Feature: Sudanese hope peace deal will end suffering

By Bai LinUnreguser

JUBA, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- Zainab Musa, a 40-year-old mother of three has endured the brunt of long decades of war in her town of Geinana in Western Darfur as the Sudanese government battled rebels there.

She is among several Sudanese people who traveled to the South Sudanese capital, Juba to witness the historic peace deal signed on Oct. 3 between the Sudanese transitional government and 9 armed opposition groups to end decades of war.

Musa who is yet to travel back to Sudan told Xinhua that she and other Sudanese are hopeful of the peace deal delivering peace and stability to their country, thus ending civilian displacements in the war-affected regions of Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

"I have spent a lot of time in the war zone around Geneina in western Darfur, memories of this conflict still linger in my mind since 2003 when war broke out. I can still remember that I have been displaced more than three times," Musa told Xinhua on Thursday in Juba, where several sections of Sudanese people are still taking part in celebration festivities.

She disclosed that the war that broke out in the Western region of Sudan in 2003, dented prospects of peace returning to the region after several rounds of failures of peace talks between the opposition and the regime of former ousted President Omar al-Bashir.

"We thank God that we got peace after years of suffering in our country. We the Sudanese women are calling for support from our new government to empower women," said Musa.

The Sudanese government signed final peace deal with groups under the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) that includes, SPLM-N sector led by Malik Agar, Justice Equality Movement under Jibril Ibrahim, Democratic Union party led by Eltom Hajou, El Hadi Idris's Sudan Liberation Movement and the Sudan Liberation Movement-MM under Minni Minnawi.

Some of the Sudanese high-ranking officials like Mohamed Hamdan Daqlu, deputy head of the Sudan Sovereign Council are still in Juba, hoping to soon resume talks with hold-out groups like SPLM-N led by Abdel Aziz Al-Hilu.

Sudanese economy is currently struggling amid skyrocketing prices of basic commodities due to depreciation of the local currency against the U.S dollar in recent months.

Musa urged the government to prioritize tackling poverty in its post-conflict program.

"It is time to fight to eliminate poverty, provide security and create employment for women and youth," said Musa.

Ahmed Jabir, a 35-year-old Sudanese youth also expressed joy at witnessing the signing of the peace deal and also demanded the transitional government to do more to tackle the ailing economy.

"The main demand now to our new government is to focus on creating opportunities that will attract investors," said Jabir.

In addition, he also said there is a need for officials to focus on vocational training to skill unemployed youth in the conflict-affected regions, besides building schools and universities to accommodate those displaced by conflict.

"Such skills will give youth sustainable livelihoods. With the peace deal finally signed I think it is a golden chance to put our house in order," he disclosed.

Saifa Abdalla, a 32-year-old woman revealed that she experienced in the past the consequences of war and hopes for a better future after the peace deal was inked.

"Many people have lost their loved ones during the war, it is time to forget the past and move together to improve the livelihoods of the citizens across the country. Now that peace is achieved, I call upon the government to extend health, education services and clean drinking water to refugees and internally displaced persons," said Abdalla.

Habib Mustafa, from Nyala in South Darfur recounted that Sudanese people are full of joy in the aftermath of witnessing the signing of the peace deal.

"We are very happy that peace is being celebrated in Juba. It is the right time for the Sudanese from the war-torn areas to start new lives," said Mustafa.

"I can say, we want our children to go back to school, we want peace so that we can do things that can improve our lives," he added.

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