August 26, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The head of Darfur Regional Authority (DRA), al-Tijani al-Sissi, has announced that the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the national police will soon begin integrating the combatants of former rebel groups which are signatory to peace agreements.
- DRA chief Tijani al-Sissi and JEM Sudan leader Bakheit Abdallah Dabajo during the integration ceremony of 1350 JEM combatants in Al-Fasher on 25 August 2014 (Photo courtesy of JEM-Sudan)
SAF is known for its resistance to integrate fighters of former rebel groups in Darfur. The army refuses to give senior military ranks to the commanders of these movements and accuses them of beefing up their figures by including fake fighters.
Such issues hampered the implementation of security agreements signed with Darfur rebel groups since 2006.
However on Monday, the Sudanese army for the first time integrated 1,350 combatants from the Justice and Equality Movement faction led by Bakheit Abdallah Dabajo (JEM-Dabajo), in line with a peace agreement signed in Doha last April.
Following a meeting with the first vice-president Bakri Hassan Saleh, Sissi who is also the leader of the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) told reporters that the DRA will soon launch the integration the combatants of his group.
He added that the process will take place in Al-Fasher, Geneina, and Nyala in coordination with the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) commission and the Sudanese army.
The Sudanese government and JEM-Dabajo signed last week a deal including a new timetable for the implementation of April peace agreement. Accordingly, the parties agreed to enforce the security arrangements and the wealth sharing agreement by September 19.
In statements to Sudan Tribune JEM-Dabajo political secretary, Nahar Osman Nahar said they have some five thousands combatants. He further said that two other batches of their fighters based in Nyala and Geneina will be integrated soon.
Regarding the power sharing deal, he said they filed the lists of their people for the regional and national positions adding that they expect that they will be soon appointed.
Sissi said the meeting with the vice-president also discussed the development projects in Darfur and payment of the national government commitment to the DAR for the recovery and development programmes.
After the signing of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) in July 2011, Khartoum paid the first instalment ($200 million) in January 2013.
The DRA chief said that Sudan’s budget for 2014, dedicated 900 million Sudanese pound to implement the rehabilitation and development projects.
In line with the DDPD, the DRA is tasked with the implementation of the peace agreement, particularly the projects related to the return of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees, recovery and reconstruction projects.