SUDAN WATCH: AU calls for SLA to withdraw from Gereida, South Darfur - JEM rebels say 27 killed by gov't, Janjaweed in Gereida area

Saturday, March 11, 2006

AU calls for SLA to withdraw from Gereida, South Darfur - JEM rebels say 27 killed by gov't, Janjaweed in Gereida area

Sudan Watch entry 2 March 2006 re Gereida, South Darfur features an informative IRIN report on the towns of Gereida, Shaeria and Mershing in South Darfur. The AU says SLA's illegal occupation of Gereida is a constant source of provocation. Gereida is now home to more than 90,000 displaced people. Last year oil was discovered in South Darfur.

Today, March 11, Darfur rebel group JEM accused Sudanese government troops and their Janjaweed of killing 27 people and stealing livestock Friday in attacks on villages in the area of Gereida, reports Reuters - excerpt:

Ahmed Tugod, chief negotiator for the JEM at the Darfur peace talks, gave the names of six villages in the Gereida area of South Darfur which he said were attacked by troops and Janjaweed militiamen.

"These villages have been completely destroyed. They killed 27 people, 17 are injured and six are missing including children," he said, adding that he had obtained this information by telephone from JEM members in the area.

"They took 150 heads of cattle and 300 sheep," Tugod said.

A government army spokesman in Khartoum said the army and popular defence forces, the official militia, had not moved into the area.

"This is absolutely false. There is always fighting in this area between the (rebel) movements themsleves," he said. "We are not even there."

Gereida was named as a contentious area in an AU communique on Friday, which called for the SLA, a larger Darfur rebel group, to withdraw from the area.

Mohamed Tughod, JEM chief negotiator

Photo: Ahmed Tugod, chief negotiator for the JEM (Reuters/ST)

PRESSURE TO STRIKE DEAL

The JEM's Tugod accused the government of inflexibility on the key issue of power-sharing. He said Khartoum was resisting granting Darfur sufficient representation in national institutions.

He added that if these matters could be resolved, the other two areas of negotiation, wealth-sharing and security, would be easily wrapped up.

A government delegate, who did not wish to be named, said rebel disunity was the main obstacle to a deal. "The question is not whether to sign a peace deal or not. The question is, with whom are you signing it? There is chaos in the movements."

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