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Split within Sudan’s Sa’ihoon Islamists appears imminent

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January 25, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Islamist group known as Sa’ihoon is on the verge of split following announcement by some of its members their intention to renew Bai’aa (pledge of allegiance) for president Omer Hassan al-Bashir.

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Sudanese and Egyptian Islamists shout slogans against the ousting of Egypt’s President Mohamed Mursi during a rally after midday prayers, as they march from King Farouq Mosque to the Egyptian embassy in central Khartoum July 8, 2013 (REUTERS/ Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

Sa’ihoon group, which means ‘God-seeking wanderers’ in Arabic, is a loose association of committed Islamists and former Popular Defense Forces (PDF) combatants who at one point formed the backbone of the regime which came to power through a coup in 1989.

The faction which intends to pledge allegiance for the president said in a statement obtained by Sudan Tribune they lost hope that Sa’ihoon could achieve the desired change and reform, accusing it of sidetracking from its main objective and becoming preoccupied with trivial matters.

It pointed out that voice of reform and change within the Sa’ihoon group has faded, saying the gap has widened between real and virtual Sa’ihoon.

They further added they decided to support the government following deep discussions particularly after the recent government changes which ousted old guard who clinched to power for decades.

Last December Bashir announced cabinet shakeup that saw the departure of several long-time NCP figures from their governmental posts including former vice-president Ali Osman Taha, presidential assistant and NCP vice-chairman Nafie Ali Nafie and Oil minister Awad al-Jaz.

The statement called upon Mujahideen (holy fighters) to join the NCP and offer Bai’aa, stressing they would announce Bai’aa for the NCP in a massive celebration with the participation of thousands of Mujahideen.

Among the most prominent names of the dissident faction are Numan Hussein, Ghali Abu-Idriss, Abdel-Gadir Awad al-Geed, Mudar Salem and Nasr al-Deen Ghattas.

Meanwhile several Sa’ihoon members have accused the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) of standing behind the division.

The Sa’ihoon leading figure, Omer Abdel-Fatah Ibrahim, posted on the group’s page on Facebook that the dissidents have nothing to do with Sa’ihoon, calling upon all Mujahideen not to pay attention to this “nonsense”.

The Sa’ihoon group which includes members of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and the opposition Popular Congress Party (PCP) failed to develop a unified initiative framing the reform process which it seeks to realize.

Following the split of the former presidential advisor Ghazi Salah Al-Deen al-Attabani from the NCP, several Sa’ihoon members joined his new party.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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