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Sudan Tribune

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SPLM-N threatens to quit peace talks over use of chemical weapons

September 30, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – The rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) on Friday said it is considering to suspend participation in the peace talks with the Sudanese government over accusations about the use of chemical weapons by Sudanese army in Darfur.

A SPLA-N rebel soldier, in South Kordofan (AFP)
A SPLA-N rebel soldier, in South Kordofan (AFP)
In a report released on Thursday, Amnesty International accused the Sudanese government forces of using chemical weapons repeatedly against civilians, including babies and young children, in one of the most remote regions of Darfur over the past eight months.

The alleged chemical attacks, believed to have killed up to 250 people, mostly children, represent a “new low” in the catalogue of serious abuses perpetrated by government forces in the region, said the human rights group.

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Friday, SPLM-N Secretary General Yasir Arman said his movement is considering to stop talks with the government and demand the UN Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council to conduct an impartial inquiry on the use of chemical and internationally banned weapons by the Sudanese army in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

He said the SPLM-N would consult with its allies in the opposition umbrella Sudan Call in this regard, calling for the need to issue international resolutions to protect civilians in Darfur and the Two Areas.

The rebel leader pointed they would underline to the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) which is organizing unofficial consultations among Sudan’s warring parties in Addis Ababa on Saturday the need to conduct an African investigation on those accusations.

He urged the Sudanese inside the country and abroad to launch a wide campaign to press the government and the African and international community to conduct an impartial investigation on those allegations, protect civilian populations and stop the war and war crimes in Sudan.

Arman further pointed that the government is preparing to launch a large military attack in the Two Areas during the summer which indicates that the regime is not keen to achieve peace.

He described Amnesty’s report as “courageous”, saying it broke the silence of the international community toward the violations committed by the Sudanese government in conflict zones, saying the rights group had previously shown evidence that the government uses cluster bombs in Darfur and the Two Areas.

The Sudanese army has been fighting SPLM-N rebels in Blue Nile and South Kordofan since 2011 and a group of armed movements in Darfur since 2003.

After a series of talks in Addis Ababa between 9 to 14 August, the Sudanese government, SPLM-N, Sudan Liberation Movement–Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM), Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) failed to sign cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access agreements.

(ST)