Sudan rebels appeal for UN relief corridors

Tuesday March 15 2016

A child and her mother walk towards their settlement in north Darfur. Hundreds of thousands of Sudanese still live in camps since being displaced from their homes after a brutal conflict erupted in the western region of Darfur in 2003. FILE PHOTO | AFP | UNAMID

Sudanese rebels have called for the opening of United Nations supervised humanitarian corridors through the neighbouring countries to deliver aid to the war areas in the country.

The Sudan People's Liberation Movement/ Northern sector (SPLM-N) urged the international community to convince Khartoum to accept the opening of the routes through South Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya to deliver food to more than one million people living in the rebel-controlled areas in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

The SPLM-N call comes a few days before the beginning of new round of talks between the Sudanese rivals in the Ethiopia, under the auspices of the African Union team headed by former South African President Thabo Mbeki.

READ: AU to broker talks between Sudan opposition and gov't

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) warned in a report this week that the war areas in Sudan faced an emergency level food crisis from March until September.

FEWSNET announced that the situation in South Kordofan and the Darfur Marra Mountains was alarming due to war.


In statement extended to the Africa Review on Tuesday, SPLM-N called on the mediation to separate the humanitarian and political talks, with the former being given priority.

The rebel group reiterated that humanitarian agreement, including multiple access points from inside and outside Sudan, would include El-Obeid, Kadugli and Damazin from inside and Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan from outside the country.

''After five years of the NCP (National Congress Party) war against the SPLM-N and after the same period of negotiations, it is evidently clear that the call made by the SPLM-N five years ago to separate the humanitarian process from the political process is not only in line with the international humanitarian law, but it is the only option to end the suffering of civilians and to deny the Sudan government their usual game of using humanitarian assistance for war and political purposes,'' SPLM-N statement emphasised.

An agreement was signed in Switzerland in January 2002 on the Nuba Mountains between the SPLM –under the late John Garang- adopting the ceasefire in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states to allow humanitarian aid though Kenya and Ethiopia.

However, the Sudanese government later rejected the SPLM-N demand, stressing that the aid delivery was an exclusively domestic issue.

The Sudanese Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC), in statement on Tuesday, refused to deliver the humanitarian aid directly from outside, insisting it should only come through Khartoum.

HAC stressed that Sudanese aid workers should be involved in the distribution of the relief.

Khartoum says it was not ready to repeat the previous humanitarian deals signed with the SPLM because the rebels diverted humanitarian aid to their troops.