Sudanese ex-rebels return home to join government

The last of eastern Sudan's former rebels are returning home from exile in Eritrea, to be sworn into the central government in Khartoum, one of their leaders said Friday.

Sudanese ex-rebels return home to join government
The last of eastern Sudan's former rebels are returning home from exile in Eritrea, to be sworn into the central government in Khartoum, one of their leaders said Friday.

Former Eastern Front rebels, who signed a peace deal in October 2006 that ended around 10 years of sporadic violence, will formally put an end to their exile in the coming days, the group's deputy chairwoman Amna Dirar said.

"We will return Monday, when we will take an oath to join the government," said Dirar, who has been appointed advisor to Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir.

She said the former rebel group had given two racing camels to thank Eritrean President Issaias Afeworki for hosting them in Asmara.

"We have given two camels to Eritrea to thank them for their help in the peace agreement, and for our staying here in Eritrea for the past year," she said.

Eritrean officials said the gift "demonstrates the strong friendship and relations between the peoples of Eritrea and Sudan."

"The racing camels have been handed to the Eritrean National Camel Racing Team," said senior Eritrean government official Al Amin Mohammed Seid, according to an information ministry statement.

The former rebels established a political structure, earlier this month, in preparation for their return to Sudan, and former rebel fighters have joined government camps, from which they can choose to return to civilian life, or be incorporated into the regular army or police.

The Eastern Front was created in 2005 by the Rashidiya Arabs, and eastern Sudan's largest ethnic group, the Beja.

Under the peace deal, Khartoum is to allocate the impoverished region a total of $600 million over five years for development.

In May, leading members of the Eastern Front were assigned government posts as part of the implementation of the peace accord.

Eastern Front rebels had similar aims as their better-known counterparts in Darfur, fighting for greater autonomy and control of natural resources.

AFP
Last Mod: 24 Ağustos 2007, 19:15
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