Monitoring Mission resumes patrols in Sudan'sa Western Nuba Mountains

Sept. 11[hana]

A Joint Monitoring Mission/Joint Military Commission (JMM/JMC), an international monitoring mission overseeing the ceasefire between the Sudanese government and rebels in Nuba Mountains said Thursday it had restarted patrols and flight inspections in the Julud area of the Nuba Mountains following restrain between the two sides.

“The Joint Monitoring Mission/Joint Military Commission (JMM/JMC) has restarted today 11th September 2003 with its regular patrols in the western part of the Nuba Mountains, Julud/Dilling area thanks the two parties for their restrain during the last weeks,” the JMM/JMC said in a statement.

The patrols had been suspended since mid August after an incident in the area. “Both sides of the conflict, the Government of Sudan and the SPLM-Nuba, have again deployed monitors and the teams are now operational. The Cease-Fire Agreement for the Nuba Mountains requires always a balanced monitoring team, consisting of an international as team leader and a Government and a SPLA monitor,” the statement said. It said the regular monitoring of the cease-fire continues and will be ongoing according to the regulations in the Cease-Fire Agreement signed last year in the other areas of the Nuba Mountains.

Early last month, tensions mounted in the Nuba region e when the SPLA arrested eight people for entering Julud, which is under rebel control. The JMM/JMC said the SPLA freed all eight after the intervention of the monitoring mission's Norwegian commander, Brigadier General Jan Erik Wilhelmsen. The rebels were reportedly unhappy over a later decision by the local JMC commander to have the detainees escorted back to their villages.

The government has accused the SPLA of violating the international ceasefire agreement it signed with the government in Switzerland in February 2002. The JMM/JMC was established as part of a ceasefire agreement in the Nuba Mountains between the government and rebels and it seeks to monitor and report on compliance with the accord.