Sudan - SPLM-N interview

Beshir risks new Sudan civil war, says SPLM-N chief

Isam Al-Haj/ AFP

Sudanese President Omar Al-Beshir could start a new civil war in Sudan, says Yasser Arman, the secretary general of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement’s northern branch (SPLM-N). In an exclusive interview he told RFI that anti-Beshir groups in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile are close to forming an alliance.


“It’s high-time for Beshir to be removed. Beshir is worse than [former Egyptian president] Hosni Mubarak, worse than [deposed Libyan leader Moamer] Kadhafi. At least Hosni Mubarak did not divide Egypt and Beshir if he continues, he’s going to, again, divide the present north Sudan,” says Arman.

Yasir Arman, Secretary General, SPLM-N

Arman was in Paris on Tuesday discussing the unrest in South Kordofan and Blue Nile with French diplomats. After an earlier visit to London, he says his group is lobbying the United Nations Security Council for a no-fly zone stretching from Darfur, across South Kordofan, to Blue Nile in the east.

"We are expecting from them, first of all, to give the most attention to the humanitarian situation. There are more than 300,000 displaced civilians,” Arman says. It is also necessary to set up an independent committee to investigate human rights violations, he adds, including mass graves and war crimes.

The unrest in South Kordofan began in June shortly before southern independence, and spread to Blue Nile in early September. SPLM-N MPs said in a statement last month that in South Kordofan alone more than 2,000 people have been killed.

As well as calling for humanitarian assistance in a struggle Arman describes as the “new south in the north”, he goes further to warn that Beshir’s actions will encourage the call for independence from other parts of Sudan.

Arman believes an agreement unifying all those fighting Beshir is close. When asked about the relationship between the SPLM-N and groups in Darfur he claims they are in the process of finalising an alliance between them and what he calls the “Sudanese resistance movement in Darfur”.

“We’ve already initiated and started this process and we are going to finish by having a joint political and military structure, and a UN military command. We will reach out also to the other Sudanese political forces,” he adds.

Dossier: Independence for South Sudan

This so-called “umbrella” movement would have the momentum to remove Beshir, he says. It would signal an “era of democracy” and stop them from having to defend their people against what the SPLM-N chief dubs “atrocities”.

Arman denies that aligning the SPLM-N with Darfuri groups could plunge Sudan and South Sudan into war, asserting it has nothing to do with the South.

“We are part of the historical leadership of the SPLM and membership of the SPLM, but now there are new realities,” he says.

South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir is to visit Khartoum this week, but Arman insists Kiir is not going as a representative the SPLM-N.

“Salva is not going as a chairman of the SPLM in the north and the south, he’s going as the president of the republic of South Sudan,” he says.

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