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Darfur rebel leader responds to Unamid remarks on ceasefire

November 7 - 2016 PARIS
Abdelwahid El Nur, leader of the rebel SLM-AW, in the field (file photo)
Abdelwahid El Nur, leader of the rebel SLM-AW, in the field (file photo)

On Sunday, the leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-AW) issued a statement in response to remarks of the head of Unamid about the movement’s stance regarding a ceasefire in Darfur.

The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), and the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM) declared a unilateral six-month cessation of hostilities in Blue Nile, South Kordofan, and Darfur. The ceasefire would take effect on 31 October.

Four days later, the UN-AU Mission in Darfur (Unamid) issued a statement in which it commended the decision. Unamid’s Joint Special Representative, Martin Uhomoibhi, used the opportunity to "once again", call upon SLM-AW’s chairman, Abdelwahid El Nur, “to make a similar declaration to signal a genuine intent that peace is a strategic choice for him and his movement”.

'Khartoum not serious'

In response to Uhomoibhi’s statement, SLM-AW chairman Abdelwahid El Nur points to the various rounds of peace talks in Chad’s Abéché in 2003 and Ndjamena in 2004, followed by seven rounds of negotiations in Abuja, capital of Nigeria, in 2005-2006.

“Our movement sought genuine and lasting peace during long-run negotiations with the regime, until it became clear to that the Islamists ruling regime in Khartoum has never been serious to address the root causes to the conflict that will bring a comprehensive and sustainable peace to Sudan.”

According to the SLM-AW chairman, Khartoum is “merely seeking peace of positions that solves certain individuals problems, but not the problems of the country.” He stresses that it has been clear from the start that the SLM-AW strives for “a comprehensive peace; through genuine political transformation”.

El Nur further points to the fact that the rebel movement “does not possess Antonovs and Sukhois, rocket launchers, paramilitary forces, and chemical weapons like the regime in Khartoum with which it is committing genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity [..] in Darfur.

“Therefore, the criminal government of Sudan, indicted by the International Criminal Court, is the party that should be urged to commit itself with genuine intentions to a real peace process.”

Camps

The rebel leader further “takes this opportunity to solemnly request the head of Unamid and the Joint Chief Mediator for peace in Darfur, Mr Martin Uhomoibhi, to visit the camps for the displaced in Darfur, to see by himself how the victims of the genocide are dying by attrition in their overcrowded camps instead of staying in an office and launch such statements.

“Currently we have 175 camps for the displaced and refugee camps filled with more than three million displaced and refuges who are short of water, food, medicines, shelter, and other life-saving necessities. This year alone more than 500,000 civilians were newly displaced and hundreds of villages burned to ashes, not to mention the unfathomable crimes of mass rape, committed with the intention to break the will and dehumanise the victims of genocide.”

El Nur concludes his statement by accusing the Unamid head of “collaborating with the perpetrators of genocide. [..] Moreover; making such untimely authoritative statements by the head of Unamid gives us an impression that Mr Uhomoibhi is making such statements in order to protect his position”.

In early January this year, the Sudanese government repeatedly attacked SLM-AW military sites in the Jebel Marra mountain range in Central Darfur. Both parties claimed victories.

The fighting caused the displacement of ten of thousands of people.

OCHA reported on Sunday that as of 31 October, nearly 87,000 Darfuris who were displaced this year have been recorded. Aid agencies have not been able to verify the reportedly more than 118,000 Darfuris who fled their homes this year. Most of the newly displaced in Darfur in 2016 come from Jebel Marra.  


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