May 17, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The leader of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in Sudan’s central state of South Kordofan, Abdul Aziz Adam al-Hilu, on Tuesday reiterated his refusal to recognise the result of the state’s elections, stressing that his party would not participate in a government resulting from a “rigged” vote.
- Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) military soldiers walk at Kadogli market town in South Kordofan State May 1, 2011. (Reuters Pictures)
In his first public appearance since Sunday’s announcement of the result, which declared that his main rival Ahmad Haroun of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) beat him to the office of state governor by 6,500 votes, Al-Hilu addressed thousands of SPLM supporters celebrating the 28th anniversary of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), the SPLM’s military wing, in the state’s key town of Kadugli on Tuesday.
Al-Hilu declared that the SPLM had decided not to participate in any government formed according to the result, accusing those whom he called “enemies of peace and unity” of rigging the elections “on a scale never witnessed in the world before.”
The SPLM’s veteran promised his supporters as they chanted anti-Haroun slogans that the SPLM would continue to resist the result and would not participate in any government formed according to the result.
“We remind you that there is no going back in defending your rights through peaceful struggle in order to eliminate all the powers seeking to take you backward,” Al-Hilu told the crowd.
Al-Hilu further revealed that he was currently conducting high-level contacts with the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) which, according to him, reaffirmed support to the people of “new South Kordofan.”
The SPLM, which controls the soon-to-be independent region of South Sudan, won 21 seats in South Kordofan’s legislative assembly whereas the NCP won 33 seats.
South Kordofan’s legislative and gubernatorial elections, which lagged behind as Sudan held nationwide elections in April 2010 due to disagreements over census results, were largely peaceful.
However, disputes marred the stage of vote-counting, leading to the withdrawal of the SPLM which said that the vote was rigged in favour of the NCP, citing claims of spotting fraudulent polling centers.
South Kordofan is important to North Sudan’s ruling NCP because it contains oil fields and neighbours the restive western region of Darfur, where the government has been fighting rebels since 2003.
Also, the NCP’s candidate Ahmad Haroun happens to be one of three Sudanese individuals, including President Al-Bashir, sought by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in connection to atrocities committed in Darfur.
Meanwhile, the already-tense climate in South Kordofan escalated further after a regular force member shot dead the chieftain of Al-Amma tribe at a checkpoint barrier on the road to Slara area in Kadugli’s south western side.
Eye-witnesses told Sudan Tribune that Al-Amma chieftain, Awad Engiliz, stopped his car at the orders of the checkpoint’s policemen before one of them fired bullets on him.
An angry crowd of Al-Amma tribesmen gathered around the morgue to which the deceased’s body was taken.
The three-hour siege of the morgue ended after the authorities responded to Al-Amma tribesmen’s demands of extraditing the perpetrator and removing the checkpoints.
Shops in the town market closed down as armed men were spotted in the town during daytime, according to eye-witnesses.
Analysts fear that the existence of numerous armed groups in South Kordofan, including the north Sudan army, the paramilitary Popular Defense Forces, the SPLA as well as tribal militias may lead to violent confrontation if tension persists.