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Darfur’s SLM-AW, SLFA agree to form unified movement

Sudan Liberation Forces Alliance (SLFA) Taher Hajar shakes hands with SLM-AW after signing the unity agreement 7 May 2018 (ST Photo)
May 7, 2018 (KHARTOUM) The Sudan Liberation Movement (ALM-AW) led by Abdel-Wahid al-Nur and the Sudan Liberation Forces Alliance (SLFA) led by Tahir Hajar have agreed to merge their military and political work towards full unification of the two movements.

In a joint statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Monday, the two movements said they held lengthy meetings following intensive contacts and consultations between the two sides.

The meetings, which were held in an undisclosed location, discussed a number of issues including the fate and path of the Sudanese state, the IDPs and refugees, war hostages and prisoners besides the political situation and the harsh economic conditions.

According to the statement, the meetings concluded that “the full unification of the two movements is the only option towards achieving aspirations of the Sudanese”.

“The unification of the two movements is the strategic goal and the two sides would press ahead to achieve it under all circumstances” read the statement.

The two sides agreed the basic preamble of the unity would carry the title “Sudan Liberation Movement/Army” and its political programme aims to establish a state of equal citizenship for all Sudanese irrespective of their race, culture, religion or gender.

The two movements agreed to work together in the various fields including the media, diplomacy, political, humanitarian, students, military and popular work.

The agreement was signed by the SLFA secretary of presidential affairs Mubarak Bakhit and SLM-AW Chief of Staff Youssef Ahmed Youssef.

Meanwhile, the head of SLFA, Tahir Hajar told Sudan Tribune the agreement was not meant to coordinate efforts but rather to begin the unification process of the two movements.

He stressed the two sides would work together in the abovementioned domains until achieving the full unity.

It is noteworthy that SLFA was established in July 2017 after the merger of three Darfur armed factions including the Sudan Liberation Movement for Justice of Tahir Hajar, Sudan Liberation Movement-Unity of Abdallah Yahia and the Justice and Equality Movement led by Abdallah Bashr Gali (aka Gena).

Following its formation, SLFA underscored its commitment to continue the armed struggle against the Sudanese government, saying it wouldn’t abide by the unilateral cessation of hostilities announced by President Omer al-Bashir.

The Sudanese army has been fighting a group of armed movements in Darfur since 2003.

Doha brokered the Darfur peace negotiations which resulted in the signing of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) by the Sudanese government and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) in July 2011. Also, a dissident faction of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) joined the DDPD in April 2013.

JEM led by Gibril Ibrahim and the SLM-MM have engaged in peace talks with the government under the auspices of the African Union.

However, the SLM-AW is not part of the African Union-mediated peace talks. The rebel group rejects negotiating a peace agreement with Khartoum government unless the government militias are disarmed and displaced civilians return to their original areas.