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President Al Bashir to visit Darfur this month

March 16 - 2016 KHARTOUM
President Omar Al Bashir (file photo)
President Omar Al Bashir (file photo)

President Omar Al Bashir will tour all five Darfur states later this month to promote security and peace in the region.

State Minister of Cabinet Affairs Ahmed Fadul told the Sudan News Agency (Suna) on Tuesday that Al Bashir’s visit “comes within the framework of promoting security and peace in the region”.

He said that the president “will check the security conditions on the ground after the recent fighting in Jebel Marra between government forces and the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement, led by Abdelwahid El Nur (SLM-AW)”.

Fadul pointed out that Al Bashir’s visit coincides with “intensive preparations for the administrative referendum in Darfur”, scheduled to be held on 11-13 April.

Referendum

In the referendum, people currently residing in Darfur will be able to determine whether the region will continue as five states or return to one administrative unit. The referendum is stipulated in the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) that was signed in July 2011 by the Sudanese government and the Liberation and Justice Movement, a coalition of 19 breakaway factions of the Darfur rebel movements formed the year before.

Darfuris living in the camps for the displaced, Sudanese opposition parties, and civil society activists earlier expressed their grave concerns about holding the referendum in the current circumstances of rampant insecurity, and the attacks on Jebel Marra since 15 January that displaced more than 100,000 people.

On Tuesday, development expert Dr Waleed Madibo called on the people of Darfur to boycott the referendum, “because it aims to split the region based on tribalism.

“I appeal to the people of Darfur to resist the referendum by all possible means, by staying indoors and by voicing their rejection as much as possible,”he said.

According to the head of the Referendum Commission in Khartoum, the number of registered people reached 3.5 million out of the more than 4.5 million eligible voters in the region in late February.

“This is in itself enough reason to cancel the referendum, because this number is equal to half the population of Darfur, according to the results of the latest census,” Darfur lawyer and activist Mohamed Hala.stated on Sunday. “This is impossible as it means that even the Jebel Marra displaced hiding in caves up in the mountain managed to register for the referendum.”


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