Sudan: Darfur unrest returns

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The fragile peace achieved in Darfur region of Sudan is under threat as the main rebel group in the region promises an “all-out war” following reports that Sudan’s officials have been asked to arrest its leader.

The government of President Omar al-Bashir has requested Interpol to arrest Justice and Equality Movement (Jem) leader Khalil Ibrahim, for his role in 2008 planned attack.

According to the chairman of Jem’s Legislative Council, Eltahir Adam Elfaki: ”If any attempt is made to arrest Dr. Khalil then it is all-out war. Even as we speak, the Sudanese government is bombarding areas of North Darfur and West Darfur.”

Reports have claimed that Mr. Khalil is currently in Egypt- a country allied to the government of President al-Bashir.

“Bashir is an indicted criminal – indicted by the ICC – and has no right to ask for anyone to be indicted by Interpol,” Mr. Elfaki was quoted by reporters.

In February, Jem signed a ceasefire with the Khartoum government of Sudan. After the ceasefire was signed with Jem, President al-Bashir declared that the war in Darfur was over.

However, Jem have since accused the Khartoum government of intermittent military raids, and earlier this month it boycotted peace talks with the Khartoum based government.

Prior to the recently concluded Sudan elections, Jem and another Darfur rebel group, the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), signed a ceasefire with the government but the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) also a Darfur-based rebel group led by Abdul Wahid refused to take part in the peace talks; and is still fighting the government.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for President al-Bashir over alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur. However, Sudan’s government denies claims that it backed Arab militias accused of ethnic cleansing against black African groups in Darfur.

According to the United Nations, the conflict in Darfur which began in 2003, has claimed over 300,000 lives and forced over 2.7 million to flee their homes.

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