Sudan Rebel Groups Declare Six-month Ceasefire

Fighters of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) sit on the back of an armoured vehicle

The Sudanese opposition Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement’s Minni Minawi faction (SLM-MM) have made a joint declaration of a unilateral six-month humanitarian ceasefire, effective 11.59 pm (Sudan time GMT+3) tonight.

The declaration follows meetings in the French capital Paris on Monday and Tuesday between the leaders of both movements with Jeremiah Mamabolo, the new Joint Special Representative for Darfur and head of the UN hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur (Unamid), to discuss ways to revive the peace process in Darfur.

In today’s announcement, the SLM-MM and the JEM declare an immediate, unilateral “Cessation of Hostilities for Humanitarian Purposes”.

‘The objectives of the extended Cessation of Hostilities are to protect civilians, provide unhindered humanitarian access to war-affected populations, and create an environment conducive to peace.’

The statement says that the objectives of the extended Cessation of Hostilities are to protect civilians, provide unhindered humanitarian access to war-affected populations, and create an environment conducive to peace.

“The Cessation of Hostilities shall enter into force at 11:59pm (SLT) on 3 May 2017 and will extend for six months to 11:59pm (SLT) on 2 November 2017. The Cessation of Hostilities shall apply throughout the conflict areas of Darfur and Kordofan.”

Durable peace

The movements say that this move shows recognition that “the establishment of a durable peace is essential for all people of Sudan” and that they “remain resolved to adhere to the AUHIP Roadmap Agreement of 2016 as the means of achieving peace for all Sudan.”

‘…the establishment of a durable peace is essential for all people of Sudan…’

The movements “note with deep concern the Government of Sudan’s multiple and repeated violations of its own unilateral Cessation of Hostilities declarations, most recently exemplified by continued aerial attacks in Jebel Marra,” and are “deeply disturbed by the Government of Sudan’s continued violations of international law and attacks against civilians”.

Today’s declaration recalls the Sudan Revolutionary Front’s (SRF) prior declarations on unilateral Cessations of Hostilities, dated 17 October 2015, 21 April 2016, and 31 October 2016.

It states that the SLM-MM and JEM, as SRF member organisations, commit that they “will not, under any circumstances, initiate an attack or wage an offensive, and all armed groups under their control shall comply with the Cessation of Hostilities”.

However, it carried a caveat that “the Cessation of Hostilities shall not prejudice against acts of self-defence, acts for the protection of civilians, or acts against uncoordinated moving targets within or around the conflict areas”.

Source: Radio Dabanga

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