August 13, 2012 (KHARTOUM) — A group of armed men attacked Monday the premises of two ministries of Darfur Regional Authority (DRA) in the capital of North Darfur and fled after seizing some vehicles.
- A view of the crowds gathered at El Negaa Stadium, El Fasher, for a public rally in support of the launch today, of the headquarters of the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA). (Photo UN)
The group attacked the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Youth and Sport and the headquarters of Peace and Reconciliation Commission. They unfurled a banner at the youth ministry where they wrote "the Headquarters of the Liberation and Justice Movement – Army".
Youth minister Hussein Abdel-Rahman and other officials had been taken hostage by the gunmen before to free them later after negotiations with North Darfur governor Osman Kibir. The attackers also carried out acts of sabotage in the two ministries and run away with four vehicles.
DRA chairman, Tijani Al-Sissi, in a press conference held in El-Faher after the incident condemned the attack and described it as "an attempt to terrorise the regional authority and its members."
He also pointed out that the gunmen are not affiliated with his LJM, in reference to the unfurled banner.
He further disclosed a member of the group that carried out the attack had joined the Movement after signing of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) in July 2011 after his returned from Chad where he was settled.
But when he failed to achieve "his own interests" he formed a group and claimed belonging to LJM, Sissi said.
He unveiled that they already discussed the issue of this group with the First Vice President Ali Osman Taha, the interior minister and the Sudanese army. Adding that security measures to protect the DRA premises pushed the group to attack the two ministries.
"This group wants to disrupt the peace process but the authority is determined to continue its efforts to achieve peace. Such groups can not break it down," he told reporters.
Sources close to the file, told Sudan Tribune under the cover of anonymity that this group decided one month ago to remove Al-Sissi from LJM leadership after expressing its frustration at the delay in implementing security arrangements.
They, at the time, attempted to take the control of DRA headquarters but were repelled by the security forces there. Al-Sissi during the press conference also mentioned this first incident.
Reached by telephone, Tadjadine Bechir Niam, DRA Minister of Reconstruction, Development and Infrastructure, and leading LJM figure termed the attack as a "dangerous precedent".
He said the governor and security officials in the state intervened to secure the release of the hostages but the assailants opened fire on the government troops. He further said that the security forces injured two gunmen and arrested five others.
He said the authorities are pursing the group and pledged to recover the four vehicles within hours.
He however warned that if the government fails to return the stolen vehicles the LJM would deal directly with the attackers.
The DDPD implementation remains highly troubled by the lack of financial resources as the government in Khartoum failed to provide the necessary funds to the regional authority which is tasked with its enforcement.
The former rebel group announced last week that they will resume, together with the Sudanese army, the implementation of the security arrangements as the army rejected to include a number of LJM fighters in the DDR process last March.
LJM chief contested the army’s decision and discussed the issue with President Omer Al-Bashir and the First Vice President before to reach an agreement over the need to review the criteria of the army in this regard.
A donor conference is scheduled in Doha next December.