1st LD Writethru: Darfur's Jebel Marra still a conflict zone: UN official

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, February 26, 2019
Adjust font size:

UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- The security situation in the Darfur region of Sudan has remained relatively stable, but intermittent clashes in Jebel Marra between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA)/Abdul Wahid (AW) faction continue, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Africa Bintou Keita told the Security Council on Monday.

"The Jebel Marra area is still a conflict zone, without the cessation of hostilities. Overall, there are still close to 2 million IDPs (internally displaced persons) in Darfur," said Keita at a Security Council meeting on Sudan and South Sudan.

According to Keita, On Jan. 17, 28, and 29, SLA/AW elements attacked SAF personnel in Manabu farming area, and three SAF personnel were killed. The SAF and SLA/AW continued to exchange fire in Manabu on Feb. 9, 11, 17 and 19, resulting in the death of seven SLA/AW members and one SAF personnel in total.

In addition, infighting between two sub-factions of the SLA/AW was reported on Jan. 17, Feb. 7 and Feb. 13, with four casualties, Keita said, adding that these factions disagree over their prospects of participation in the peace, process, while some of their clashes also seem to indicate competition over scarce resources.

Though these clashes have not resulted in new displacement, civilians in the area have been exposed to numerous incidents of robbery, abduction, and violence, attributed to both personnel in military attire and SLA/AW element, she added.

Local capacity for the rule of law needs to be strengthened for the prevention and resolution of inter-communal tensions, particularly where clashes persist over access to land, migration routes, and other sources of livelihood, Keita said.

Furthermore, according to the latest report, dated Jan. 14, of the Secretary-General on the AU-UN hybrid operation in Darfur, the threat of sexual violence remained significant, restricting women's freedom of movement to undertake livelihood activities around camps for the displaced and in areas of return, including during flight for those displaced because of the conflict in Jebel Marra.

During the reporting period from Oct. 4, 2018 to Jan. 3, 2019, there were 31 incidents of sexual and gender-based violence, the report said.

Keita called on the government of Sudan to continue its efforts toward creating conditions propitious to the return of IDPs, and among the confidence building measures that could be envisaged, to pursue a constructive dialogue with the special representative of the Secretary-General on sexual violence in conflict, and swiftly adopt a framework of cooperation as basis to address sexual violence.

In addition, efforts should be made in earnest by the international community to mobilize the resources that are needed to support the exit strategy of the African Union-United Nations' operation in Darfur (UNAMID) and its immediate effect on the ability of the Government of Sudan, and the UN Country Team (UNCT), to address the challenges of the transition in Darfur, while focusing on a difficult economic and social and humanitarian context in the larger Sudan, said Keita.

"It is our collective responsibility to ensure that the exit of UNAMID does not create a vacuum that leads to persistent local-level tensions or new risk factors," she said.

The full exit of UNAMID from Darfur is expected to be completed by the end of 2020, and it is "the first hybrid mission has begun preparations for its eventual exit," said the Secretary-General in his Jan. 14 report.

The western Sudanese region of Darfur has been plagued by a war between Sudanese government forces and the indigenous population since 2003.

In early 2008, the UNAMID was deployed in Darfur, and it is considered as the second biggest peacekeeping mission in the world, after the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Enditem

Follow China.org.cn on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from China.org.cnMobileRSSNewsletter