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How serious is Sudan’s Darfur ceasefire?

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Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir was in a jubilant mood when he announced to crowds of supporters that he was declaring a ceasefire in Darfur.

From his body language, you might have thought he had already ended the crisis and achieved his goal of avoiding a possible indictment by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Darfur.

In the build-up to his speech, supporters surged to the front of the crowd waving sticks and punching the air with their fists to show their support for the army officer who came to power in Sudan in a coup in 1989. There was almost a party atmosphere.

Tanzania’s foreign minister Bernard Kamillius Membe was greeted with cheers as he announced that Sudan had shown that African countries could look after their own crises.

Sudan struggles

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By reaching the gates of Khartoum, Darfur rebels have dealt one of the heaviest blows to Sudan’s traditionally Arab ruling elite since independence in 1956.

Early on Sunday, it looked as though government assertions that the army had beaten back the initial assault were true, but what is the attack going to mean for Africa’s biggest country and the way it is run?

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