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Sudan accuses SLM-AW of launching “provocative” attacks in Jebel Marra

Members of the Sudanese Army in Jawa village, in East Jebel Marra South Darfur State on 18 March 2011 (Photo UNAMID)

June 22, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese government has accused the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-AW) led by Abdel-Wahid al-Nur of carrying out “provocative” attacks in Jebel Marra in order to abort the unilateral ceasefire.

Since last March, government forces and the SLM-AW fighters resumed clashes in different parts of Jebel Marra.

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Friday, Sudan’s Foreign Ministry regretted that some international bodies were deceived by the false claims of the SLM-AW about the resumption of clashes in Jebel Marra.

It pointed out that those bodies were quick to issue statements about the renewal of military confrontations and new waves of displacements in Jebel Marra.

It is noteworthy that Troika countries including United States, United Kingdom and Norway on Tuesday denounced the ongoing fighting between the Sudanese army and the SLM-AW in Jebel Marra saying this “unnecessary violence” affects only the civilians.

Also, the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) on Wednesday said hundreds of displaced persons fleeing the fighting in Jebel Marra have gathered around the Mission’s newly established base in Golo area.

Sudan’s Foreign Ministry added the SLM-AW carried out a series of "criminal attacks" and looting against the nomads’ villages around Jebel Marra in Central Darfur State.

“These provocative and isolated attacks were intended to push the Sudan Armed Forces to respond militarily and thereby abort the unilateral ceasefire declared by the Government and to claim renewed military confrontations in order to disrupt the ongoing implementation of the UNAMID exit strategy,” read the statement

It stressed Sudan’s commitment to the unilateral cessation of hostilities and to continue efforts to complete the peace process, reconstruction and development.

The statement also underscored the government’s commitment to guarantee freedom of movement and allow access for the UNAMID and the humanitarian aid groups.

It called on the international community and particularly the UN Security Council and the international partners to take decisive measures against the SLM-AW, saying the latter continues to steal livestock, burn villages and terrorize and displace innocent civilians.

On 12 April 2017, the Sudanese army declared Darfur a region free of rebellion following the capture of Srounq area, the last SLM-AW stronghold in Jebel Marra. However, the army continued for several months to carry out attacks on rebel’s pockets in the mountainous area.

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.

Last year, the UN Security Council decided to reduce the UNAMID, admitting that the security situation has improved but it decided to reinforce its presence in Jebel Marra because there is no cessation of hostilities as the SLM-AW refuses to declare it unilaterally or to engage in peace negotiations.

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.