Sudan

Sudan’s al-Bashir declares open-ended ceasefire in Darfur and Two Areas

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January 28, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir on Monday has declared an open-ended cessation of hostilities at all war zones until achieving peace in the country.

The Sudanese army has been fighting the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) rebels in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan, also known as the Two Areas since 2011 and a group of movements in Darfur since 2003.

Speaking to a crowd at a football stadium in Kadougli, capital of South Kordofan State, al-Bashir said his country has exerted every possible effort to bring peace, vowing to make further efforts to achieve peace across Sudan.

Al-Bashir, who appeared in his full military uniform and was heavily guarded, hoped that his next meeting with the crowd will take place in Kauda, the stronghold of the SPLM-N after achieving peace.

“They [the rebels] are our brothers and they belong to us and we want them to return and live among us in order to build this country”, said al-Bashir in a reconciliatory tone

The Sudanese president pledged to complete all development and services projects in South Kordofan including the ring road and the electricity grid.

The African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) is brokering comprehensive peace talks to end the war and achieve democratic reforms. The two-track process comprises the Sudanese government and opposition forces including the armed groups in Darfur and the Two Areas.

Large protests have been ongoing across Sudanese cities since 19 December. The demonstrations first began over fuel shortages and a hike in food prices but have now morphed into full-fledged protests calling for al-Bashir to step down.

The protests pose the biggest threat yet to president al-Bashir in his three-decade rule.

The Sudanese government has confirmed the deaths of 29 people in the course of the protests but other credible reports including from Amnesty International suggest the death toll is nearly twice as high.

(ST)