The main rebel movement in Sudan’s western region of Darfur said a cease-fire the government signed with a faction of the group makes “no difference.”
The cease-fire signed yesterday in Qatar between Sudan’s government and a faction of the Justice and Equality Movement went into effect at midnight, the United Nations mission in Darfur said today in an e-mailed statement. UN mediator Aichatou Mindaoudou called the deal “a major breakthrough” and urged other rebel groups to join the peace process.
“These people are not part of JEM,” a spokesman for the main group, Gibreel Adam Bilal, said by phone from London. “They have no weapons or areas under their control; they don’t have fire to be ceased.”
Insurgents in Darfur took up arms in 2003, accusing President Umar al-Bashir’s government of neglecting the region. The conflict has led to the deaths of as many as 300,000 people, mainly due to illness and starvation, and forced about 2.7 million to flee their homes, according to UN estimates.