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‘Most of Jebel Marra liberated’: Central Darfur governor

February 3 - 2016 ZALINGEI / PARIS
Paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces are cheering in South Darfur, 2015 (file photo)
Paramilitaries of the Rapid Support Forces are cheering in South Darfur, 2015 (file photo)

About 90 percent of Jebel Marra has been freed from the grip of the rebels, according to Jaafar Abdelhakam, Governor of Central Darfur. However rebel leader Abdelwahid El Nur strongly denied the words of the governor.

The villagers in the area are able to safely return to their homes and continue their work on the farms and at the markets, Governor Abdelhakam told representatives of the UN and aid organisations in the state capital of Zalingei on Monday.

He said that the humanitarian situation in Jebel Marra is “under control”, and that a total of about 200 families fled to Tur and Guldo.

Abdelhakam further accused the rebels of oppressing and extorting the residents of Jebel Marra.

The humanitarian situation in Jebel Marra is “under control”. 

Strongholds intact

Abdelwahid El Nur, head of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-AW) in Jebel Marra, told Radio Dabanga on Tuesday that the army and militia forces failed to penetrate the movement’s military bases during a major government offensive launched on 15 January.

The rebel leader stressed that the rebel fighters are still in control of the SLM sites. “They know the Jebel Marra area, used for training and rehabilitation, extremely well. The government forces did not manage to enter any of our military sites.”

He attributed the governor’s statements to “the authorities’ need for moral victory”, and said that the rebel forces “fought valiantly in many areas in defence of the people, despite lacking a strategy”.

El Nur accused the Sudanese government of bringing in forces from neighbouring countries and Islamic State fighters to fight the rebels in the central Darfur region.

“The authorities are barring the aid organisations access to Jebel Marra as they do not want them to see the extent of the destruction and damage done so far.”

He strongly denied the governor’s claim that only 200 families fled the fighting and bombardments. “Tens of thousands of villagers had to flee their homes, and are currently hiding in the caves and valleys high up in the mountain range, or they found refuge in towns and camps down.

“The authorities are barring the aid organisations access to Jebel Marra as they do not want them to see the extent of the destruction and damage done so far.”

Technical agreement

The Central Darfur governor instructed the signing of any technical agreements between governmental bodies and international and national organisations before he has seen them, to “avoid friction between the government and the organisations, and overcome suspicion and mistrust”. He called on the international organisations to work together with the national organisations. All financial transactions are to take place under auspices of the Ministry of Finance.

Abdelhakam further stressed the changed situation, which requires contributions to development instead of the provision of relief.  


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