Monday, February 09, 2004

Sudan: Bashir claims victory in Darfur

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir announced that the Darfur rebels have been defeated and ...
He called for a general amnesty throughout the region provided that all rebels surrender their weapons to police within a month, and for the organization of a conference on "development and peace" in the Darfur area.
The AFP story carries quotes from one rebel group -- the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM)
"... We still control all of our positions in the Darfur region, notably in Jabal Marrah and Jabal Moun," two mountainous districts, [JEM spokesperson] Abdel Kerim told AFP by telephone.

Abdel Kerim, who said he was speaking from the Jabal Marrah area, said his movement had been observing a unilateral ceasefire for over a week for "humanitarian reasons", especially to allow refugees to move within the region.
The BBC got through to the chairman of the Sudan Liberation Army/Movement (SLA/M) who also issued a denial.
... he said towns and villages had been destroyed, but rural areas were in rebel hands.

Abd el-Wahad Ahmed turned down the suggestion of a conference, saying his movement would only participate in internationally mediated talks.
And, the government has declined the invitation, issued last week, to attend ceasefire talks with the Darfur rebels in Geneva. Check this post for more on the invitation.

Note: According to the AFP story, JEM is observing a unilateral ceasefire for humanitarian resons. But if you read that post on the Geneva invitation, the Reuters story has JEM saying that they wouldn't negotiate for a cesefire, even for humanitarian reasons. There is some detail missing here ... a mistake by one of the news agencies perhaps.