 January 2019, "there were 75 new cases of human rights violations and abuses involving 140 victims, including 32 children," says the report, before to note the relative decrease compared with 90 cases of human rights violations during the previous period.

21 of the 75 cases were reportedly perpetrated by the government regular army and its militiamen of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). For the remaining cases, the report speaks about "civilians", "armed men" and two cases attributed to the SLA-AW rebels.

On 22 January, the head of UNAMID Jeremiah Mamabolo and the Central Darfur Governor, Mohamad Ahmed Jadelsid officially inaugurated the new headquarters of UNAMID in Zalingei. The new premises have been operating since October 2018 in line with a reconfiguration plan providing to limit the mission activities in the Greater Jebel Marra.

The report says that all areas that are most affected by the violence are located the Greater Jebel Marra including around Golo, Nertiti and Thur in Central Darfur, Kass in South Darfur, and Sortony in North Darfur.

Also, it emphasizes that people belonging to the Fur ethnic group are the main victims of crimes against internally displaced persons and civilians in general.

The UN Secretary-General mentions that security remained a matter of concern in Kalma camp, where violent confrontations continue over return issues, with the involvement of SLA/AW elements.

During the covered period, the Sudanese government forces according to the report attacked the SLA-AW positions in central, western and southern Jebel Marra. The attacks occurred despite a unilateral cessation of hostilities the rebel group declared from September to the end of December.

In his speech at the inauguration of the UNAMID new headquarters in Zalingei on 22 January, Mamabolo called on the holdout SLA-AW to join the political process to end the sixteen-year armed conflict in Darfur.

"I would like to take this opportunity to once again call on Mr Abdul Wahid Al Nour, leader of the Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid (SLA/AW) and his sympathizers to seriously consider the benefits that peace would bring to Darfur as a whole and the Jebel Marra area in particular,” he said.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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