The announcement was made in the city of Sirte that there would be a truce in Darfur, Sudan. In Darfur, there has been constant fighting between government and rebel forces for the last few years. However, the talks have been boycotted by two of the major Darfur rebel groups. They were amongst several factions that have been invited to take part in the talks. In the fighting, at least two-hundred thousand people have died and over two million being displaced.
The two rebel groups: SLA-Unity and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) are the two major groups boycotting them. The talks are being mediated by both the African Union and the United Nations.
The senior JEM leader, Mohammad Bahr Hamdeen said that the mediation is a trap prepared by the government. He implied that the talks would be on the government’s terms alone if groups like JEM attended.
On Friday, October 26, there were demonstrations in Abu Shouk one of the numerous Darfur refugee camps. They demonstrated in order to protest the talks going on in Sirte right now. These demonstrators are not the only ones that oppose. Many feel that nothing will lead to any strong improvements on the ground.
The fighting in Darfur took place back in 2003 where the rebel groups went and attacked facilities belonging to the government. A 2006 peace deal was killed because the Sudanese government and one rebel group.
The call for the truce was planned a few months in advanced according to Omar al-Bashir, the President of Sudan. His advisor, Nafie Ali Nafie at the talks said: “We announce a ceasefire from this moment, and we will respect it unilaterally.” There have been calls to ceasefire in the past but it did nothing to end the violence.