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Sudan signs historic peace deal with five rebel groups

Sudan signs historic peace deal with five rebel groups
Sudan is in the middle of a complicated and fragile period in its history. (Photo: EPA-EFE/MARWAN ALI)

JUBA, Aug 31 (Reuters) - Sudan's power-sharing government signed a peace agreement with the country's five key rebel groups on Monday, a significant step towards resolving deep-rooted conflicts that raged under former leader Omar al-Bashir.

The civilian and military leaders sharing power following Bashir’s overthrow in April 2019 say ending decades-long internal conflicts is a top priority of a 39-month transition.

The deal, signed in the South Sudanese capital Juba, offers rebel groups political representation and devolved powers, integration into the security forces, economic and land rights and the chance of return for displaced people.

The groups that signed include the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Minni Minawi’s Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), both of the western region of Darfur, and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) led by Malik Agar, present in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

More than 300,000 people are estimated to have been killed and 2.5 million displaced after the conflict in Darfur spread after 2003 as government forces and mainly Arab militia moved to repress mostly non-Arab rebels.

South Kordofan and Blue Nile remained within Sudan when South Sudan seceded in 2011 and communities there complain of marginalisation by the government in Khartoum. (Reporting by Denis Dumo in Juba; Additional reporting by Aidan Lewis in Cairo; Writing by Giulia Paravicini; Editing by Katharine Houreld and Philippa Fletcher)

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