SUDAN WATCH: Sudanese born British and Irish citizens in JEM rebel group

Friday, March 20, 2009

Sudanese born British and Irish citizens in JEM rebel group

According to this unusual news report from the London Evening Standard, an expatriate member of JEM's leadership has worked in Luton and Dunstable hospital here in England. Five other British subjects and an Irish citizen are also among the leaders of the JEM. I wonder what they tell immigration.

From the Evening Standard, This Is London, by Anna Davis March 20, 2009:
Luton doctor spearheads fight against Sudan leader
A Luton doctor is in Darfur working for a rebel group fighting to overthrow the Sudanese government, it emerged today.

Five other British subjects and an Irish citizen are also among the leaders of the Justice and Equality Movement.

The expatriates, who originally come from Sudan, joined the rebel fighters after reading about the unequal distribution of wealth in the country in a publication known as the Black Book.

Doctor el-Tahir el-Faki was preparing for a shift at the Luton and Dunstable hospital in February when a rebel contact telephoned him for help.

Expatriate members of JEM's leadership are expected to return to the country in times of special need. He was asked to fill in as a speaker in peace talks with the Sudanese government because the official delegation had been delayed in Egypt.

He now works in Darfur with other members of JEM. The rebel organisation has gained pre-eminence among Darfur's divided insurgent groups and has dominated recent peace talks, as well as action on the battleground.

Dr el-Tahir was born in the Kordofan region of Sudan and has lived in Britain for 22 years. He said: “Things are moving very quickly. It will be solved by peace, or by the bullet. It won't take long.”

The UN's chief mediator for Darfur wrote to Dr el-Tahir's hospital saying his sudden absence was vital for the interests of peace.

Dr el-Tahir said: “I don't know what my fate will be with the hospital when I finally get back. I am sure they must have stopped paying me by now.”

He said that none of his group had faced problems because of their involvement with JEM.


He added: “If the British authorities had anything against us they would have knocked on our doors at 5am. But why should they? They know that we are loyal to Britain and that our allegiance is with the Crown.

“Britain missed an opportunity in Sudan and allowed the Chinese to expand there instead. We hope that by changing the Khartoum regime, Britain and Sudan will be able to restore their natural relationship.”

The Justice and Equality Movement is fighting to overthrow Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president.

This month the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for him for war crimes in Darfur.
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Darfur_505686a.jpg

Photo: In Darfur's austere sub-Saharan desert, JEM's leadership experience the same spartan conditions as the fighters (Jack Hill/The Times)

Dr el-Tahir said that none of the British or Irish men had ever faced any problems from the British authorities on account of their key leadership positions in the JEM, nor expected to.

JEM's Dr El-Tahir

Photo: Doctor El-Tahir of the Executive Leadership Cabinet of the Justice and Equality Movement (Jack Hill/The Times)

From The Times by Jack Hill March 20, 2009:
Surgeon from Luton answers the call to prepare for war in Darfur
The surgeon was preparing for a shift at the A&E department of Luton & Dunstable hospital when his telephone rang. A rebel contact told him that his services were needed urgently — and the next day he left on a journey that would take him to the deserts of Darfur.

A month on, and he is still there, serving as a top member in the leadership of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), the rebel group fighting to overthrow the regime of Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese President. Five other British subjects and an Irish citizen are also among the rebel leaders.

“Things are moving very quickly,” the doctor, el-Tahir el-Faki, told The Times. As he spoke, night drew the shadows over a rebel unit concealed in a wadi bed: “Either it’ll be solved by peace, or by the bullet. It won’t take long.” The rebel organisation has gained pre-eminence among Darfur’s divided insurgent groups, dominating recent peace talks and action on the battlefield.

Born in the Kordofan region of Sudan, Dr el-Tahir had lived in Britain for 22 years, and was called in early February to take an immediate flight to Doha, Qatar. A senior JEM delegation, due to attend the start of peace talks there with the Sudanese Government, had been delayed in Egypt. As the Speaker of JEM’s legislative assembly, the doctor was asked to fill the gap.

Djibril Bassolé, the UN/African Union joint chief mediator for Darfur, wrote to the hospital explaining Dr el-Tahir’s sudden absence as being vital for the interests of peace. The talks concluded on a moderately optimistic note, and Dr el-Tahir moved on to Chad, then donned his camouflage kadmoun (turban) and crossed the border into Darfur at the end of February.

No stranger here, having spent much of his annual leave in Darfur since 2004, he linked up with JEM’s headquarter group — the executive committee — to discuss the details of a framework peace agreement due to be the focus of the next round of talks in Qatar. But hopes for peace quickly became clouded. “It was rather difficult because of the indiscriminate bombing and shelling,” Dr el-Tahir, 55, said. “The executive Cabinet could have been wiped out in one go.”

In Darfur’s austere sub-Saharan desert, JEM’s leadership experience the same spartan conditions as the fighters, moving constantly to escape the attention of observation aircraft and bombing raids and surviving on a meagre diet of millet, seeds and bread.

Khalil Ibrahim, the movement’s leader, has not spent more than 60 days away from the desert in the past two and a half years. In times of special need even the expatriate elements of JEM’s leadership are expected to return to the wilderness. “I don’t know what my fate will be with the hospital when I finally get back,” Dr el-Tahir said. “I am sure they must have stopped paying me by now.”

Formed in the late 1990s as an underground political movement, JEM began its armed campaign in 2003 as one of several insurgent groups operating in Darfur. Unlike other groups, JEM has a cohesive and ambitious vision for reform in Sudan that envisages the redistribution of wealth and power within a federal democracy. Its political clout owes no small debt to the predominance of lawyers, doctors and academics among its senior leadership.

Dr el-Tahir said that none of the British or Irish men had ever faced any problems from the British authorities on account of their key leadership positions in the JEM, nor expected to.

“If the British authorities had anything against us they would have knocked on our doors at 5am,” he said. “But why should they? They know that we are loyal to Britain and that our allegiance is with the Crown.

“Britain missed an opportunity in Sudan and allowed the Chinese to expand there instead. We hope that by changing the Khartoum regime, Britain and Sudan will be able to restore their natural relationship.”

HAVE YOUR SAY
Bashir, Turabi, & Osama bin Laden discussed turning the Sudan into a pure Islamic State in the late 1980s . The discussion revolved around eliminating the Anamists, Apostates, & Christians living in the south & west.
Darfur is the 'Final Solution' for that project.
self defense, not revolt.
Tom Dundee, Aberdeen, UK

On what grounds then does the British Government object to young Muslims going to fight Jihad in various parts of the globe?
If the doc can fight in Darfur...what is sauce for the goose, must be sauce for the gander.
Fr Frank, London, England

al-Bashir needs his visit to the ICC His promises mean nothing! Unfortunately China's quietly but definitely bought most of Africa where Gadafi hasn't yet. Sudan was my lovely home for some time. I can only hope JEM succeeds to deliver & bring Sudanese refugees back home where they belong Good Luck!
Lianne Harvey, Warminster, UK
JEM rebels in northern Darfur

Photo: Justice and Equality Movement rebels having tea in northern Darfur (Jack Hill/The Times)

Darfur_506561a.jpg

Photo: A Justice and Equality Movement rebel in northern Darfur. The group, which is fighting to overthrow the regime of the Sudanese President, has at least six British subjects in its leadership (Jack Hill/The Times)

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