‘General amnesty for child soldiers, rebel POWs’: Sudan’s President Al Bashir
Sudan’s President Omar Al Bashir has announced a general amnesty for all rebel fighters who have laid-down their arms. He also pledged to release child soldiers who fought for the armed movements.
The President was addressing the mass celebration in El Fasher yesterday, to mark the completion of implementation of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) and the consequent dismantling of the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA).
Al Bashir told the gathering that the child soldiers who were captured after the battles of Goz Dungor (in Tullus locality in April 2014), will be released to social care homes for rehabilitation. He said he will also consider amnesty for all Prisoners of War (POWs) who are prepared to lay-down their arms.
In other remarks during the celebration, which was attended by the Emir of Qatar, Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, President of Chad Idriss Deby and the President of the Central African Republic, Al Bashir praised the efforts of the government of Qatar government and people for their role in bringing peace to Sudan, especially in Darfur.
Chad’s President Idriss Deby, welcomed the occasion, saying that confirmed that the security and stability of Sudan impacts on the security of Chad and the entire region.
Speaking in his capacity as Chairperson of the African Union and referring to the armed opposition movements who have yet to join the peace process, Deby renewed his appeal to those movements who have not joined the negotiation platform to do so as soon as possible.
Outgoing DRA chairman, El Tijani Sese, said “the war in Darfur is over and development and stability phase has begun”.
He considered the declaration of collection of weapons as a guarantee for the repair of social fabric, peace and security.
The DDPD was signed on 11 July 2011 between the Sudanese government and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) of Tijani Sese. The Justice and Equality Movement faction led by Bakheit Abdel-Karim Dabajo (JEM-Dabajo) joined the deal on 6 April 2013.
Its terms stipulated the formation of the DRA, and ultimately the referendum that occurred in April this year.
The controversial referendum was designed to allow people living in all five Darfur states to define the permanent administrative status of the region, by opting for the current status of five states (states option), or for a return to Darfur as one large state or province (region option).
The vote was widely boycotted by the Darfur public, who were urged by the opposition to stay away from the polling booths. When the result of 97.72 per cent in favour of the ‘states option’ was announced, it was rejected. Government claims that more than three million Darfuris voted in the election were dismissed as ‘a fraud’.
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