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Sudanese rebel leader warns against Bashir’s candidacy

September 2, 2018 (KHARTOUM) – Malik Agar, the head of one of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) factions, warned that the re-nomination of President Omer Hassan al-Bashir for a new term would mean abandoning the idea of participating in the 2020 presidential elections and working instead to escalate the resistance.

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President of the opposition National Umma Party (NUP) Sadiq al-mahdi (L) shake hands with the chairman of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) on 8 August 2014 (ST)

Agar had proposed taking part in the upcoming polls and running against the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) provided that Bashir not be a candidate, the abolition of laws restricting freedoms, reaching a peace agreement to stop the war and taking into account the special nature of the Two Areas (South Kordofan and Blue Nile states) to allow the participation of all in free and fair elections.

In a statement published in the first edition of a new bimonthly magazine by the name of Madarat Jadidah (New Orbits) on Sunday, Agar said that there is a strong possibility their demands will be rejected by Khartoum particularly after the NCP announced its intention to nominate Bashir for a new term.

"The Movement and the Sudan Call will have no choice but to escalate the resistance, coordination and cooperation with political parties and groups to impose [regime] change through available means," Agar said.

He pointed out that Sudan Call forces were of the same view during their latest meeting in mid-August, adding that this requires hard work among all components of the Sudanese opposition and agreement on a political program as a minimum.

Agar revealed that SPLM-N is close to finalizing preparations for the general convention following the split of the group into two factions: his group and the other headed by Abdulaziz al-Hilu last year.

He added they formed the transitional leadership council, reorganized the army and appointed a new chief of staff and overhauled the executive and political apparatus.

Al-Hilu resigned from SPLM-N in March 2017 after which the SPLM-N’s Liberation Council in the Nuba Mountains withdrew its confidence from Yasir Arman as Secretary-General. The council further rejected the resignation of al-Hilu as the deputy head of SPLM-N and made him the top authority on political negotiations.

The rebel regional parliament also adopted self-determination as one of the pillars of its agenda.

Following what, the internal dispute has escalated leading to the dismissal of Agar and a new general conference was held in the Nuba Mountains where al-Hilu was elected as chairman.

For his part, Agar called the move illegitimate and announced the reorganization of the movement on new grounds.

Attempts by the opposition forces to reunite the rebel movement have failed so far. Also, the al-Hilu faction has refused to participate in the Sudan Call meetings unless the name of Agar faction is changed.

(ST)