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Armed groups renew unilateral ceasefire in Darfur

Gibril Ibrahim and Minni Minnawi at the opening session of Darfur track 23 Nov 2014 (ST Photo)

February 3, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Three armed groups in Darfur region have extended a unilateral cessation of hostilities for three months, and reiterated their adherence to the African Union-brokered roadmap agreement for peace and constitutional reforms in Sudan

"The Sudan Liberation Movement led by Minni Minnawi (SLM/A), the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), and Sudan Liberation Movement–Transitional Council (SLM–TC) hereby declare an immediate unilateral Cessation of Hostilities for Humanitarian Purposes," said a joint statement by the three groups extended to Sudan Tribune on Saturday.

"The Cessation of Hostilities shall enter into force at 11:59 pm (SLT) on the 1st of February 2018 and will extend for 3 months to 11:59 pm (SLT) on 30th of April 2018. The Cessation of Hostilities shall apply throughout the conflict areas of Darfur," further reads the text.

Last November the three groups extended the unilateral truce for two months until the 31 January 2018. It was the first time that the SLM-TC which is a splinter group from the SLM- Abdel Wahid joined them.

The objectives of the ceasefire are to protect civilians, provide unhindered humanitarian access to war-affected populations, and create a conducive environment for peace talks, said the statement.

In a presidential statement on Wednesday 28 January, the Security Council demanded the non-signatory armed movements refrain from impeding the implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur and called for the signing of cessation of hostilities and humanitarian assistance agreements within the framework of the Roadmap agreement.

Several UN reports mention that the government controls the security situation and there are no clashes with the armed groups. But, a UN panel of experts said the Darfur armed groups are now fighting alongside the Libyan parties and preparing themselves to return to the western Sudan region.

However, the three groups said they would not initiate any attack and vowed to observe the unilateral truce.

In May 2017, SLM-MM and SLM-TC carried out coordinated attacks in South Darfur and North Darfur as the two assailants groups wanted to reach the mountainous area of Jebel Marra but the government foiled the operation and accused Libyan General Haftar and South Sudan of backing them.

(ST)