Sudan extends ceasefire in war zones until end of year
Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir on Thursday extended until the end of this year a unilateral ceasefire in the regions of Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan, his office said.
Since June 2016, Bashir has declared several ceasefires in the three conflict zones, where fighting between government forces and rebels has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced millions.
Bashir "issued a presidential decree extending the ceasefire in all areas of operations until December 31, 2018," the presidency said in a statement.
Sudanese officials say the conflict in Darfur -- a region the size of France -- has ended, but fresh fighting in the past few months has rocked South Darfur's mountainous Jebel Marra area, displacing thousands.
The insurgency in Darfur began in 2003, as rebels rose up against Bashir's government, accusing it of marginalisation.
Khartoum responded by using militias to crack down on the rebels and insurgent groups fragmented, with fighting punctuated by periods of relative calm.
The government restricts international media access to Darfur, so it is not possible to independently verify the details of fighting there.
The United Nations estimates the Darfur conflict has killed 300,000 people and displaced more than 2.5 million, with many setting up home in sprawling semi-permanent camps during the past 15 years.
Bashir is wanted by the Hague-based International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide related to the war in Darfur. He denies the charges.
Separate fighting erupted in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, both bordering South Sudan, in 2011.AFP