February 3, 2011 (KHARTOUM) — Minni Minnawi has formally pulled out of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) he signed more than four years ago with the Sudanese government and called on rebel’s unity to overthrow the government of President Omer Hassan Al-Bashir.
- Minni Minnawi (AFP)
Minnawi who was the sole rebel to sign the DPA on 5 May 2006 was appointed as Senior Presidential Assistant and head of Darfur Transitional Authority until July 2010 after the general election. Since, he moved to Juba while the Sudanese army declared war on his fighters in Darfur.
The Sudan Armed Forces said Minnawi’s troops are "legitimate target" and clashed with them several times since last year. The government also accused Juba of supporting the rebel leader as Washington pressed Juba to distance its self from the Darfur groups.
"We are free from Darfur Peace Agreement of May 2006," said a statement released on Wednesday by the leader of Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) Minni Minnawi. "The Movement does not recognize the existing government because it lost legitimacy and we will work by all means to overthrow it," it added.
Khartoum encouraged recently a splinter group led by, one of his close former aides Mustafa Tairab who declared his commitment to Abuja peace agreement.
The government withdrew its delegation from Doha, the venue of the peace negotiations with other rebel groups and announced a "new strategy" to achieve peace in Darfur through dialogue involving the different social forces and elected institutions but not the rebels.
Minnawi called on all the rebel groups in Darfur and the "Sudanese wide margin" to work together to overthrow the government. He also said his group prepared a strategy to solve the crisis of governance in Sudan and it will inform all the political forces about it.
He further called on the hybrid peacekeeping mission (UNAMID) to protect civilians in the restive region of Darfur from violence by the government troops.
The rebel leader appealed to the International Criminal Court to monitor closely the situation in Darfur particularly after the government’s new plans to close the IDPs camps and to intensify attacks on rebels’ positions in the region.
US envoy to Sudan Scott Gration attempted in the past to convince Khartoum to accept Minnawi’s inclusion in the Doha forum for peace in Darfur but Khartoum at the time objected and pointed out that his group is represented in the government delegation.
Gration meant to offer an opportunity to Minnawi and Khartoum to tackle their differences over the implementation of Abuja peace agreement within the framework of the peace process but the government thought his arrival would complicate the already difficult talks there.
Minnawi’s fighters on the ground are now taking part in the fighting between the government and the other rebel groups form the Justice and Equality Movement and the SLM of Abdel Wahid Al-Nur.