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Three Darfur factions establish new rebel group

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July 7, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Three Darfur rebel factions on Thursday formed one movement called Sudan Liberation Forces Alliance (SLFA) saying the new group wouldn’t abide by the unilateral ceasefire announced by the Sudanese government.

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Members of the Sudan Liberation Army disembark from their vehicle in Susuwa, north Darfur, May 15, 2006. (Reuters)

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune Friday, the SLFA said three armed factions including the Sudan Liberation Movement for Justice, Sudan Liberation Movement-Unity and the Justice and Equality Movement led by Abdallah Bishr Gali held a conference in the liberated areas from 29 June to July 2 and decided to form one movement.

The new movement underscored the commitment to continue the armed struggle against the Sudanese government, saying it wouldn’t abide by the recent three-month unilateral cessation of hostilities announced by President Omer al-Bashir.

According to the statement, “the move came after holding consultations and contacts among the three factions for more than two months” in order to achieve unity of the opposition and the revolutionary movements.

The statement pointed that the conference has elected Al-Tahir Abu Bakr Hajar as chairman of the SLFA and Abdallah Yahia as his deputy while Mahgoub al-Aghbash was elected as head of the legislative council and Ahmed Mohamed Sulieman as his deputy.

It added that General Abdallah Bishr Gali has been appointed as the General Commander of the Army and Aboud Adam Khatir as his deputy while General Ahmed Abdallah Bishr was appointed as Chief of General Staff.

The SLFA has called on the major rebel groups in Darfur including the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-MM) led by Minni Minnawi, SLM-AW led by Abdel-Wahid al-Nur and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) led by Gibril Ibrahim to seek unity of the armed resistance.

The Sudanese army has been fighting a group of armed movements in Darfur since 2003. UN agencies estimate that over 300,000 people were killed in the conflict and over 2.5 million were displaced.

REBELS WELCOME THE MOVE

Meanwhile, leader of JEM, Gibril Ibrahim has welcomed the formation of the SLFA and congratulated its political and military leadership described the unification of the three factions as “blessed move”.

In a statement seen by Sudan Tribune Thursday, Ibrahim said they support the formation of the new group because “it is our firm conviction that the divisions among the resistance forces were one of the major reasons that hampered the achievement of the revolution objectives”.

He added the divisions among the resistance forces allowed the regime to “continue to hold to power despite its failure to carry out the most basic functions of good governance and the horrible crimes it committed against the Sudanese”.

Ibrahim pointed out that the JEM has developed a vision to achieve the unity of the armed factions, saying they are ready to make any comprises to achieve full unity of the revolutionary movements.

In the same context, the SLM-MM led by Minni Minnawi has welcomed the formation of the SLFA saying they support any effort being exerted to unify the revolutionary forces to overthrow the regime.

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune, SLM-MM deputy chairman for political affairs Abu Obieda al-Khalifa said they offer unlimited support to the unity of the armed struggle, saying his movement was among the first to engage in dialogue to achieve unity of the various Darfur groups.

He added the unity of the small factions makes it easy to coordinate efforts among the armed movements during the next decisive phase.

(ST)

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