Sudan calls ceasefire with Darfur rebel group

Monday 11 February 2013 16.21
Protesters from the nomadic  Misseriya tribe demonstrate in Khartoum
Protesters from the nomadic Misseriya tribe demonstrate in Khartoum

Sudan's government has signed a ceasefire deal in Qatar with a Darfur rebel group in a fresh bid to end a decade-old conflict in western Sudan.

Years of international efforts have failed to end a rebellion in Darfur, where mostly non-Arab insurgents took up arms in 2003 to fight against what they called the Arab-dominated government's neglect of the region.

QNA said that Sudanese government representative Amin Hassan Amr signed the accord with Mohamed Bashir Ahmed of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in Doha.

The signing was also in the presence of Qatari Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed bin Abdullah al-Mahmoud, the UN and African Union chief mediator Aichatou Mindaodou.

Conflict has torn Darfur, an area the size of Spain which covers most of Sudan's west, since rebels took up arms there in 2003, accusing the government of marginalising the region.

The government mobilised troops and allied militias to quell the rebellion, unleashing a wave of violence that led human rights groups and the US to accuse Sudanese officials of carrying out a genocide.

The Sudanese government signed a peace deal brokered by Qatar in 2011 with the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), an umbrella of smaller rebel factions, but the main rebels refused to join.

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