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Recent surge of violence impedes UNAMID patrols in Darfur - Gambari

December 30, 2011 (KHARTOUM) — The African Union and United Nations peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) said Sudanese government restricted the movement of its patrols due the recent surge of clashes in the region.

The hybrid mission highlighted recently the decrease of fighting between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and rebel groups opposed to the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) signed last July with the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM).

However, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) carried out a series of attacks in North Kordofan saying they are advancing to Khartoum. But, the army announced the death of JEM leader while he was heading to the South Sudan, on December 24.

In his new year’s message Ibrahim Gambari, UNAMID chief, explained on Friday that the security situation was improved in Darfur thanks to the efforts deployed by the UNAMID and the Sudanese Chadian reconciliation. The mission has lost seven peacekeepers in different attacks against its patrols.

"Our ability to monitor and respond has also been restricted in the past few days due to the heightened insecurity in parts of North and South Darfur," said Gambari to underline the quick deterioration in the region.

Nonetheless Gambari expressed his deep regrets for "the violence and the lives lost". He further called on the Sudanese parties to "honour their stated commitments" and resume talks for a negotiated solution.

"They owe the people of Darfur a better future," he emphasised .

Sudanese government and JEM rebels have already signed a good will and framework for bilateral talks to end a conflict that caused the death of over 300,000 civilians in Darfur since 2003.

However, the two parties failed to sign a framework document for peace in Darfur prepared by the mediation and endorsed by Darfur stakeholders last May. JEM said the text is a good ground for peace and asked to open it for talks.

But Khartoum rejected the demand saying talks can only take place for the political participation of the rebel group in the national and regional institution to ensure the DDPD implementation. Also the government offered to negotiate the disarmament and integration of the rebel combatants.

The African Union and United Nations are preparing a road map to support the DDPD implementation and to bring the two parties to the negotiating table.

Last November Darfur rebel groups including JEM and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) concluded an alliance aiming to topple the Sudanese regime.

The new conflict in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan between the government and SPLM-N is seen as compromising factor for a peaceful end to Darfur conflict.

The rebel groups however intend to move the battle from Darfur and to extend it into other regions as they seek to impose a national character to the political crisis in the country.

Meanwhile in Khartoum Sudanese officials say such a move proves that rebels are not serious about peace and threaten Sudan’s stability and cohesion.

(ST)