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Darfur rebels declare three-month ceasefire to rescue landslides victims in Jebel Marra

Landslide affected area in eastern Jebel Marra on 14 September 2018 (Photo SLM-AW)

September 19, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudan Liberation Movement-led by Abdel Wahid al-Nur (SLM-AW) declared a three-month unilateral cessation of hostilities to allow humanitarian access to civilians in landslide-affected areas in Jebel Marra.

Torrential rains and landslides killed at least 21 people in Sampali area in eastern Jebel Marra on 7 September. However, the Sudanese authorities and UNAMID were not able to reach the rebel-controlled area due to the security situation there.

"In response to sheer humanitarian necessity and the plight of civilians in regions of Darfur severely affected by the flash flooding and landslides prompted by the severe downpour of the rainy season, the leadership of the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army declares a temporary unilateral ceasefire effective from September 20th to its termination date on December 18th 2018," said al-Nur in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Wednesday.

Following reports about the difficult situation of civilians hit by the landslide, the South Darfur Governor Adam al-Faki was in Khartoum to discuss the situation with Vice-President Mohammed Osman Youssef Kibir.

After the meeting, Faki stated that the incident took place in a rebel-controlled area and the asked the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) to intervene to rescue the affected people who had been forced to flee their villages after clashes between the government forces and the rebel fighters.

Since over two years the armed groups in Darfur observe a unilateral ceasefire to allow humanitarian access to civilians and create a conducive environment for the African Union-brokered peace process. But, the SLM-AW refuses to declare a unilateral truce like the other rebels

"The SLA exists solely to protect the people of Darfur and in this time it clearly recognizes that suspending military activities is necessary for the well being of the civilian population," al-Nur admitted.

The rebel leader further pledged to cooperate fully with UNAMID or any other international actors and both local and foreign aid groups, should they need the peaceful assistance of the SLA. Also, he expressed the Movement’s readiness to provide any support with any hidden agenda.

(ST)