NAIROBI, Nov 26 (AFP) — African Union Commission Chairman Alpha Oumar Konare has urged warring parties in Sudan’s Darfur region to refrain from ceasefire-violating hostilities, according to a statement received by AFP on Friday.
Clashes between the Sudanese army and the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) rebels erupted in North Darfur’s town of Tawilla several days ago and has forced the World Food Programme (WFP) to temporarily suspend its operations there.
Konare “condemns this escalating violence, which threatens the ongoing relief activities and places civilian lives at risk,” said the statement sent from AU headquarters in Addis Ababa.
The clashes violates the truce deal signed in Chad in April as well as a protocol to promote security signed in November, the statement said.
It also noted that SLM recently attacked the town of Um-Asal and another rebel group, the Justice and Equality Movement, occupied the town of Draida.
Konare told both sides to “exercise maximum restriant” as well as abandon “any recourse to violence and recommit themselves to the ceasefire.”
The 21-month conflict in Darfur flared after minority tribe rebels took up arms against the Sudanese government, prompting a heavy-handed response by Khartoum and allied militia.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed and around 1.6 million others displaced by the conflict that has spawned what the UN has described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.