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‘New govt. offensive on Sudan’s Nuba Mountains to start soon’

March 7 - 2016 KADUGLI / KHARTOUM
Sudanese army troops in South Kordofan (James Akena/Reuters)
Sudanese army troops in South Kordofan (James Akena/Reuters)

Five people were reportedly killed in shelling by government forces west of Delling in South Kordofan on 28 February. An army commander announced a “decisive government offensive on South Kordofan this dry season, after the failure of peace talks”.

On Friday, Radio Dabanga reported that a civilian was killed in a missile attack on Salara, west of Delling, in the northern part of the war-torn state. Arnu Ngutulu Lodi, the spokesman for the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) corrected the figure later that day. “Bakhit Abbas Artuwish, Hassan Saleh Darweesh, Mujahid Abdelrahman Jorna, and Karamta Mohamed Saleh were killed in addition to [as originally reported] Jalal Abbas Kavira,” he said.

On Saturday, a Sudanese army field commander in the South Kordofan capital of Kadugli said that the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) are ready to start their ‘dry season’ military operations in South Kordofan State, after the arrival of a large contingent of paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

Speaking to a group of newly arrived RSF, the Division Commander of the SAF 14th Infantry, General Yasir Atta, stated that the military operations will target all rebel controlled areas after the failure of peace talks.

“The political, executive, and security leadership in South Kordofan are working in harmony and in full coordination to achieve a common goal, which is to restore security and stability to the state,” he said.

The South Kordofan deputy-governor, Babikir Ahmed Babikir, added that his government decided to resume fighting against the SPLM-N, because “they refused all peaceful solutions”.

Peace talks’

On Friday, Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman told the semi-official Sudanese Media Centre (SMC) that the government will not participate in the meeting with a number of Sudan’s opposition forces arranged by the AU High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) in Addis Ababa in March.

“The recent invitation of the African mechanism came to confuse rather than making strategic consultations,” he said, and warned not to confuse the National Dialogue and the bilateral peace negotiations between the government and the armed movements, explaining that the National Dialogue deliberations include “all sectors”.

In mid-February, AUHIP invited the Sudanese government, the National Umma Party, the SPLM-N, and the Darfuri Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Minni Minawi (SLM-AW) for a consultative strategic meeting in Addis Ababa on 16 -18 March, in a bid to break the deadlocks on the separate peace negotiations.

Last November, the AUHIP announced that both the peace negotiations tracks between Khartoum and the JEM and SLM-MM on Darfur, and with the SPLM-N on the Two Areas (South Kordofan and the Blue Nile) reached a deadlock over the security arrangements and the provision of humanitarian aid. After alternative informal sessions in Paris, Berlin, and Addis Ababa failed as well, AUHIP opted for a broad consultative meeting.

Fighting between the Sudanese army and combatants of the SPLM-N quickly spread in South Kordofan in June 2011, after security forces had attempted to forcibly disarm SPLM joint integrated police units.

(Sources: Sudan Tribune, Radio Dabanga)

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