Violence Mars Darfur Peace Treaty

On February 20th of this year, a major ceasefire treaty was signed between the Darfuri Justice and Equality Movement (Jem) and the government of Sudan. Jem is only one of the many militant groups in the Darfur region. However, it has presented a significant threat to the Sudanese government. President Omar al-Bashir had made the group a priority after it launched an attack against the strategically important city of Omdurman. The treaty included a possible power-sharing agreement and provisions for the return of refugees. It was welcomed by both the international community and groups with Sudan as providing a real chance for peace within the region.

However, less than two weeks after the signing of the treaty, there are reports that the Sudanese government has begun an offense against other rebel groups in Darfur. These clashes have given weight to demands by NGOs and other international observers that the central government include other militant groups in the peace treaty process. It is unclear whether such a proposal would be feasible, as Jem has threatened to leave the peace talks if other rebel groups are included. As a result, despite the new treaty, the prospects for peace in Darfur remain uncertain.

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