23 January 2019

Sudan: UNAMID Head Opens New HQ in Central Darfur, Renews Appeal to Holdout Rebels

Zalingei — The head of the African Union - United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (Unamid) Joint Special Representative (JSR), Jeremiah Mamabolo, has renewed his appeal to holdout rebel leader, Abdelwahid El Nur, head of the Sudan Liberation Movement-Abdul Wahid (SLM-AW), to join the peace process.

Mamabolo was speaking at the official inauguration of the new Mission Headquarters in Zalingei, Central Darfur yesterday.

A Unamid statement following the inauguration points out that "the new HQ has been operational since October 2018, when key Mission components were relocated there from El Fasher.

The move of Unamid's HQ from El-Fasher, capital of North Darfur to Zalingei, is part of the Mission's ongoing reconfiguration plan mandated by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2429(2018)."

Inauguration ceremony

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Mamabolo thanked the government of Sudan at both federal and state levels for their cooperation in facilitating the relocation process.

Unamid head Jeremiah Mamabolo (File photo: UN)

"This occasion marks an important milestone for the Darfur transition in general, and for Unamid in particular. The new Mission headquarters we are formally inaugurating today, demonstrates the positive dynamics in Darfur's peace process and is indicative of the increasing stability in the region," said Mamabolo.

I would like to take this opportunity to once again call on Abdelwahid El Nur and his sympathisers to seriously consider the benefits that peace would bring to Darfur as a whole and the Jebel Marra area in particular," he concluded.

'Stern action'

As previously reported by Radio Dabanga, reporting to the UN Security Council (UNSC) in October 2018, Mamabolo called on the Council "to consider stern action" against El Nur and his faction "because, from all accounts, he prefers belligerence and armed struggle to the cessation of hostilities and a political process," Mamabolo told the UNSC at the time, predicting that "it is highly unlikely that he would change this position any time soon".

'Exceeded mandate'

Mamabolo's remarks to the UNSC drew sharp criticism from the heads of Darfur's armed movements. The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), the Sudan Liberation Movement faction led by Arko Minni Minawi (SLM-MM), the opposition Sudanese Congress Party, and the leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement faction (SLM-AW) Abdelwahid El Nur himself, all strongly criticised Mamabolo, accusing him of exceeding his mandate.

Abdelwahid El Nur, the target of Mamabolo's remarks, sharply criticised the head of Unamid, describing him as "unfit to fill the post".

Governor of Central Darfur

Also speaking at yesterday's inauguration ceremony in Zalingei, the Wali (Governor) of Central Darfur, Mohammad Ahmed Jadelsid, expressed his pleasure at the relocation of Unamid's HQ to Central Darfur and renewed his government's support to the Mission in implementing its mandate.

"I would like to thank Unamid for its contribution to projects such as capacity building of the judiciary and law enforcement institutions, rehabilitation of schools and roads which positively impacted the daily lives of the people in the state," he stated.

"We hope that the move of the Mission's HQ to Zalingei would create the opportunity for increasing its support for such projects which would further enhance stability and development the state is witnessing," the Wali concluded.

The inauguration was attended by officials of the government of Sudan, Native Administration, and civil society representatives, Mission leadership, peacekeepers, and other Unamid personnel.

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