Sudan's interim government has taken another step towards unifying the country by touring the rebel-held stronghold in southern regions.
Accompanied by diplomats from the World Food Programme, the US and UK; Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok’s historic trip on Thursday to Kauda, 100km south of Khartoum, in the Nuba Mountains, was seen as a major step to ending the perennial conflicts in the country.
Kauda remained completely isolated for nine years due to the fierce war between the rebels and the government of Omar al-Bashir.
Thursday was the first time WFP trucks were able to reach the town since 2011.
Kauda is a significant town for the rebel group—Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North—which controls much of the southern territories in South Kordofan and Blue Nile provinces in Sudan.
Led by Abdulaziz al-Helu, SPLM-North has demanded a secular state or little role of religion in government as well as what they call self-determination.
The group also demands that Sudanese military be professionalised and dissolution of the militant groups once used by ousted al-Bashir to terrorise the south.
When an interim government was formed last August, SPLM-North stayed out. Yet the areas the group controls are poverty stricken, are mostly remote and the ever threat of violence has prevented humanitarian aid supply.
“I am grateful to be part of this important moment in history. A moment where we all acknowledge our collective responsibility in peace and stability for Sudan,” Mr Hamdok said.
“My visit to Kauda is a step towards recognising this. Peace can only happen with our commitment as a government and as a people to finding solutions to the conflict,” he added.