Friday, April 28, 2006

Darfur's SLM/A rebels refuse to disarm until after end of six-year transition period

Yesterday, a spokesman for the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) said it viewed the draft peace agreement's stances on power-sharing and disarmament as too tailored to Khartoum's demands, claims an unsourced report from Khartoum published in the Sudan Tribune April 27, 2006 - excerpt:
"The peace plan is much closer to the government's plans as opposed to being balanced," Mahjoub Hussein said by phone from Libya on Thursday.

"The movement can absolutely not disarm until after the end of the six-year transition period proposed by the plan", he said. "This is a red line for the SLM."
[A six-year "transition" period? What does this mean - Darfurians to vote in six years time to break away from Sudan? Is that why the rebels are insisting on a Darfurian securing a Vice-Presidency position, to have the same sort of deal as South Sudan? Why is such a proposition not being discussed openly? Surely such a deal won't be signed by Sunday! This could go on for years. Hey George Clooney et al: you're wasting your time and playing (with fire) into the rebels' hands! - read important excerpt here below entitled "Darfur's JEM rebel group dismisses Darfur peace talks"]

UPDATE: In the draft peace agreement, mediators also proposed that the people of Darfur vote by 2010 on whether to create a single geographical entity out of the three current Darfur states.

Apr 28 2006 Sudan Tribune Darfur rebel SLM rejects integration of its forces in the army - Text of London based Al-Hayat interview over Internet with Mahjoub Hussein, spokesman for the SLM/A in western Sudan Darfur: "We will not lay down our arms and we will not decommission our elements before the end of the interim period and the formation of the new Sudanese army" ... "I will head soon to Ndjamena to congratulate President Deby on his victory over the brutal aggression and hand him fresh documents that prove the involvement of the Sudan government and Sudanese intelligence organs in (the attempt) to change the regime in Chad."

Darfur's JEM rebels at peace talks

Photo: SLM's Abdelwahed Mohamed al-Nur (L) while SLM's Minni Minnawi on right at Darfur peace talks in Abuja, Nigeria November 29, 2005. In the centre Ahmed Tugod of the JEM. (Reuters)

Majzoub Al-Khalifa

Photo: Majzoub Al-Khalifa, head of the Sudanese government's delegation (C) together with other delegates, makes a speech at the Darfur peace talks in Abuja, Nigeria, Tuesday, April 25, 2006. African Union mediators presented a draft peace agreement to warring parties in Darfur, telling the Khartoum government and rebel groups that the world was watching as a deadline for a deal by April 30 looms. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

Darfur's JEM rebel group dismisses Darfur peace talks

Excerpt from a report Apr 1 2006 Sudanese rebel group JEM dismisses peace talks and calls for Darfur's sovereignty:
The chair of Darfur rebels group JEM, Khalil Mohammed, on Wednesday dismissed Darfur peace talks as "a waste of time, energy and resources of stakeholders." He said the peace talks would not achieve any meaningful result as they were "merely going in circles."

Mohammed said that if the African Union's April deadline for peace in the region lapsed without success, "the people of Darfur will be left with no choice other than to ask for self-determination".

"If we do not get our own sovereignty, the only alternative is a forceful change of the government in Khartoum," Chairman of Darfur rebel group JEM threatened.
Darfur rebel SLM-JEM announce new alliance

Photo: Khalil Ibrahim Muhammad, President JEM rebel group - click on image for more details. Note Apr 21 2006 report: Chad expels JEM rebel leader Khalil Ibrahim after occupation of Sudanese embassy. Also, see Sep 30 2004 BBC Who are Sudan's Darfur rebels?: JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim Muhammad published The Black Book: Imbalance of Power and Wealth in the Sudan, which accuses Arabs of having a disproportionate representation at the top levels of government and administration]

Darfur, a region mired in conflict

There was no armed political movement in Darfur until Feb 2003, when a Darfur Liberation Front emerged, splitting into the SLM and JEM, Sudan Tribune article Apr 28, 2006 explains -
The JEM is said to have up to 7,000 men while the armed branch of the SLM has 16,000 fighters. The rebels claim to control all the rural areas while the Sudanese army remains confined, they say, to the main cities in the region.

In Feb 2004 the SLM joined the ranks of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), a coalition which groups part of the northern opposition to Khartoum and the southern rebels.
Further reading

Mar 3 2006 Give peace a chance - Sending UN into Darfur is no solution - Janjaweed will be very tough to stop by force alone

Mar 5 2006 All-inclusive Darfur Conference - UN force in Darfur only upon AU request - Pronk

Mar 15 2006 Warlordism on the increase - More troops in Darfur not much of a solution - Sudan's tribal: Janjaweed and major tribes have to be part of peace talks

Mar 21 2006 UN Security Council Report on Darfur: Power, Wealth Sharing Agreement; All-Inclusive Dialogue; New Ceasefire; Robust peace force with broad mandate

Mar 24 2006 Sharia row hits South Sudan peace deal - Sudan's SPLM pull out of team drafting Khartoum constitution

Mar 30 2006 Darfur-Darfur dialogue (DDDC) to be organised after signing of Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA)

Apr 10 2006 Why a more robust force in Darfur needs to be a UN force

Apr 15 2006 Don't Intervene in Darfur: Let the African Union do it

Finally, for a change, here's some wonderful news: click into Building Bridges for Peace among Tribes in Southern Sudan.