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Sudanese government prepares to crush rebels in North Darfur within 72 hours

March 11, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese government has issued a directive to crush the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement/ Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) and force it out of areas it controlled in the east of North Darfur state within the coming 72 hours.

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Rebels from the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), loyal to leader Minni Minawi, pictured in El-Fasher, the administrative capital of North Darfur on 19 September 2008. (ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/Getty Images)

A meeting was held to discuss the deteriorating security situation in the state which was attended by Sudan’s 2nd Vice President Hassabo Abdel-Rahman, minister of interior Abdel-Wahid Youssef, defense minister Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein, governor of North Darfur state Youssef Kibir, and the director of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) Mohamed Atta Abbas al-Moula.

Sources told Sudan Tribune that the quintet meeting approved crushing of SLM-MM militarily within 72 hours and restoring the four localities of Haskanita, Al-li’ait Jar Al-Nabi, Al-Tiwaisha, and Kalmando which fell at the hands of the SLM-MM over a week ago.

The same sources disclosed that the meeting decided to provide instant humanitarian assistance to the western area of North Darfur state where clashes recently took place between the government forces and militias loyal to the tribal leader, Musa Hilal.

It also stressed that a decision to sack the commander of al-Fashir army garrison has been taken after SLM-MM seized control over several areas in the state.

The sources affirmed that Hilal withdrew his forces from Saraf Omra area which will be visited by the vice president and the governor of North Darfur state tomorrow, pointing the former’s forces control four localities in North Darfur including Kabkabia, Kutom, Saraf Omra, and Al-Waha.

Meanwhile, the opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) has criticized banning activities of aid groups in all IDPs camps in South Darfur state and asserted that IDPs in those camps suffer from hunger, describing humanitarian situations in the camps as “catastrophic”.

It reiterated its call for extraditing all persons suspected of war crimes to the International Criminal Court (ICC) including Sudan’s president, Omer Hassan Al-Bashir.

The PCP political secretary, Kamal Omer, said in a press conference on Tuesday that those who think the national dialogue initiative which was launched by Bashir would exempt them from criminal responsibility are disillusioned, adding whoever committed a crime will go to the ICC.

In a related issue, the African Union Commissioner for Political Affairs, Aisha Abdullah, is currently visiting North Darfur state which recently witnessed attacks by rebel groups and tribal clashes leading to death of dozens of people and displacing of thousands others.

The governor of North Darfur state and the special prosecutor of Darfur crimes, Yasser Ahmed Mohamed, who met with Abdullah on Tuesday, called upon the AU to play a greater role in improving humanitarian situation in the region besides backing national justice.

They further demanded the AU to provide help for arresting fugitives in neighboring countries and play positive role in curbing activities of rebel groups.

The AU official, for her part, announced she will discuss several issues with the UNAMID including ways for addressing problems and securing humanitarian aid in North Darfur state besides providing monitors for Darfur crimes tribunal.

Last Thursday, the head of Darfur Regional Authority (DRA), Tijani El-Sissi warned against the rapidly deteriorating security situation in North and South Darfur states and criticized government for failing to restore security in the region, which has witnessed rebellion since 2003.

Sissi further said that the insecurity in North and South Darfur hampers the implementation of development projects. "What happens there will not be a catalyst to start in any reconstruction effort in those areas," he added.

The leader of the former rebel Liberation and Equality Movement (LJM) urged the federal government to take the necessary measures to contain the attacks carried by the rebel groups emphasizing that the continuation of the current situation without decisive riposte or (political) solution will negatively impact the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), peace in Darfur and the country in general.