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Bashir removes Minnawi from chairmanship of Darfur Transitional Authority

December 5, 2010 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir has reportedly removed the head of Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) Minni Arcua Minnawi from his position as head of the Transitional Darfur Regional Authority (TDRA) only few days after the Sudanese army said that it considers his forces a military target.

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FILE - Sudanese President Omer Hassan al-Bashir’s presidential assistant and leader of the Darfur rebel faction Minni Arcua Minnawi (L) listens to Bashir’s speech during a rally organised by Bashir’s supporterswho are against the arrest warrant for him issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC), in Khartoum March 17, 2009

The TDRA is defined by the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) as principal instrument for the implementation of that Agreement and as a means of enhancing coordination and cooperation among the three Darfur states; West Darfur, South Darfur, and North Darfur.

The Sudanese Media Center (SMC) website believed to be run by the intelligence services reported that Minnawi was replaced by West Darfur governor Al-Shertai Ga’far Abdel-Hakam upon a decree from Bashir.

Abdel-Hakam was quoted by SMC as saying that his appointment to this post is to support the DPA and to fill the constitutional void left by Minnawi since he chose Juba as his voluntary exile since a few months back.

The governor said that the DPA states that in the event of the absence of the TDRA chief, the governors of Darfur shall meet and pick one of them to run the body formed in the wake of the Abuja agreement signed more than six years ago.

The development is yet another setback to the DPA which was signed by Minnawi as head of the most powerful military faction at the time.

On Friday, the Sudanese army said that Minnawi’s troops have violated the DPA Security arrangements by moving from their assigned areas and are heading towards the South.

"We consider them a target now. We are searching for them and will engage them," he said, adding the SLA intended to rejoin their former rebel allies in the south.

The SLA denied its troops were moving towards south Sudan.

SMC quoted North Darfur governor as calling on Minnawi to return and continue implementation of the DPA and particularly the security arrangements signed in October. The SLA chief has suggested that he does not endorse the deal signed by his aides.

Last month Minnawi said that the Sudanese government has only implemented 15% of the DPA with no progress on power and wealth sharing, Darfur-Darfur dialogue and security arrangements. He added that all these items had to be implemented simultaneously.

He accused the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) headed by president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir of refusing to abide by the terms of the DPA and further stressed that Khartoum is abandoning the peace agreement in favor of its new Darfur strategy.