The joint U.N.-African Union envoy for Darfur urged the Security Council on Monday to consider “stern measures” — likely sanctions — against Sudan Liberation Army founder Abdul Wahid Elnur, who has refused to join the peace process.
Jeremiah Mamabolo told the Security Council that “from all accounts, he prefers belligerence and armed struggle to cessation of hostilities and a political process” and “it is highly unlikely that he would change this position any time soon.”
On a positive note, Mamabolo said Elnur’s fighters declared a cease-fire for the first time from Sept. 20 to Dec. 18 to allow humanitarian access to areas in Jebel Marra affected by landslides. But it was broken two days later by Sudanese government forces, he said.
Sudan’s U.N. ambassador, Omer Dahab Mohamed, accused Elnur of showing disrespect to the Security Council by refusing to comply with its resolutions demanding that his rebel group end violence and engage in peace negotiations.
The Darfur conflict began in 2003 when ethnic Africans rebelled, accusing the Arab-dominated Sudanese government of discrimination. The government in Khartoum was accused of retaliating by arming local nomadic Arab tribes and unleashing them on civilian populations — a charge it denies.
In recent years, as the result of a successful government military campaign, the rebellion has been reduced to rebel Sudan Liberation Army forces loyal to Elnur in western and southern Jebel Marra.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a recent report to the Security Council that the improving security situation and decrease in intercommunal violence and criminality reinforced the Security Council’s decision in July to dramatically reduce the UNAMID force.