December 6, 2012 (KHARTOUM) – The former Darfur rebel the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) has threatened to withdraw commitment to the peace deal it signed with the Sudanese government last year over an assault against its troops this week as the authorities maintained that the action was taken against insurgents.
- FILE PHOTO - DRA’s chairman and LJM leader Al-Tijani Al-Sissi (L)
LJM’s leader Al-Tijani Al-Sissi told reporters in the capital Khartoum on Thursday that his group might walk out of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) it signed with the government in mid-July 2011 after their troops were attacked by the Sudanese army (SAF) in the suburbs of the provincial capital of North Darfur State, Al-Fasher, on Wednesday.
The ex-rebel group says that two of its fighters were killed and three others were arrested in the attack that occurred as their troops were on stopped on the road between Al-Fasher and Kutum town but North Darfur authorities claim that the attack was directed against forces of the rebel coalition Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF).
LJM also says it refused to receive the bodies of their dead combatants and demanded that the ministry of defence offers them an apology for the attack. Al-Sissi demanded that the UN-AU peacekeeping mission in the region, known as UNAMID, conducts an immediate and urgent investigation into the incident on the basis of the DDPD which, he said, states that UNAMID should intervene in emergency situations.
The former rebel leader who heads the DDPD-mandated Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) criticized what he described as the official media propaganda about the army’s repulsing of an attack by SRF forces aiming to shell Al-Fasher, demanding an immediate stop to it.
He insisted that the troops attacked belong to LJM and were coming to Al-Fasher to fix their vehicle. “Our troops were coming to their camp with the knowledge of security authorities but they were surprised by the late-hour attack which led to the death of two and arrest of three” he said.
Al-Sissi said that the incident could affect the DDPD and reduce the chances of its success.
Speaking in the same press conference, LJM’s secretary-general Bahar Abu Garda accused unnamed sides of seeking to scuttle the DDPD and the partnership between the LJM and the ruling National Congress Party (NCP). He added that these groups also seek to provoke LJM.
Meanwhile, north Darfur authorities continue to maintain that they ambushed foiled an alleged attack by rebels and not LJM. The state’s governor Mohamed Osman Youssef Kibir has reiterated claims that the ambushed troops were preparing to shell Al-Fasher. Addressing a rally on Thursday, he alleged that those attacked are the same forces that attempted to shell Al-Fasher in the past.
UNAMID acting joint special representative Aichatou Mindaoudou called, during a meeting of the joint security committee with the Sudanese government in October, for integrating LJM combatants into regular government forces in order to accelerate the implementation of the DDPD.
Wednesday’s events indicate the existence of latent hostility between local authorities in north Darfur and the DRA, which was established to oversee the implementation of the DDPD, over supposed conflicts of mandate and jurisdictions.
There has been a surge of tribal violence and attacks on IDPs camps by erstwhile pro-government militias in north Darfur since August, following the assassination of Al-Waha district commissioner.