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JEM, SLM support efforts to clear Darfur from unexploded bombs

UNAMID Mine Action team conducting a risk awareness exercise on mines UXOs in Darfur (UNAMID file photo)
March 29, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) Minni Minnawi declared their support for efforts to clear Darfur region from the Unexploded ordnance (UXO).

The Unexploded Ordnance (UXO), which include explosive weapons such as bombs, shells, grenades, land mines, naval mines, cluster munitions that did not explode when they were employed, still pose a risk of detonation as civilians often children continue to be killed by these engines.

The leaders of the two armed groups respectively Gibril Ibrahim and Minni Minnawi made their declaration at the end of a four-day workshop on the explosive remnants of war organized by the Austrian Study Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASPR) in coordination with the University of Graz in Stadtschlaining, Austria from 25th to 28th of March 2019.

"We, the Leaders of JEM and SLM/A declare our firm commitment to support all initiatives with the objective to free Darfur/Sudan from ERW including but not limited to 1) clearance of affected areas and 2) awareness-raising campaigns at community level on the risks UXOs pose," said a joint declaration signed by Ibrahim and Minnawi extended to Sudan Tribune on Friday.

The two leaders further called n the Sudanese government to share the same principles and adhere to the international legal norms that " support initiatives for the clearance of ERW through Comprehensive Peace Agreement, when possible, and during the post-conflict and recovery phases".

In December 2018, UNAMID declared Kulbus locality of West Darfur state as free of ERW but there are large amounts of unexploded ordnance in the region which is severely affected by the armed conflict since 2003.

Despite the relative calm in Darfur and the end of clashes between the government and armed groups, except in Jebel Marra, there is no peace agreement between the warring parties.

The government and the two movements had to resume negotiations last January but the process has been frozen after the eruption of the anti-government protests which continue t take place in the country.

JEM and SLM called on the international community to prioritize the "protection of IDPs and refugees and guarantee their safe and dignified voluntary return to their original lands as part and parcel of the efforts to achieve comprehensive and lasting peace in Darfur/Sudan".