Sudan rebels return POWs

The rebel Sudan Liberation Movement has returned 135 prisoners of war to government authorities in the western region of Darfur.

    Rebels in western Sudan have complained of marginalisation by Khartoum

    Jebril Abd Allah, an official in North Darfur State, was quoted by t

    he Al-Sahafa newspaper

    as saying

     the releases took place on Monday.

    He added the SLM

    promised to free the rest of its prisoners, but without giving

    a number or date.

    The government released 54 SLM members in early September under

    a ceasefire accord with the rebels, according to presidential

    affairs minister Al-Tayeb Ibrahim Muhammed Khair.

    A six-week ceasefire deal was signed in Chad on 3 September, but

    the rebels have since repeatedly accused the government of

    violating the truce.

    Conflict

    Abd Allah acknowledged 102 people had been killed in the

    Sayalah region of North Darfur since the accord was signed, but he

    did not identify who was responsible for the deaths.

    The conflict has raged since February in western Sudan's Darfur

    states, where the SLM say they are fighting for an end to

    marginalisation and neglect of the large, impoverished region

    .

    Abd Allah said the fighting had cost 3000 lives.

    It had also left 400,000 displaced, according to UN estimates.

    The United Nations has announced the launch of a $

    23 million humanitarian aid initiative to promote peace in

    the semi-desert region near the Chad border.

    SOURCE: AFP


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