Sudan: Darfur, South Kordofan Ex-Rebel Factions Join Forces

El Fasher / Khartoum / Shendi — A number of Darfur and South Kordofan former rebel factions decided to merge to reach peace in the country. El Amin Daoud, Chairman of the United Popular Front for Liberation and Justice, returned to the country on Saturday. Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, President of the Sovereign Council, called on all Sudanese to work together to safeguard the revolution.

A number of groups that split from the main armed movements in Darfur and South Kordofan years ago, now merged under the name of the Alliance of Peace Signatories in Darfur and Kordofan.

At a press conference in El Fasher, capital of North Darfur, on Saturday, Chairman of the Association's Preliminary Committee El Fadil Abdallah said that the groups united with the aim to complete the peace process in Darfur and Kordofan.

He announced the formation of specialised committees that will deal with the issues of displaced persons and refugees, security arrangements, state structure, and coordination with the Sudanese government, in preparation for the completion of the peace processes in Darfur and Kordofan.

Hafiz Ismail, Chairman of the Alliance's Political Committee, Abdallah Ishag, Chairman of the Committee for the Displaced and Refugees, Eisa Mousa, Commander of the Darfur Military Sector, and Jibril Abdallah, Commander of the Kordofan Sector all confirmed they support the new government, and aim "to end marginalisation and exclusion in the country, and achieve democratic justice and equal distribution [of the country's wealth]".

Splits, alliances

The two main rebel movements in Darfur, the Sudan Liberation Movement founded by Abdelwahid El Nur (SLM-AW), and the Justice and Equality Movement led by Jibril Ibrahim (JEM), witnessed numerous split-offs since they started their rebellion in February 2003.

In 2010, 19 breakaway factions of the SLM-AW and the JEM agreed to join the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) under the leadership of Dr El Tijani El Sese. The group signed the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) in Qatar in May 2011.

In later years, other groups that split from the main armed Darfur movements, signed the DDPD as well. Yet, it did not take long before a number of signatories began to complain about the slow pace of the document's implementation. The SLM breakaway faction of Noureldin Zorgi even decided to freeze the peace deal in October 2017.

In 2015, leaders of the mainstream SLW-AW who were not happy with El Nur's leadership, decided to leave the movement and form a new group under the name Sudan Liberation Movement-Transitional Council (SLM-TC). The faction joined the Sudan Revolutionary Front rebel alliance in July last year.

In July 2017, three Darfuri rebel groups merged under the name of the Sudan Liberation Forces Alliance (SLFA). Together with the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North faction in South Kordofan under the leadership of Abdelaziz El Hilu and the Corrective Beja Congress headed by Zeinab Kabbashi, the group established the Kush Alliance in early August this year.

The SLFA decided to join JEM, the SLM faction under the leadership of Minni Minawi (SLM-MM), and the SLM-TC in the end of August, for the Darfur peace negotiations with the Sudanese government.

"We want Sudan to be a homeland that can accommodate all its citizens" - El Amin Daoud, eastern Sudanese opposition leader

Partnership

El Amin Daoud, Chairman of the United Popular Front for Liberation and Justice, who returned to Sudan on Saturday from France, said upon his arrival that "We want Sudan to be a homeland that can accommodate all its citizens".

The eastern Sudanese rebels are "no advocates of war, nor power seekers," he added.

Daoud further said the Popular Front is cooperating with eastern Sudanese political groups, in particular the signatories of the 2006 Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement with the previous government, to restore the rights of the eastern Sudanese through a regional platform.

Sovereign Council member Mohamed El Faki commented that the return of more members of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF, an alliance of armed opposition groups) to the country "heralds the development of the armed struggle into a partnership. Their arrival [to Khartoum] confirms this partnership".

He explained that during the peace talks in the South Sudanese capital of Juba in October, it was agreed that a delegation of RSF members would return to the country, to consult their followers in preparation for the next negotiation round scheduled to resume on November 21.

For this purpose, a delegation of the Sudan Liberation Movement faction under the leadership of Minni Minawi (SLM-MM) arrived in Khartoum on October 26. The delegation represents the Sudan Revolutionary Front rebel coalition which intends "to intensify communication with its followers and political forces in the country".

"We will give our lives to keep the country together." - Abdelfattah El Burhan

'Sudan for all'

Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, President of the Sovereign Council, acknowledged during a rally in Shendi in River Nile state on Saturday, that Sudan is "facing difficult circumstances". He called for solidarity among the Sudanese against "those trying to abort the revolution.

"We are ready to protect the revolution that erupted for the sake of the Sudanese people, for a decent living and a fight against corruption. We will give our lives to keep the country together," he said.

He stressed that the change witnessed in the country is the result of "the cooperation of the people and the armed forces, and urged "everyone to stand behind the government during the transitional period".

Al Burhan and a number of state officials visited Shendi to attend the signing of the reconciliation agreement between leaders of the El Awadiya Jaaliyin clan and Ababda nomads in the area.

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