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Sudan rebels take a stance on ruling military council

Abdulaziz al-Hilu (L), leader of the Sudan’s People’s Liberation Movement-North, and Gibril Ibrahim (R), head of the Justice and Equality (JEM) group.
Abdulaziz al-Hilu (L), leader of the Sudan’s People’s Liberation Movement-North, and Gibril Ibrahim (R), head of the Justice and Equality (JEM) group. Photo: Ashraf Shazly and Ibrahim al-Omari

A Sudanese rebel group operating in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states on Wednesday announced a three-month cessation of hostilities following the ousting of President Omar al-Bashir. The country’s new ruling military council had previously announced a nationwide ceasefire.

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“I, commander of SPLM-N announce the suspending of hostilities for three months in all areas under its control until July 31, 2019," said Abdulaziz al-Hilu, leader of the Sudan’s People’s Liberation Movement-North, according to the AFP news agency.

The SPLM-N has been fighting government forces in Blue Nile and South Kordofan for several years and thousands of people have been killed.

“A statement has been declared to create a buffer for the peaceful transformation of power from the military council in Khartoum to the civilians,” Kamal Kambal, the SPLM-N representative in UK, told RFI.

The rebel group’s leadership has not yet been in touch with the ruling military council in Khartoum, according to Kambal. “We’re still monitoring the situation to see how the military council in Khartoum will move,” he said.

Q&A: Kamal Kambal

Some rebels groups remain sceptical about the ruling military council and the previous roles certain figures have played in the country’s conflicts.

“So many people are still also suspicious about the military council in Khartoum because the man in charge of the military council has a lot of questions to answer,” said Kambal, referring to General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

Demonstrators in Khartoum have continued their sit-in protest in front of the military headquarters putting pressure on the army to transfer power to a civilian authority. It is a sentiment echoed by one of the main Darfuri rebel groups.

“They should not represent Sudan in any case, these are not the right people to be at the helm of a government that represents the people of Sudan,” Gibril Ibrahim, head of the Justice and Equality (JEM) rebel group, told RFI.

Rebel leader Ibrahim said Burhan and Mohammed Hamdan Dagolo, known as Hemedti, who leads the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, are responsible for “a lot of atrocities” in Darfur.

“Burhan is the one who killed a lot of people in Jebel Marra, burnt a lot of villages, and he’s the one that created these Rapid Support Forces of Hemidti,” said the JEM leader, speaking of a remote region of Darfur in which the government allegedly used chemical weapons.

“We have our respect for the army as an institution, but they’re putting in front the wrong persons,” said Ibrahim. “They’re all war criminals,” he added.

Ousted leader Bashir was on Wednesday transferred from his residence to the Kobar prison in Khartoum.

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