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UN takes over peace keeping in Sudan's Nuba Mountains

6/21/2005 12:51am

KHARTOUM, Sudan, June 20, 2005 (AP) -- The U.N. on Monday took over monitoring the cease-fire in Sudan's Nuba Mountains, whose people found themselves wedged between the two sides in the civil war that has plagued the country, the world body said.
Under the arrangements, the U.N. will replace Sudan's Joint Military Commission - a body of rebel and government representatives - as a military disengagement takes place between the two former warring parties of the north and south.

In a press statement, the U.N. said its envoy to Sudan, Jan Pronk, and U.N. force commander Maj. Gen. Fazle Elaki Akbar attended a hand-over ceremony in Tillo.

The 1983-2005 civil war was calamitous for the people of the Nuba Mountains in south-central Sudan. Squeezed between the pro-government northerners and the pro-rebel southerners, more than half of the local population fled. But during the past three years of cease-fire, life has returned almost to normal and the population doubled from 720,000 people to more than 1.4 million.

Under the Jan. 9 peace agreement, the U.N. is taking over from the Joint Military Commission this month by deploying peace monitors in southern Sudan, the Nuba Mountains and the areas known as Blue Nile and Abyei.

The rebels have to withdraw 30% of their troops from northern Sudan within four months, and complete the withdrawal in eight months.

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