The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement North faction led by Abdelaziz El Hilu (SPLM-N El Hilu) announced on Wednesday an extension of the unilateral cease fire for three months in the states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan.
The movement said that the decision to extend the cessation of hostilities unilaterally in all areas under its control comes as a goodwill gesture and to give the ongoing peace talks in Juba an opportunity to succeed. The cease fire will be valid until March 31.
El Hilu called on all his army units to abide by the declaration, effective January 1.
In an order seen by Radio Dabanga issued yesterday to all units under his command, El Hilu instructed them “to observe and respect this declaration and refrain from any hostile acts, except in cases of self-defence and for protection of civilians”.
On December 15, the Sudanese government and the armed movements in Sudan signed a goodwill agreement to extend the Juba Declaration of Principles, which includes a cease fire, for two months.
The Political Agreement that ends on February 14, 2020 was signed by the chief negotiator of the government, Lt Gen Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemeti’, and representatives of the rebel groups.
On Tuesday, six United Nations agencies arrived in the SPLM-N El Hilu-controlled areas in South Kordofan to start the process of providing humanitarian assistance.
The agencies included Unicef, the World Food Programme, OCHA, FAO, Global Health, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Mission representatives visited Kauda, and a number of service facilities, including schools, health centres, the Women Union, and some of the offices of local organisations operating in the region, the movement said in a statement.
The rebel faction described the move as good and “a move in the right direction to achieve peace”. It stated that it will allow relief through air routes, “only because of the necessity and importance of the matter”.
As reported by Radio Dabanga in December, the SPLM-N El Hilu agreed to open a number of roads in the Nuba Mountains, in particular the main roads of Heiban and Kauda partly held by SPLM-N El Hilu.
In late September, the Sudanese government Humanitarian Aid Commission approved a UN initiative to deliver humanitarian aid to people living in rebel-controlled areas in South Kordofan and Blue Nile state. In October, Sudan’s Council of Ministers granted permission to the World Food Programme (WFP) to visit Kauda in South Kordofan for the first time in more than eight years. WFP Executive Director David Beasley reached Kauda on October 23. Two months later, on December 18, Beasley visited the SPLM-N El Hilu-held area of Yabus in the extreme south of Blue Nile state.
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