Sudan: Zalingei-Darfur peace deal ends violence

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Prospects of peace has increased in Darfur after leaders of rival rebel groups signed a reconciliation deal in the West Darfur town of Zalingei brining an end to a warfare that has claimed more than 200 lives since March.

The Misseriya and Rizeigat groups in Sudan’s Darfur region have signed a United Nations-facilitated reconciliation agreement aimed at ending nearly four months of violent clashes.

The U.N./African Union UNAMID mission in Darfur, the Darfur Peace and Reconciliation Council, local leaders and native administrations set up a reconciliation committee earlier this year to try to end the fighting, and a conference was also held last month in Zalingei as part of efforts to tackle the root causes of the conflict.

The deal which was signed on Monday brings an end to the seven-year warfare that surged in 2003 when mostly non-Arab rebels waged war on Sudan’s government in Khartoum, accusing it of deserting the region.

Subsequently, the international community declared genocide when Sudan’s government allegedly mobilized militias to crush the non-Arab revolt, recruiting members of Arab tribes in the region.

The groups were also involved in underlying struggle for control of fertile grazing land, and have been caught in a cycle of revenge attacks since early March. Disputes have sometimes been over access to scarce resources in the arid and remote region of Darfur.

The most recent outbreak occurred last week in two villages not far from Zalingeim reportedly claiming 30 people. In the past seven years an estimated 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million others have been displaced as a result of fighting between rebels and Government forces.

All sides have been accused of serious human rights violations by the International Criminal Court.

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