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Rifts reappear within former Darfur rebels ahead of Sudan’s elections

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December 28, 2014 (KHARTOUM) - Public divisions are arising within two factions of the former rebel Liberation and Equality Movement (LJM) over the implementation of the security arrangements but the two sides reaffirmed that their commitment to the unity of the group.

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The leader of Sudan’s Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), Tijani Al-Sissi, speaks to the media during an interview in Khartoum on 7 August 2012 (Photo: Ashraf Shazly/AFP/Getty Images)

LJM is formed of 19 small factions that had splinted from the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) and Justice and equality Movement (JEM). It also gathers different ethnic groups and gives a positive image of unity of Darfur rebels who are so criticised for their divisions.

The former rebel group is also the main signatory of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD). Its leader Tijani al-Sissi chairs the Darfur Regional Authority (DRA), which is tasked with the implementation of the framework agreement.

However, while some groups point to their participation in the insurgency to legitimise themselves others, like the leader of the group, know they were chosen because they represent an important ethic group, even if they did bear arms against the regime.

Since three years, the group has failed to implement the security arrangements and the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) programme due to divergent views on how to implement it.

So, as the elections approach tensions reappeared again within the heterogeneous group, because the demobilisation of combatants should be implemented before to participate in the elections as provided by the electoral law.

In a press conference held on Sunday, the head of LJM security arrangements committee and West Darfur governor, Haider Galu Kuma, disclosed that divergence with the group’s secretary general, Bahr Idriss Abu Garda, have delayed the DDR process, adding they had to start its implementation 45 days after the signing of the DDPD on 14 July 2011.

However, Galu Kuma ruled out that these divergences lead to a split within the group and called on Abu Garda to engage in dialogue with the LJM’s leadership to overcome all differences and unite the movement’s position.

He also ruled out considering the implementation of the security arrangement through the DRA, describing it as “a procrastination attempt”.

Further, the state minister for the cabinet affairs and LJM spokesperson Ahmed Fadel who participated in the press conference openly accused Abu Garda of seeking to hinder the implementation of the security arraignments process.

Fadel however minimised the importance of splits within the group, pointing to the former deputy chairman Ahmed Abdel Shafi and others dissidents, adding they didn’t affect the group.

He said that they are resolved to take part in the elections and to transform LJM into a political party. He also pointed to the party cohesion, adding they are willing to cooperate with the ruling National Congress Party and the government and to accept their support.

On Saturday 27 December, Sudanese vice-president Hasabo Abdel Rahma met with Galu Kuma and discussed with him the security arrangements implementation process and LJM transformation into a political party before the upcoming general elections scheduled for April 2015.

Following the meeting, LJM deputy leader told reporters that the vice-president called to speed the implementation of the security arrangements, adding he briefed Abdel Rahman on the opening of Dalmaya camp in South Darfur to integrate the combatants of the group.

ABU GARDA KEEN ON LJM UNITY

LJM secretary general held a press conference to explain his position from the process at the building of the official news agency SUNA on Sunday at the same time as Galu Kuma who organised his press conference at the LJM premises.

Abu Garda confirmed they are in informed the registrar of political parties about the transformation of the group into a political party after the reintegration of a first batch of LJM combatants.

However he said “the challenge that LJM is facing is its transformation into a political party in this short lapse of time before the elections”.

Abu Garda further said he does not intend to split from the movement, adding that “differences in views should be resolved within the party”.

Regarding the alliance with the ruling NCP in the upcoming elections, Abu Garda did not rule out such possibility saying “we can ally ourselves with the National Congress as we are seeking to achieve national unity for all (the Sudanese) people”.

(ST)

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