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Central Darfur gov claims state is ‘free of COVID-19′ 

The wali (governor) of Central Darfur, Adeeb Abdelrahman, announced that “the state is free from any Coronavirus infection,” and defended the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdelwahid El Nur (SLM-AW), saying that it does not compromise services, agriculture, or mining in the state.

The governor said that the COVID-19 report in the state is zero, adding that quarantine centres at localities in the state are free from any coronavirus cases. He also pointed out that the state only registered seven COVID-19 cases during the first wave of the pandemic.

Throughout the pandemic, there have been concerns about the number of unrecorded and undetected cases in Sudan. A report from the Imperial College London COVID-19 Response Team in collaboration with multiple partners, revealed on December 1 that an estimated two per cent of COVID-19 deaths were reported in Khartoum.

He also said that education in the state had continued without interruption and that examination centre had been established in Rokoro and other areas which border areas controlled by SLM-AW. He described the current agricultural season as “one of the most successful” and praised the contribution of the joint forces, including the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), in securing and protecting the season.

Security Threats

During the fortnightly forum for state governors in Khartoum, Abdelrahman asserted that the SLM-AW “did not attack citizens and government institutions and did not negatively affect the performance of the government.” The SLM-AW has previously been involved in clashes in the region despite a unilateral ceasefire.

He suggested that most of the crimes committed in the state are acts of robbery, theft, and attacks on farmers and “these do not constitute a security threat.” Central Darfur “is the only state in Darfur not to witness any demonstrations,” he said.

He confirmed the resumption of work on the Zalingei-Nierteti road and the establishment of electricity connecting to the city Zalingei, after unidentified gunmen looted a commercial vehicle on the road last week. Eight of the state’s localities are still without internet, according to the wali.

In February, Radio Dabanga reported three separate armed robberies in Nierteti. On November 11, residents of Zalingei started a sit-in and closed the bridge in the town, protesting against the rampant insecurity in the area.

Since January 24, Radio Dabanga has reported recurrent attacks on villages in Tawila locality, an area controlled by the SLM-AW, in neighboring North Darfur, which left 22 dead, 11 wounded, and 22,000 displaced, according to residents.

United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) bases in Zalingei and Nierteti have been secured, said Abdelrahman, after a North Darfur site was looted on February 17, just weeks after it was handed over to the Sudanese government.

Peace Project

The Central Darfur has started a ‘Peace Cultivation Project’, said Abdelrahman, which was launched in Zalingei and has now moved to local villages. In regard to transitional justice, he said that “the state has acknowledged the existence of mass graves.”

Abdelrahman said that certain parties had impersonated the names of groups that signed the Juba Peace Agreement, maintaining that the Juba Peace Agreement must be implemented, especially security arrangements. “The issue of disarmament is linked to security arrangements and that there is a need to define the difference between armed groups and movements,” he said. This comes after Dr El Hadi Idris, member of Sudan’s Sovereignty Council and head of the Sudan Revolutionary Front, warned of the dangers of delaying the implementation of the provisions of the peace agreement, pointing to the large proliferation of weapons in Darfur, on Wednesday.

He confirmed the presence of people in the lands of the displaced and explained that the Juba Peace Agreement dealt with the issue of hawakeer (lands traditionally used by a particular clan or tribal group). However, he said that “a number of terms should be redefined regarding new settlers, human rights, and voluntary return.”

The mainstream SLM-AW have, so far, refused to join peace talks, which began after the establishment of a transitional government in Sudan last year. El Nur says he will only join negotiations after security and stability have been realised in Sudan’s conflict-torn western region. Displaced people still complain about insecurity and attacks on civilians in Darfur.

In September, the governor of East Darfur received a proposal for a peace initiative for an internal dialogue on Darfur, initiated by SLM-AW.

Source : Dabanga

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