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JEM denies involvement in South Sudan fighting

February 17, 2018 (KHARTOUM) Darfur rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) led by Gibril Ibrahim has denied involvement in the fighting in South Sudan.

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Rebel fighters from the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), active in Sudan’s western Darfur region (AFP)

A Sudanese daily based in Khartoum on Friday reported that JEM fighters have participated in an attack against an Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in South Sudan.

In a press release extended to Sudan Tribune Saturday, JEM spokesperson Gibril Adam Bilal said his movement has no knowledge or connection to any battle that took place in the State of Southern Sudan.

“The Movement affirms it isn’t a party to the ongoing conflict between the brothers in the state of Southern Sudan, and one of its greatest aspirations is to see the South as a secure, stable and prosperous state because they seceded politically from us [Sudan], but we are and will remain one people” read the press release

Bilal called on the media to check the accuracy of the news and not to mislead the people by disseminating what he described as “black propaganda launched by the security services against opponents of the regime”.

Khartoum and Juba regularly trade accusations of support to rebel groups from both sides.

The Sudanese army clashed in April 2015 with JEM rebels in Gouz Dango area, South Darfur state allegedly coming from neighbouring South Sudan.

In 2014, a United Nations report confirmed the presence of JEM fighters in South Sudan’s Unity State, a claim which was later dismissed by both the Darfur-rebel group and South Sudanese government officials.

In a report to the UN Security Council released last month, a panel of five experts said that rebel groups from Darfur region including the JEM “work as mercenaries” with South Sudanese government and the different warring parties in Libya.

According to the experts, JEM which has a limited presence in Libya has recently realised that the situation in the north African country “offers more opportunities than South Sudan” and considers ways to be more involved there.

(ST)