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Conflicting reports emerge over agreement between SPLM-N, ex-Janjaweed leader

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July 13, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese press has published conflicting reports over a recent agreement signed by rebels from South Kordofan and Blue Nile states with a former tribal leader who is accused of committing atrocities against civilians in Darfur.

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The SPLM-N’s Jagoud Mukuar Murada and former MP Ismail Aghbash from the SRAC on 11 July 2014

On Thursday, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) said it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Sudanese Revolutionary Awakening Council (SRAC) led by the former Janjaweed leader Musa Hilal.

The MOU, which was received by Sudan Tribune on Friday, was signed by Jagoud Mukuar Murada from the SPLM-N side, and the former MP Ismail Aghbash from the SRAC side.

However, Khartoum newspapers on Sunday quoted a spokesperson for the SRAC named, Haroun Mohamed, as saying that Aghbash was not authorised to sign that memo.

Al-Ahram al-Youm daily newspaper quoted Hilal on Sunday as saying he doesn’t seek to overthrow the regime but to reform it.

“If the SRF [rebel alliance] wants peace it is welcome but if it wants to overthrow the regime, I will oppose it because I work according to a declared program for reforming the state and the party [ruling National Congress Party (NCP)],” he added.

Meanwhile, the NCP disclosed that regular contacts are taking place between its deputy chairman, Ibrahim Ghandour, and Hilal, stressing the latter is still a member of the party and the Sudanese parliament.

The Sudanese army spokesperson, Al-Sawarmi Khaled Saad, for his part, told the London based Asharq Al-Awsat daily that it is too early to antagonise Hilal and his forces at the present time, adding they are still acting friendly with him.

“How can we sure that he signed this memo,” he said.

Al-Sawarmi said the political leadership and the army would study the memo and decide whether Hilal has mutinied or not.

He said the SPLM-N is an insurgent group according to the Sudanese army law, noting that any cooperation with the insurgency including provision of ammunition or information or facilitating military operations is considered part of the insurgency.

Meanwhile, the SPLM-N renegade commander, Telephone Koko Abu Galha, issued a statement on Sunday condemning signing of the memo, saying Hilal is “wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC)” for committing crimes against innocent civilians in Darfur.

He considered the move a declaration of the death of the SPLM-N’s program of the New Sudan and the struggle of the marginalized people.

Hilal who was one of the main militia leaders that participated in the counterinsurgency campaign during the first years of Darfur crisis, turned recently his militiamen against the governor of North Darfur state, Osman Kibir and accused him of feeding tribal conflicts in the state.

The tribal leader criticisedthe federal government for keeping Kibir while he is accused of fuelling tribal conflicts and seeking to defend the interests of his tribal group, Berti.

Last March, Hilal told president Bashir about his "extreme dissatisfaction" and urged to relieve North Darfur governor from his post for the sake of tribal peace in the state.

The famous Janjaweed leader recently started making statements critical of the ruling National Congress Party (NCP), of which he is a member, and calling for deep reforms.

Earlier this year, Hilal’s militiamen seized control of western localities in North Darfur state including Saraf Omra, Kutum, Kabkabiya, Al-Seraif, and El Waha. The tribal chief announced establishment of administrations in these localities naming his forces the SRAC.

(ST)

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