South Kordofan identifies 40 villages for voluntary return: commissioner

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October 12, 2018 (KHARTOUM) – The government of South Kordofan State said it has identified 40 villages for voluntary return pointing to the return of large numbers of residents from the rebel-controlled areas.

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Children sit in a cave shelter in Bram village in the Nuba Mountains, South Kordofan on 28 April 2012 (Photo: Reuters /Goran Tomasevic)

The semi-official SMC has quoted the state humanitarian aid commissioner Khidir Tawil as saying three committees including inside the state and at the federal level and abroad were formed to facilitate the voluntary return efforts.

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Last month, Tawil said 74,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have returned to their original villages in the state during the previous period.

Also, the government of South Kordofan State last June said more than 192,000 people have returned to their original villages in the state since last year.

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.

The SPLM-N is now divided into two factions: one led by Abdel Aziz al-Hilu and the other led by Malik Agar. The rift emerged last year over the right of self-determination and other organisational issues.

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Before the PSLM-N split, the Sudanese government and the Movement held 12 rounds of talks but they failed to reach a peace agreement.

Also, during the recent round of talks from 1 to 3 February, the Sudanese government and SPLM-N al-Hilu failed to reach a cessation of hostilities agreement.

The African mediation delinked the ceasefire and the humanitarian access and focused at this round only on the cessation of hostilities agreement.

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However, differences between the sides emerged when Khartoum proposed that the cessation of hostilities be a step towards a permanent ceasefire and humanitarian access.

For its part, the SPLM-N al-Hilu said they want this agreement to be limited to the security arrangement, pointing they are not ready for the political process.

Also, on the humanitarian issue, they reiterated that they want the emergency relief to be delivered from outside Sudan.

(ST)

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