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Sudan Tribune

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Bashir says Darfur does not need peacekeepers

April 8, 2015 (EL-FASHIR) – The Sudanese president Omer Hassab al-Bashir said that Darfur region does not need the hybrid peacekeeping mission (UNAMID), adding that local traditions and customs are enough to resolve conflicts in the region.

Sudan's incumbent president Omer Hassan al-Bashir waves to supporters during a campaign rally at El Fasher in North Darfur on 8 April 2015 (Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)
Sudan’s incumbent president Omer Hassan al-Bashir waves to supporters during a campaign rally at El Fasher in North Darfur on 8 April 2015 (Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)
Following media reports late last year about mass rape in Tabit, a village 45km south-west of North Darfur capital El-Fasher, Sudanese authorities loudly criticised the UNAMID for echoing the news.

They were also angered after remarks by UN officials who called for further investigation, pointing to the heavy presence of military and police during the first probe.

Since then, Sudan refused to authorise a second investigation and called publicly to speed up the finalisation of an exit strategy for the joint mission from Darfur.

Addressing an electoral rally in El-Fashir on Wednesday, Bashir expressed regret over the killing of dozens during recent clashes between Berti and Zayadia tribes in North Darfur state, and said he was upset and dismayed by the news.

He said the conflict between the two tribes was not due to normal differences but a result of a conspiracy that aimed at destabilising the region and sabotaging elections.

More than 30 people were killed in intermittent clashes between Berti and Zayadia last March amid large mobilisation of armed tribesmen form both side.

Sudan’s parliamentary and presidential elections will kick off on Monday 13 April.

The Sudanese president warned Darfur people against allowing Satan to fuel discord among them through tribalism and regionalism, saying there is no difference between Arab and African tribes.

He pledged to bring Darfur back to its old days, saying the region’s local mechanism of conflict resolution are being taught in the most prestigious universities of the United States.

“Do you need anyone to reconcile among you? Do you need UNAMID? Do you need the AU, UN or IGAD?” he said.

The government forces conducted a brutal counter-insurgency campaign following the start of a rebellion in Darfur 2003.

UN agencies estimate as many as 300,000 people have been killed and almost 3 million were displaced.

UNAMID has been deployed in Darfur since 2008 with a mandate to stem violence against civilians in the restive region.

It is the world’s second largest international peacekeeping force with an annual budget of $1.35 billion and almost 20,000 troops.

Bashir praised steadfastness of the residents of El-Fashir and their resistance to the rebellion for 12 years, vowing to uproot rebellion during a brief period of time.

He congratulated the residents of El-Fashir for the Al-Inghaz Al-Gharbi highway, pledging to complete renaissance and development in the region.

“Development and security are the two sides for the same coin,” he said.

Bashir underscored that Chadian president Idriss Deby is keen to achieve peace in Darfur, saying we haven’t seen anything bad from him since he came to Sudan and raised the white handkerchief.

In August of 2010, Deby arrived in Khartoum for the first time in more than six years to end a long-running tension in relations between the two countries. At the official talks he raised a “white handkerchief” as a sign of resolution to normalise relations with Sudan.

Since then ties between the two countries witnessed remarkable development and Deby joined hands with Bashir to resolve the conflict in Darfur.

The president further promised to extend the Al-Inghaz Al-Gharbi highway to link Chad with the Sudanese Red Sea port of Port Sudan.

He said were it not for the rebellion, the highway should have been extended to El-Fashir since several years ago, stressing that rebel groups hinder government efforts to build schools and dig water wells in order to serve foreign agenda.

Bashir also directed his words to the rebel groups saying government posts will no longer be given to arms bearers, stressing they will decisively confront the rebels.

“He who wants to hold a government post should earn it through the people’s [votes],” he added.

(ST)