Sudanese peace adviser affirms agreed cease fire is still on

Jan 28, 2002 (AP)

The recent cease-fire agreement between the government and warring rebels is still holding, a top Sudanese official said on Monday.

Sudan's presidential adviser Ghazi Salah Eddin Attabani said the cease-fire brokered by the U.S. and Swiss administrations "has achieved success on the ground," the roads are open, and the people are able to cross into rebel-controlled areas, the official daily Al-Anba reported.

The cease-fire in the Nuba Mountains, in south-central Sudan, was reached in Buergenstock, Switzerland, on Jan. 19.

The agreement opens the way for relief and rebuilding programs to begin in the Nuba Mountains.

The rebelling Sudanese People's Liberation Army, however, said Thursday that government soldiers violated the cease-fire when they attacked a rebel garrison in the Nuba Mountains on Wednesday, killing six people.

Sudan's 18-year civil war - one of Africa's longest - has been calamitous for the Nuba people, squeezed between the Muslim government dominated by Arab northerners and the southern rebels.

The rebels have been fighting for autonomy for southern Sudan from the Islamic government in Khartoum, demanding religious freedom for southerners who follow mainly traditional beliefs or Christianity.

More than 2 million people are estimated to have died in fighting and related famines throughout southern Sudan since the war began in 1983.