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Three armed groups extend unilateral ceasefire in Darfur

August 8, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - Three armed group extended for three months a unilateral cessation of hostilities in Darfur region, according to a joint statement released on Wednesday.

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Undated picture extended to Sudan Tribune on 28 April 2015 by the Justice and Equality Movement showing their fighters during a training exercise

"The Sudan Liberation Movement led by Minni Minnawi (SLM/A), the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), and Sudan Liberation Movement–Transitional Council (SLM–TC) hereby declare an immediate unilateral Cessation of Hostilities for Humanitarian Purposes," says a statement released on Wednesday.

JEM and SLM-MM are part of a political process for peace in Darfur region brokered by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) and backed by the United Nations.

Last April, in a meeting held in Berlin by the German government which facilitates the peace talks, the parties failed to ink a pre-negotiation agreement.

The two movements accepted that the discussions be based on the Doha framework agreement but claim a new agreement on the implementation modalities but Khartoum rejects the demand.

The joint declaration which signed by the leaders of the three groups further provides that the "Cessation of Hostilities shall enter into force at 11:59 pm (SLT) on the 7th of August 2018 and will extend for 3 months to 11:59 pm (SLT) on 6th of November 2018".

The SLM–TC is not part of the peace talks.

The joint statement expressed "deep concern" over the "repeated violations" of the unilateral ceasefire pointing to clashes in Jebel Marra area between the Sudanese government forces and the SLM-A led by Abdel Wahid al-Nur which is not part of the peace process and rejects to commit to the unilateral truce.

Further, it called on the international community to put pressure on Khartoum government to end the "continued attacks on civilians" in the region and to ensure unfettered humanitarian access to civilians in the conflict zones.

The unilateral ceasefire by the government and the armed groups in Darfur has been implemented since October 2015.

The government convinced the international community to drastically reduce the peacekeeping force in the region, pointing to the relative security in Darfur region and the deployment of the government troops across the region.

But the armed groups say this calm does not mean the end of the armed rebellion In the region and warn they can resume attacks in the peace process fails.

(ST)