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Central Darfur dismisses reports about displacements in Jebel Marra

Some IDPs who fled the fighting in Jebel Marra in April 2018 (ST photos)
May 21, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The government of Central Darfur State has denied reports about a new wave of displacement in Jebel Marra due to recent clashes between government forces and Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-AW) led by Abdel-Wahid al-Nur describing it as “baseless claims”.

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.

The UN Secretary-General in a recent report to the Security Council 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.

Also, following a two-day visit to Jebel Marra on Sunday, the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) chief, Jeremiah Mamabolo, regretted “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”.

On the other hand, the SLM-AW and SLM Transitional Council spoke about new waves of displacement in the mountainous area of Jebel Marra triggered by armed clashes with the government forces.

However, the humanitarian aid commissioner in Central Darfur State Ismail Adam told the semi-official Sudan Media Center (SMC) the security situation in the three localities of Jebel Marra in Central Darfur is stable.

He pointed out that the spontaneous and voluntary return of IDPs is flowing heavily, claiming the latest security tensions in Jebel Marra occurred about three months ago in Rokero locality as SLM-AW elements looted and burned some villages.

It is noteworthy that despite the reduction of the UNAMID forces, the Mission has established a new site in Rokero to protect civilians and displaced persons due to relative insecurity in Jebel Marra.

Earlier this month, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that recent inter-communal clashes in Jebel Marra area have displaced some 11, 500 civilians.

“At least 2,280 newly displaced households (about 11,500 people) arrived in Rokero town and nearby Jemeza village after 18 April, following fighting between armed nomads and sedentary farmer tribes,” said OCHA.

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)