A Sudanese rebel leader on Wednesday, April 17 ordered a three-month suspension of hostilities in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states where his forces have been fighting government troops.
“As a goodwill gesture … to give a chance for an immediate transfer of power to civilians, I, commander of SPLM-N announce the suspending of hostilities for three months in all areas under its control until July 31, 2019,” the leader of the Sudan’s People’s Liberation Movement-North, Abdulaziz al-Hilu, said in a statement.
Hilu’s announcement comes days after Sudan’s new military rulers, who took power last week after toppling veteran president Omar al-Bashir, declared a ceasefire in all three of the country’s conflict zones – the western region of Darfur included.
South Sudan achieved independence from Sudan in 2011, but the states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan – which both have large ethnic minority populations who fought alongside the south – were left north of the border.
The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), which had been part of South Sudan President Salva Kiir SPLM, launched an insurgency against Khartoum in the two states that same year.
Juba and Khartoum have traded allegations of supporting each other’s rebels on their territory, charges which both countries deny.
Successive rounds of peace talks between Khartoum and the rebels have ended without a deal.
The SPLM-N also has a loose alliance with rebels in Darfur, who have waged an older conflict since 2003 which the United Nations estimates has killed 300,000 people and displaced more than 2.5 million.
With reporting from AFP