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Final phase of disarmament campaign targets SLM-AW rebels in Jebel Marra: governor

Photo taken on Sept. 23, 2017 shows weapons voluntarily surrendered by residents in South Darfur State, Sudan. (Xinhua Photo)

July 14, 2018 (KHARTOUM) The government of Central Darfur State has announced the start of the final phase of disarmament campaign saying it would begin by collecting illicit arms in Jebel Marra area.

In August 2017, the Sudanese government launched a six-month disarmament campaign to eliminate illegal weapons in the conflict-affected areas in Sudan, particularly the Darfur region.

The Sudanese authorities say the spread of weapons among the rival tribes in the region is one of the main causes of Darfur’s instability.

Governor of Central Darfur Mohamed Ahmed Jad al-Sid told the semi-official Sudan Media Center (SMC) the final phase of would target those whom he described as “bandits” of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-AW) led by Abdel-Wahid al-Nur.

He pointed out that a joint force has been formed to comb Jebel Marra areas to collect illicit weapons, stressing the security situation in the state is stable which led to increased numbers of displaced persons returning to their original villages voluntarily.

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.

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

Last year, the UN Security Council decided to reduce the hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID), admitting the security situation has improved.

However, 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.

(ST)