April 14, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - A defector commander from the Sudan Liberation Movement/AW led by Abdel-Wahid al-Nur has joined Darfur’s peace following years of rebellion in Jebel Marra area, announced governor of Central Darfur state.
- SLM-AW fighters on guard during a visit by UNAMID chief Ibrahim Gambari to Fanga Suk village, in East Jebel Marra, West Darfur, on 18 March 2011 (Photo: Reuters)
Central Darfur state witnessed last year clashes between the government forces and SLM-AW fighters in western Jebel Marra area. Thousands of civilians fled the fighting to the other states mainly to North Darfur.
On 12 April, the Sudanese army declared Darfur a region free of rebellion following the capture of Srounq area, the last SLM-AW stronghold in Jebel Marra. However, the army continued for several months to carry out attacks on rebel pockets in the mountainous area.
Jebel Marra, which spans over three states including North, Central and South Darfur, is located in a water-rich area that is characterised by a mild climate.
In a press conference on Friday in Zalingei, Central Darfur governor Gaafar Abdel-Hakam introduced SLM-AW dissident commander Abdel-Latif Abdel-Hamid (aka Tulus), saying he returned after 13 years of rebellion.
He pointed to “ongoing contacts with the rest of the rebel commanders to convince them to join the peace process”, saying “carrying of arms no longer works and wouldn’t achieve any political result”.
Abdel-Hakam renewed call for the holdouts to return to contribute the development process and participate in the political activity, saying all freedoms are now allowed in the country.
For his part, the dissident commander stressed his seriousness to achieve full stability and participate in resolving the conflict between the farmers and herders which was the major cause of rebellion.
He vowed to take a flexible stance to implement the agreement reached with the government and contributes to achieving peace and stability in the region, calling on the IDP’s and refugees to return to their villages of origin.
“I will support the government to achieve peace and stability because that would guarantee the building of a stable society,” he said.
The Central Darfur government last November signed a peace deal with a number of breakaway commanders from SPLM-AW including Abu Gamal Khalil Bakr, Al-Amin Abdel-Jabar al-Tahir (aka al-Amin Turo) and the movement’s spokesperson Shihab al-Din Ahmed Hagar.
UN agencies estimate that over 300,000 people were killed in Darfur conflict since 2003, and over 2.5 million were displaced.