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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

SPLA Withdrawing as Agreed

Khartoum25 July 2007 (Sudan Radio Service)

The governor of Blue Nile state has refuted claims by the Sudan Armed Forces that many SPLA troops remain in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states.
Malik Agar Ayar, Blue Nile Governor and SPLM Northern Sector Deputy Secretary General, told journalists in Khartoum that most SPLA troops in Blue Nile and southern Kordofan were re-deployed out of those states before July 9th. He added that the only forces remaining in the two states are part of the Joint Integrated Units, or JIU’s.

[Malik Agar]: “What I know about the SPLA forces in Blue Nile is that there are no soldiers remaining in Blue Nile apart from the JIU forces, since the 9th of this month. We have evacuated any soldier that does not belong to the JIU from Blue Nile and it was witnessed by many people and even army generals from the general headquarters of the SAF. Teams from the United Nations were present there. Even as I am talking to you now, there is a team from the UN going to Blue Nile to check the troops. In Southern Kordofan the same thing happened. What we are saying is that re-deployment of SPLA troops has exceeded eighty percent.”

Mr. Agar said the re-deployment of troops was done according to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

However, the United Nations Mission in Sudan says that the SPLA has not completed its withdrawal from Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan. The UN’s Miraya Radio quotes the UN force commander, Lieutenant General Jasbir Lidder, as saying on Monday that the SPLA has started withdrawing its forces from the two regions, but some troops are still there.

General Lidder said that a UN monitoring team is in those regions to verify the current situation on the ground.

Sudan Armed Forces spokesperson Mohammed Al-Agbash stressed that the SAF will not redeploy its 3,600 troops from oil rich areas in Upper Nile state until the SPLA does the same.

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