NAIROBI, Kenya – A peace accord ending Africa's longest-running civil war requires Sudan's (search) government to withdraw at least 91,000 troops from the rebel-controlled south, a rebel official said Sunday, revealing new details of the deal signed last week.
The forces must pull out within 2 1/2 years, while a proposed government for the autonomous southern Sudan will field a separate army using its share of oil and tax revenues as well as international aid, rebel spokesman Samson Kwaje said.
"It will be a legitimate department of the government of southern Sudan," Kwaje told The Associated Press, detailing the peace accord signed Friday to resolve a conflict that has contributed to the deaths of 2 million people in the past two decades.
The rebels, meanwhile, have eight months to withdraw their forces from northern Sudan. They must pull out 30 percent of their fighters within four months of a signing ceremony scheduled for Jan. 9 in Kenya, said Ad'Dirdeiry Hamed, deputy Sudanese ambassador to Kenya.
The rebel pullout will cover the Nuba Mountains, land along the southern Blue Nile and Abyei, areas now held by the insurgents but which the government considers to be a traditional part of northern Sudan, Hamed said.
The rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (search) and government forces also agreed in a cease-fire deal signed in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on Friday that their allied paramilitary groups in southern Sudan must either be disarmed or join rebel and government forces in the next year, Kwaje said.
Rebels wanted this to happen in six months, "but we wanted more time because this is a sensitive issue," government spokesman Sayed El-Khatib told the AP.
Also, government and rebel forces each will contribute 20,000 troops to new, integrated army units. Rebels and the government also agreed to demobilize an unspecified number of troops, Kwaje said.
Sudanese government and rebel officials wrapped up two years of peace talks Friday by signing the cease-fire and endorsing a detailed plan to resolve the two decades of conflict in southern Sudan that killed an estimated 2 million people, mostly from war-induced famine and disease. The war pitted the Arab-dominated north against southern rebels consisting mainly of Christians and animists.
Under the accord, Sudan will rewrite the constitution to ensure that Islamic law, or Sharia, is not applied to non-Muslims anywhere in the country, Kwaje said.
U.N. and U.S. officials hope a solution to the civil war will spur a resolution to a separate conflict between government-backed forces and rebels in the western Darfur region, where disease and hunger have killed 70,000 people since March. Nearly 2 million people are believed to have fled their homes since the start of the Darfur crisis.