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SPLM-N Rift: Minnawi recognises al-Hilu’s leadership, calls to overcome differences

June 20, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-MM) Minni Minnawi has recognised Abdel-Aziz al-Hilu as Chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N).

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SLM-MM leader Minni Minnawi (AP Photo)

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune, he also called on the conflicting parties within the Movement to overcome their differences so as not to harm the struggle against the ruling regime.

As a result of a rift that started earlier this year and its successive developments, the SPLM-N is now split into two factions one led by Malik Agar and the other by his rival al-Hilu.

Al-Hilu, who gained the support of the Movement’s army, has removed Malik Agar from the leadership of the armed group together with the Secretary General Yasser Arman after they rejected his demand for the self-determination.

In a letter addressed to al-Hilu, Agar and Arman Tuesday, Minnawi called on al-Hilu to win back his comrades in order to benefit from their expertise, describing Arman and Agar as “treasures” that should be preserved.

“Particularly, after you gained support and trust of the Movement’s institutions and the popular army which imposes the greatest responsibility upon you,” he added.

He also called on al-Hilu to welcome any initiative aiming to rebuild the rebel umbrella Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) or establish any alternative strong alliance among the lively forces in Sudan.

The rebel leader proposed that more realistic efforts should be made to establish new and strong alliances that could avoid the flaws which have weakened the role of the SRF and hindered the strategic goal of toppling the regime and bringing about the desired change.

It is noteworthy that the SRF, since October 2015, split into two factions one headed by Malik Agar and the second by the leader of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) Gibril Ibrahim following differences between the SPLM-N and Darfur movements on the chairmanship of the rebel umbrella.

Also before the political split, al-Hilu who was the commander in chief of the SRF forces, dissolved the joint military command and encouraged the rebel commanders from Darfur region to leave with their fighters the SPLM-N controlled areas in South Kordofan.

Minnawi expressed his movement’s readiness to provide the necessary support to settle the differences within the SPLM-N in order to achieve the aspirations of the Sudanese people.

He further praised Agar and Arman for calling to maintain the unity of the SPLA-N, urging all parties to work to remove the reasons behind the recent escalation.

He urged them to not seek to establish a new movement, saying such a move would adversely impact on the struggle against the regime.

“Therefore, we call on you to wait a little and listen and give a chance to the institutions of your Movement for the sake of its unity. History requires you to give the necessary appreciation of the comradeship that brought you together all these years for the cause of the homeland,” he said.

The Sudanese army has been fighting SPLM-N rebels in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan, also known as the Two Areas since 2011.

(ST)