SUDAN WATCH: UNAMID wants Sudan and JEM to sign agreement on 1 km square no-fire zone in Muhajiriya, S. Darfur

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

UNAMID wants Sudan and JEM to sign agreement on 1 km square no-fire zone in Muhajiriya, S. Darfur

Darfur's UNAMID peacekeeping force Wednesday said it was hoping to persuade the government and fighters from the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) to sign an agreement to respect a 1 km square no-fire zone in Muhajiriya.

UN/AU representative in Darfur, Rodolphe Adada, was hoping to fly to neighbouring Chad Wednesday to discuss the plan with JEM leaders.

News is starting to emerge saying JEM has made a complete withdrawal to between 50km and 60km from the town.

UNAMID told Reuters their forces heard shooting and three loud explosions around Muhajiriya. A spokesman said it was unclear whether the shots were caused by full-blown fighting, or whether troops from one of the warring parties were firing into the air to celebrate a victory.

Source: (the following reports)

Peacekeepers plan no-fire zone in Darfur town
February 4, 2009 report from Reuters by Andrew Heavens in Khartoum - excerpt:
Peacekeepers said Wednesday they are hoping to set up a no-fire zone to protect 30,000 civilians caught in the middle of clashes between Sudan army troops and rebels in a Darfur town. [...]

Darfur's joint U.N./African Union UNAMID peacekeeping force Wednesday said it was hoping to persuade the government and fighters from the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) to sign an agreement to respect a 1 km square no-fire zone in Muhajiriya.

"Our priority is to protect civilians," said UNAMID communications chief Kemal Saiki. "The idea is to get everyone to agree that you don't bomb in the zone, you don't shell, you don't use small arms to shoot bullets into the zone."

He said UNAMID leaders had already discussed setting up the zone around their base in Muhajiriya with Sudan government and armed forces leaders in Khartoum.

He added the UN/AU representative in Darfur, Rodolphe Adada, was hoping to fly to neighbouring Chad later Wednesday to discuss the plan with JEM leaders. [...]
The U.S. envoy to the United Nations Susan Rice Tuesday said the United States was "gravely concerned" about reports of government bombardment around Muhajiriya, adding that the Security Council was working on the wording of a demand for a cease-fire. (Editing by Richard Balmforth)
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Sudan: Darfur rebels withdraw from key town - remaining civilians seek UN protection from Government attack
February 4, 2009 report from Aegis Trust, UK - excerpt:
Independent sources on the ground confirm that the Justice and Equality Movement force which was holding Muhajeriya, South Darfur, has made a complete withdrawal to between 50km and 60km from the town.
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Gunfire erupts in battled-scarred Darfur town
February 4, 2009 report from Reuters by Andrew Heavens in Khartoum - excerpt:
Gunfire erupted in a battle-scarred town in Sudan's Darfur region on Wednesday, forcing thousands of civilians to take shelter outside a peacekeeping base, officials said.

Joint U.N./African Union peacekeepers told Reuters their forces heard shooting and three loud explosions around Muhajiriya, the scene of three weeks of clashes between rebels and Sudanese government troops that have already killed at least 30.

A spokesman said it was unclear whether the shots were caused by full-blown fighting, or whether troops from one of the warring parties were firing into the air to celebrate a victory.

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