September 8, 2007 (ST)
The joint ceasefire committee of SPLA and the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) successfully resolved the issue of 61 southern troops besieged by Sudanese army in Southern Kordofan.
Both sides agreed that the SPLA forces will withdraw from the region no later than a week with restrictions in the interim.
According to the agreement, The SPLA platoon, currently in Muglad, is allowed to move in direction of El-Deeb area in South Kordofan state; however the troops within one week will redeploy with the rest of SPLA force to southern Sudan.
The committee decided that the SPLA troops are to move to EL-Deeb area with no weapons and in plain clothes. The UN was given to move to the area and monitor the implementation.
The siege threatened to escalate into a standoff thus jeopardizing the fate of the Comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) that ended the 21-years North-South civil war.
Under the deal, the south formed a semi-autonomous government and was allowed to maintain its army, together with the north’s Sudan Armed Forces, and both armies were required to withdraw to their respective sides of a 1956 north-south border.
However, reports indicated that the troops did not move from the South but were in fact militias from the Arab tribes of Missereiya and Zereigat that chose to be part of SPLA. This triggered the Sudanese army to consider them in violation of the CPA.
Al-Dirdiri Ahmed and Paul Mayom the joint chairpersons of the ceasefire committee from the SPLA and Sudan government respectively reached agreement on the issue yesterday.
The SPLA and the Sudanese government exchanged accusations over the last few months on the redeployment of troops from the oil rich areas in the south. Both sides accused the other of failing to fulfill its obligations under the CPA.
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