SUDAN WATCH: Darfur rebel who's who - Reuters Newsblog

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Darfur rebel who's who - Reuters Newsblog

So who are the main rebel groups, and what do they want? Here's a quick overview from Reuters AlertNet Newsblog 9 Aug 2006:
SLA (Minnawi's faction): This is the only rebel group that has signed the peace accord, with Minnawi since being appointed as special assistant to the president. This makes him number four in the Khartoum hierarchy, and number one in Darfur - meaning he would head a provisional government planned for Darfur. His group has been accused by rights organisation Amnesty International of killing and raping civilians to try to force them to support the unpopular accord.

SLA (al-Nur's faction): This group rejected the deal, and there are reports that al-Nur may have been toppled by commanders in the field. This faction is popular in camps for the displaced as al-Nur is a Fur and thus belongs to Darfur's largest ethnic group.

Justice and Equality Movement (JEM): This group also rejected the deal. JEM is not particularly strong on the ground, and according to the head of the U.N.'s Sudan mission, Jan Pronk, during the talks it seemed to have had its eye more on gaining power in Khartoum than peace in Darfur.

National Redemption Front (NRF): The recently formed NRF is a coalition of rebels opposed to the peace deal, including JEM, former commanders from both SLA factions (al-Nur has disassociated himself from the group) and the Sudan Federal Democratic Alliance.

The Sudan Tribune's website has a copy of NRF's founding declaration, including its objectives. It calls for "a just system of sharing wealth and power between the various regions of Sudan", "regional self rule" and "fair participation" in national politics.

The NRF now holds sway in much of north Darfur. It has reportedly been involved in offensive actions, such as an attack on a town in North Kordofan and a military base belonging to Minnawi's faction in Sayah. This week it said it had shot down a Sudanese government bomber, but the government denied the report.

G19: Originally formed by 19 SLA members and advisors present at the Abuja peace talks who split with the leadership. They have gained support among those who oppose the deal, and are based in the northwest of north Darfur. They have reportedly been attacked by Minnawi, and are said to be closing ranks with the National Redemption Front.
Thanks to Reuters Alert Newsblog for highlighting this blog, Sudan Watch, in the following excerpt taken from above report:
"While the exact situation on the ground in Darfur remains more than a little hazy due to the lack of access for journalists and aid workers in many parts, here are some good sources of information available on the internet:

The blog written by Jan Pronk, the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations in Sudan, who lives in Khartoum. The United Nations should listen up, because his latest piece is pretty pessimistic about prospects for the peace deal.

Another blog called Sudan Watch compiles newspaper articles and other interesting blog pieces on Sudan on an almost daily basis.

Sudanese researcher Eric Reeves, who's also Professor of English Language and Literature at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, writes regularly about Darfur on his site sudanreevees.org."
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Note, Feb 21 2006 List of top wanted Janjaweed leaders - Who's who on Darfur (African Confidential)

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