Blue Nile State — On Thursday, the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) led by Malik Agar, declared a unilateral six-month ceasefire in conflict-torn Blue Nile State.
In a press statement, the SPLM-N as well condemned the human rights violations committed in the past three months at the Blue Nile front line, particularly in the area of Jebel Kilgo.
The rebel movement further reiterated the importance of the initiative of the UN Secretary-General's Representative Finnick Haitham to stop the fighting between the SPLM-N factions.
The SPLM-N further stressed its readiness to discuss the possibility of humanitarian assistance as soon as possible.
The SPLM-N broke into two factions in late March after the then Deputy Chairman Abdelaziz El Hilu submitted his resignation. He accused Chairman Malik Agar and Secretary-General Yasir Arman of controlling the rebel movement arbitrarily, and not representing the movement in the AU-brokered peace talks, in particular concerning the issue of self-determination of the Nuba Mountains.
The SPLM-N's regional political groups, the entire Nuba Mountains Liberation Council and a part of the Blue Nile Liberation Council then appointed El Hilu as SPLM-N chairman, relieving Agar and Arman from their positions. Various SPLM-N factions in Blue Nile State support the original leadership.
The split means a serious set-back for the possibility of resumed peace negotiations between the rebel movement and Khartoum - which is fighting the SPLM-N in South Kordofan and the Blue Nile, also known as the Two Areas, since 2011.