Jebel Marra — The Sudan Liberation Movement headed by Abdelwahid El Nur (SLM-AW) accused militiamen of killing 16 villagers, stealing livestock, and taking property in an unnamed village in southern Jebel Marra on Saturday.
In a statement, spokesman for the movement, Mohamed El Nayer, condemned the burning of villages, which has previously caused thousands of civilians to flee high up into the mountains, who are now living in dire humanitarian conditions. He stressed that the movement will continue to resist "the regime" through all means of struggle and any means possible.
The SLM-AW is the holdout rebel movement in the area, which has led the Sudanese army and air force to target the area in its attempt to remove all rebel movements from Darfur.
The Jebel Marra massif lies at the centre of the Darfur region, bordering the state divisions of Central, South and North Darfur. It is a fertile region inhabited mainly by the Fur tribe and has since 2003 been the primary stronghold of the SLM-AW.
It is the only place in Darfur where armed opposition maintains prolonged control over territory and the only area in Darfur to which humanitarian organisations had no access between 2011 and 2015.
Main obstacles to free and regular access to the area include restrictions by the parties to the conflict, preventing humanitarian organisations from entering both government and rebel-controlled areas.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Sudan, during the first half of 2018, some 15,000 people were newly displaced in Darfur, all of which was in and from Jebel Marra. UN OCHA estimates that about 386,000 people have returned to their areas of origin in Sudan since 2015, mainly in Darfur.
In September 2018 the SLM-AW announced a ceasefire to faciliate access and relief aid to a landslide-affected area in East Jebel Marra. Abdelgader Gadoura, commander-in-chief of the movement, said in November that although the SLM-AW has declared a ceasefire, the regime has continued to breach the agreement.
Map of movement of displaced persons and refugees to and from Darfur state, October 2018 (Source: UNOCHA)