News: Benishangul Gumuz region signs peace agreement with second rebel group, deal signed in Sudan

Members of the Benishangul People’s Liberation Movement. Photo: Benishangul Gumuz regional government

Addis Abeba – The Benishangul Gumuz regional government said it has signed a peace agreement on 10 December with the armed group Benishangul People’s Liberation Movement (BPLM) in Khartoum, Sudan.  

BPLM, an armed group that was operating in the border area of ​​the regional state is the second rebel group to have signed peace agreement with the regional government in the last two months. The regional government had signed a peace accord in October this year in Assosa, the capital city, with another armed group, the Gumuz People’s Democratic Movement (GPDM), to resolve their problems through dialogue.

The peace agreement reached between the regional government and BPLM in Khartoum will see members of the armed group disarmed and rehabilitated to participate in peace building and development activities in the region, according to the regional government.

The regional government did not provide details, such as the role of mediators, including that of Sudan’s for providing the venue, but it said that BPLM members were “warmly welcomed” from the Sudanese border area of Shirkole District, Gemed Kebelle, by the residents of Shirkole, Menge Homosha, Ura, Assosa and Bambasi districts.

Ashadli Hassan, president of the Benishangul Gumuz region, said that the peace agreement reached with the armed group is the result of the peace call that the regional government has repeatedly offered to them.

He stated that the regional government is working hard to resolve the differences through dialogue and peaceful means.

Abdul Wahab Mehdi Isa, the leader of BPLM, on his part, expressed that the armed group signed the accord with understanding of the value the people of the region have given to peace.

“We will do our best to benefit all the people in the region in all aspects and I expect everyone to stop blaming one another and work for mutual development,” he added.

In May last year, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was also signed between the regional state government and an unnamed “armed group”, which would see members of the later take up leadership positions in the region, acquire urban and rural land, as well as receive credit facilities including for women with a stated goal of solving the security crisis in the region sustainably.

The MoU however failed to bring to end the misery of civilians in the conflict ravaged region. An attack by armed militants in March this year claimed the lives of at least 20 civilians when a public bus traveling from Metekel to Guba was ambushed; dozens more were also injured. AS

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