14 August 2014

Sudan's Defence Minister Reiterates Rejection of Rebel Truce Offer

Khartoum — Sudanese defence minister reiterated government's rejection of a unilateral cessation of hostilities the rebels declared recently, announcing that the counterinsurgency military campaign mostly achieved its objectives.

Defence minister Abdel-Rahim Hussein and NISS director Mohamed Atta wave to NISS soldiers after the farewell celebration in Khartoum on May 18, 2013 (SUNA)

Abdel Rahim Hussein made his remarks in a long interview to the official Sudan TV on the occasion of the sixtieth anniversary of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) on Thursday .

On 8 August the leader of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) Malik Agar announced a two month cessation of hostilities as gestures of goodwill during the signing ceremony of the Paris Declaration for peace and democracy in Sudan he inked with the leader of the National Umma Party (NUP) Sadiq al-Mahdi.

"The Sudanese army is not concerned by the cessation of hostilities announced by the Revolutionary Front," said Hussein adding "this truce will be used to rearm their troops after the recent defeats inflected on the rebels by the government forces".

The military campaign of the "Deceive Summer has achieved may victories and the rebellion now is limited to certain areas," he said.

Last week, Sudanese presidential assistant, Ibrahim Ghandour, also refused the unilateral truce saying they only can accept a lasting ceasefire agreement to be implemented within the framework of a peace process.

Following the signing of the Paris Declaration, the SRF leader and chairman of the SPLM-N Malik Agar told Sudan Tribune they decided the cessation of hostilities to express their "willingness for a just and comprehensive peace".

Agar added that was the reason they didn't even link it to their demand for humanitarian access to civilians in the war zones.

Hussein minimised the threats posed by the rebels to his government saying the rainy season prevented them from crushing them, and vowed to resume the attacks at the end of the wet season.

He further said that Darfur region is free from rebel groups, adding they are only present in two areas.

SAF soldiers and the militia of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) launched this year a unprecedented military offensive on the rebels' positions in South Kordofan state mainly. They also carried out reprisal attacks in South and North Darfur after assaults by the Sudan Liberation Movement-Minni Minnawi in March and April.

The SPLM-N rebels say SAF military operations in South Kordofan are mainly directed to areas inhabited by civilians where they have no presence.

PRAISE FOR RSF

The defence minister praised the RSF militiamen who are accused of attacks and atrocities against civilians in Darfur region, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

Hussein said the militiamen "supported the army in a very critical time". He further said that they fully coordinate with the Sudan Armed Forces, stressing are trained by military instructors from the army.

He emphasised that what is raised against the RSF is "unfair and unpatriotic". However he acknowledged "some individual excesses which must be blamed on those who have committed them", stressing the misconduct "should be not generalised" as the perpetrators are held responsible for their acts.

The RSF militia which is part of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), is formed from former militia members in Darfur and Kordofan regions.

The NISS arrested the chairman of the National Umma Party last May after criticism against the war crimes committed by the militiamen in Darfur and South Kordofan. Also, the leader of the Sudanese Congress Party al-Sheikh Ibrahim is jailed since June as he faces the same charges.

During the years of civil war in South Sudan, SAF used local militias to reduce the pressure on its troops.

SAF was established in 1954 following the evacuation of British troops after an agreement between the condominium countries United Kingdom and Egypt that Sudan should be put on the path of independence.

Previously, the British Army formed the Sudan Defence Force (SDF) as local auxiliaries in 1925 after the expulsion of Egyptian units accused of fomenting a military revolt by the Sudanese elements in 1924.

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