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Memorial protest against war in Blue Nile

September 5 - 2016 ED DAMAZIN
Displaced people in Blue Nile (Radio Tamazuj)
Displaced people in Blue Nile (Radio Tamazuj)

Residents and displaced people in rebel-held areas in Sudan's Blue Nile went out in a demonstration on Friday 2 September, the anniversary of the outbreak of the war in the state.

Sudanese refugees in South Sudan reportedly also held a protest against the fighting between the Sudanese army and armed rebel movements in Blue Nile, that has lasted for five years.

Hashim Orta, the spokesman for the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North in Blue Nile, said in an interview with Radio Dabanga that the protesters have announced their solidarity with the rebel SPLM-N, that has recently sent a delegation to Addis Ababa to negotiate with the Sudanese government about a cessation of hostilities and access to humanitarian aid.

“The residents and displaced people have demanded the delivery of humanitarian aid to the area, in accordance with international humanitarian law,” Orta said. “They hope that the international community will intervene and save the victims of the war.”

The protesters welcomed the initiative for peace that the warring sides took in negotiation rounds last August. “But they refuse to submit to the will of the Khartoum regime […] that deprives the residents of these areas of food and medicine.”

The opposition forces, under the Sudan Appeal umbrella, agreed to join two-tracks peace negotiations on Darfur and on the 'Two Areas' (South Kordofan and Blue Nile states) with the Sudanese government, under auspices of the AU High-level Implementation Level in Addis Ababa. No agreement was reached, however, in the last negotiation round, between 9 and 14 August.

Orta said that the people have “showed their adherence to a comprehensive solution for the region. They have demanded autonomy for South Kordofan and Blue Nile.”

US Envoy visit

One week ago, US Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan Donald Booth visited Blue Nile and met with the officials, war-affected people, and the organisations working in the region. Mak Abu Shotal, one of the native administration leaders in Blue Nile, has described the visit as “an important step as the Blue Nile state is considered one of the war-affected regions”.

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