Monitoring Mission reduces presence in Sudan's Nuba Mountains

11 Oct 2003 (HANA)

The Joint Monitoring Mission/Joint Military Commission (JMM/JMC) overseeing the ceasefire between the Sudanese government and rebels said Sunday it had decided to reduce its presence in Kauda area of Nuba Mountains with effect from 10th October following growing tensions between the two sides.

A JMM/JMC statement said the Commander of the JMM/JMC, Brigadier General Jan Erik Wilhelmsen made this decision after the tragic mine accident that occurred in the area last week and the subsequent Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M)’s response. The statement said as a result of the JMC decision to reduce its presence, no flights into JMC Sector 1 Kauda will be authorized in the absence joint inspection teams available to inspect them. Tensions have mounted in the Nuba region since last week when eight people were killed and several injured when a car hit a landmine.The incident occurred on Friday when a vehicle belonging to the Asil Landmines Organisation ran over a landmine while carrying a number of people from Kauda to Karkar in the Nuba Mountains.

The rebels have accused the government of violating the international ceasefire agreement it signed with the government in Switzerland in February 2002. JMM/JMC police in the region have started to investigate the matter, the statement added. The Nuba mountains region constitutes one Sudan's three conflict areas. Some two million people have reportedly died in the 20-year conflict between the northern Moslem government and rebels from the Christian and animist south.