SUDAN WATCH: SLA-Nur rebel group says UNAMID personnel cannot enter "the liberated areas"

Thursday, April 30, 2009

SLA-Nur rebel group says UNAMID personnel cannot enter "the liberated areas"

SLA-Nur rebel group condemns "fabricated" UN report.

Group says civilians will not deal with peacekeepers.

Rebels criticise U.N. report on Darfur conflict
KHARTOUM, April 30 2009 (Reuters) - A Darfur rebel group criticised on Thursday a U.N. report which said violence in Sudan's western Darfur region had subsided into a "low-intensity conflict".

The joint U.N.-African Union special representative to Darfur, Rodolphe Adada, said on Monday about 130-150 people were dying each month due to violence in Darfur, versus the tens of thousands who were killed in 2003-2004.

"We in the Sudan Liberation Army strongly condemn this fabricated ... and unfortunate report," Al-Sadig Rokero told Reuters via satellite phone. Rokero is from a branch of the SLA controlled by its founder Abdel Wahed Mohamed Ahmed el-Nour.

He said refugees, internally diplaced persons (IDP) and civilians had handed a letter to the rebel group's chief commander saying they would not deal with the joint U.N.-AU peacekeeping mission in Darfur, known as UNAMID, unless Adada retracted the report.

"This decision is effective today. It means UNAMID personnel cannot enter the liberated areas based on the objection of IDPs, refugees and civilians and the decision of the chief commander unless there is a correction in the fabricated report ... and a clear apology to the people and the world."

UNAMID spokesman Nourelddine Mezni said Adada's report was "comprehensive and reflected the reality on the ground".

"We are neutral. We are working with all stakeholders on the ground to create an environment conducive to peace," he said.

According to diplomats, the United States and its allies had disagreed with Adada's assessment.

According to figures collected by UNAMID, some 2,000 people died from violence in the region during the 15 months between Jan. 1, 2008 and March 31, 2009, one third of them civilians.

Many non-governmental organisations agree with the U.S. view that Darfur is still in the throes of genocide orchestrated by the Khartoum government, a charge it rejects.

U.N. officials say as many as 300,000 people have died and more than 2.7 million driven from their homes in almost six years of ethnic and political violence. Some 4.7 million people rely on humanitarian aid. Khartoum says 10,000 have died. (Reporting by Yara Bayoumy; editing by Robert Woodward)

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