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Darfur holdout group accepts UN calls for ceasefire over cononavirus

March 31, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - The holdout Sudan Liberation Movement/Army of Abdel Wahid al-Nur (SLM/A-AW) accepted the UN’s calls for a ceasefire in Darfur but reiterated its rejection to join the peace process in Juba.

SLM-AW fighters on guard during a visit by UNAMID chief Ibrahim Gambari to Fanga Suk village, in East Jebel Marra, West Darfur, on 18 March 2011 (Photo: Reuters)United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier on 22 March issued an appeal for a global ceasefire in the conflict-hit areas across the world to allow efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus and deliver humanitarian assistance to civilians.

Three days later, UNAMID head Jeremiah Mamabolo called on the SLM-AW to join the ongoing peace process in Juba and to cease fighting in Darfur. In the same vein, Gwi-Yeop Son, the Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, calling for a ceasefire across Sudan on 29 March.

In a six-page long statement issued on 30 March, the SLM-AW leader Abdel Wahid al-Nur responded positively to Guterres call pointing that the first to call for an international action to prevent the spread of CVID-19 in the camps of Darfur displaced persons and refugees on 19 March.

Also, he criticized Hamdok government saying that it has no authority on the ground and that the power "remains in the hands of the leadership of the Sudanese Armed Forces" and the "Janjaweed genocidaire militias".

Further, al-Nur repeated his rejection of the peace process taking in the South Sudanese capital which he described as "a cosmetic exercise" to " legitimize a transitional government that lacks genuine sovereignty".

"As we have clearly stated the SLM will only participate in full negotiations when all stakeholders will have a true, unfettered voice at both the regional and national level and no longer under the gun of the forces of the old order," he stressed.

"We can assure the UN, however, as is clearly established that the SLA will continue to exercise a de facto ceasefire and not engage in offensive operations," he declared.

He further said that they will only respond in self-defence to hostile attacks by the Rapid Support Forces or "other armed aggressors" on their military positions or civilians.

He further called on the United Nations to deliver the needed humanitarian support to the war-affected civilians in Darfur and not to withdraw UNAMID but instead reinforce it.

(ST)