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80,000 IDPs return to original villages in South Kordofan: official

WFP food assistance being offloaded from a truck at a distribution site in the South Kordofan capital Kadugli (File Photo WFP)

June 24, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The Voluntary Return and Resettlement Commission (VRRC) in South Kordofan said 80,000 people have returned to their original villages in the state.

The semi-official Sudan Media Center (SMC) quoted the VRRC commissioner Osman Youssef al-Masur as saying results of a survey conducted in 68 villages showed that 12,000 families including 80,000 people have returned to the state.

He stressed continued efforts to complete the return of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to their original villages.

Al-Masur called on the international community, the Ministry of Social Welfare and the federal Humanitarian Aid Commission to provide the necessary support to meet the needs of returnees.

He pointed out that the unilateral cessation of hostilities has contributed significantly to improving the security situation and encouraging IDPs return.

The Sudanese army has been fighting the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) rebels in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan, also known as the Two Areas since 2011.

The SPLM-N is now divided into two factions: one led by Abdel Aziz al-Hilu and the other led by Malik Agar. The rift emerged last year over the right of self-determination and other organisational issues.

Before the PSLM-N split, the Sudanese government and the Movement held 12 rounds of talks but they failed to reach a peace agreement.

Also, during the recent round of talks from 1 to 3 February, the Sudanese government and SPLM-N al-Hilu failed to reach a cessation of hostilities agreement.

The African mediation delinked the ceasefire and the humanitarian access and focused at this round only on the cessation of hostilities agreement.

However, differences between the sides emerged when Khartoum proposed that the cessation of hostilities be a step towards a permanent ceasefire and humanitarian access.

For its part, the SPLM-N al-Hilu said they want this agreement to be limited to the security arrangement, pointing they are not ready for the political process.

Also, on the humanitarian issue, they reiterated that they want the emergency relief to be delivered from outside Sudan.

(ST)