6 February 2013

Sudan: Darfur Rebels Urge Humanitarian Aid to Civilians, Caution Against Mali Group

Photo: HCR/Y.Djigo
Displaced by fighting.

Khartoum — A Darfur rebel group urged humanitarian assistance to civilians displaced by the combats in Jebel Marra and warned the international community against the alleged arrival of Malian Islamist group in the region.

The UK based Sudan Social Development Organization (SUDO) said in a report released last week that the the number of families displaced by the fighting between the Sudanese army and the Sudan Liberation Movement - Abdel Wahid (SLM-AW) in Jebel Marra reached 1462 families. Last December, UNAMID spoke about 850 families.

The affected women and children who do not receive any humanitarian assistance fled to Nirtiti, in Central Darfur state. Some 20% are from Golo and 80% are from Jaldo. The SLM-AW took the control of the two mountainous locations respectively on 24 and 28 December.

The spokesperson of the rebel movement, Nimir Abdel-Rahman, on Wednesday told Sudan Tribune that fighting is still taking place in the two areas. He however denied reports that they restrict humanitarian access to the needy civilians.

"We appeal on the UN agencies and aid groups to provide humanitarian assistance to the civilians and we are ready to cooperate with them to secure their access and protect them ," Nimir fruther said.

Eduardo del Buey, Deputy Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General stated on 31 January that the Sudanese army and SLA-AW fighters block humanitarian access to many parts of Jebel Marra due to the clashes between the two sides.

Nimir confirmed that the humanitarian situation in the two areas is deteriorating and urged aid groups and UNAMID and aid groups to contact them on this regard.

The rebel official also said the Sudanese army continue to bombard their positions on daily basis.

He went further to say the SLM-AW leadership held a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the recent developments in the region after the alleged arrival of a Malian group in Darfur, after a series of attacks carried by the French and Malian armies during the last two weeks.

"The Islamist group of Ansar Al-Dine, arrived from Mali through the Niger and Libya," he said. He expressed fears that the Sudanese government might seek to hid them in mountainous Jebel Marra areas as they are hunted by the African and French armies.

"We are ready to cooperate with France and all the African countries that are fighting this terrorists group and provide them with all the information we have about their positions and numbers," he said.

Asked about reports saying that the Islamist and Jihadists groups are still in Mali, Nimir asserted that Ansar Al-Dine are in North Darfur as it was announced by Abul Gasim Imam, the spokesperson of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front and other rebel groups.

He went to say that the SLM-AW collected information proving they are near Kutum and Kabkabiya in North Darfur with over 60 vehicles.

He also said they believe that the Tuaregs entered into Darfur with the support of the Libyan Islamist groups and not the Libyan government as it was previously claimed by other groups.

Sudanese government did not react to the statements issued by Darfur rebel groups over the presence of the Malian groups in Darfur.

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