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Sudan’s transitional government ratified a long-awaited deal with rebels that promises to end years of war in the western region of Darfur and two southern border states.
Abdul-Fattah Al-Burhan, the president of Sudan’s Transitional Sovereign Council, signed the pact with the Sudanese Revolutionary Front in neighboring South Sudan on Saturday, formalizing anagreement made in August. Under the deal, the insurgents will be integrated into Sudan’s army and take roles in the transitional government.
The agreement is the latest step toward a political settlement in the North African nation, where long-time dictator Omar al-Bashir was ousted in 2019 amid mass protests. Sudan’s new rulers — a mix of civilians and army officials — have rebuilt relations with the West, committed to free elections in 2022 and signaled they’ll separate religion and state, effectively ending 30 years of Islamist-inspired rule.
The fighting in Darfur began in 2003 when insurgents took up arms accusing the government in Khartoum of neglecting the region. Authorities unleashed a brutal counter-insurgency campaign, with as many as 300,000 people killed and 2.5 million forced from their homes due to the violence, according to United Nations estimates.
Rebellions also flared in the Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states in the wake of the 2011 secession of South Sudan. The insurgencies have been tamed in recent years, often by scorched earth tactics that caused humanitarian crises.
An influential rebel faction fighting in the south and another in Darfur aren’t part of the current agreement.
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