Sudan urges Darfur rebels to disarm
SUDAN: Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir on Sunday called on Darfur
rebels to lay down their arms and join peace talks, in the wake of fresh
clashes in the war-torn region of western Sudan.
"The people of Darfur who still hold on to weapons to fight the
Government should abandon these weapons," he said in a speech for the
Eid al-Fitr holidays which follow the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Rebels should "work with us in order to make the next round of talks
in Doha the last phase of suffering for our people," he said, in the
speech carried by the official SUNA news agency.
"The war in Darfur is less (intense) and almost finished," said the
president, who himself is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC)
for alleged crimes against humanity.
The rebel Sudan Liberation Army faction headed by Abdelwahid Nur said
on Friday that the armed forces had attacked its positions in Jabal
Marra and Korma in Darfur.
On Sunday, the army said an attack had taken place on Thursday in
Korma against members of SLA-Abdelwahid to "secure the region east of
Jabal Marra and allow the return of displaced people back to their
According to local sources, the fighting killed around 10 people and
left several wounded, but peacekeepers from the joint UN-African Union
force in Darfur (UNAMID) were unable to confirm the toll.
"We are concerned about the impact of these clashes on the civilian
population," UNAMID spokesman Noureddine Mezni told AFP.
In February, the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), the most
militarised of the Darfur groups, signed an accord with Khartoum in Doha
for a prisoner exchange and an eventual peace conference on Darfur.
The US envoy to Sudan, Scott Gration, is trying to get bring together
the fragmented rebel groups for the next round of talks in Doha in
October, but the exiled Abdelwahid Nur refuses to join.