[Dehai-WN] News24.com: Sudan rebels unite after leader killed

From: Berhane Habtemariam <Berhane.Habtemariam_at_gmx.de_at_dehai.org>
Date: Mon, 26 Dec 2011 22:20:06 +0100

Sudan rebels unite after leader killed

2011-12-26 22:05

Khartoum - Anti-Sudan government forces in a "revolutionary front" pledged
unity on Monday despite the killing of a top rebel, but an analyst dismissed
their goal of toppling the Khartoum regime.

Three rebel factions which had formed an alliance with the Darfur-based
Justice and Equality Movement said the death of JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim
will not deter them from their mission to overthrow President Omar

JEM on Sunday night announced the killing of Ibrahim, 54, saying he died in
a government air strike on his camp.

The Sudanese army said Ibrahim was wounded on Thursday evening in a clash
with government forces in Umm-Gozain, an area of North Kordofan state near
North Darfur, and died on Saturday evening.

A JEM spokesperson said he was killed early on Friday.

"We are very strong and we think that our alliance will not die," said Kadia
Shimallia of the SPLM-N rebel group in Blue Nile state in Sudan's southeast.

He vowed they will work together, "to keep on this march towards Khartoum".

Ibrahim al-Hillu, of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) faction headed by
Abdelwahid Nur, said his Darfur group will "stand by our brothers in the
Justice and Equality Movement" and abide by all agreements signed with them.

To the last bullet

"We are now joined together to fight to the last bullet to remove this
government," said Hussain Minnawi, a leader of the SLA faction led by Minni
Minnawi. "We will escalate the fighting later on."

The rebels say they are in a struggle for "democracy and civil rights"
against an Arab-dominated regime unrepresentative of the country's
political, ethnic and religious diversity.

When it confirmed Ibrahim's death, JEM also vowed to press on with its
agenda for national reform.

In July, the government signed the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur with an
alliance of rebel splinter factions, but JEM and the two SLA groups did not
join the pact.

Instead, last month they and the SPLM-N ratified documents forming the new
Sudanese Revolutionary Front dedicated to "popular uprising and armed
rebellion" against the National Congress Party government in Khartoum.

"It's just a name," said Magdi Gazouli, a fellow at the Rift Valley
Institute, a non-profit research and advocacy group.

"There are no joint operations," although the rebel groups work together
politically, Gazouli said.

"They will not be able to defeat Khartoum. That's obvious."

Instead, the objective of the allied groups is to get a better bargaining
position with the central government, he added.

Highly disciplined

Gazouli said JEM was the largest Darfur rebel group, with Ibrahim as the
"ideological and organisational engine" of a "highly disciplined" force.

"Without him it is possible that the JEM might not survive as a single unit"
and could disintegrate into smaller bandit forces posing a threat to
internal and external trade, the analyst said.

"If it fragments, it will be very difficult to negotiate with these guys."

On Saturday the official news agency SUNA reported the military was combing
the North Kordofan-North Darfur region after JEM "attacked civilians" and
targeted local leaders while looting their property in the Umm-Gozain, Goz
Abyadh and Aramal areas.

JEM announced on Thursday that its forces had advanced into North Kordofan
and were heading eastward towards Khartoum on a mission to topple Bashir's

Ibrahim's JEM was the most heavily armed group in the Darfur region,
although its recent strength remains unclear.

He was a key player in the early days of the Darfur conflict which erupted
in 2003 between non-Arab rebels and the central government.

In October, Ibrahim told AFP he had "returned to my country to fight for the
rights of the people in all regions of Sudan," after seeking refuge in Chad
and then Libya.

According to the United Nations, at least 300 000 people have been killed in
Darfur, while the Khartoum government puts the death toll at 10 000.

UN officials say 1.9 million people are internally displaced and still
living in camps in Darfur, with about 80 000 newly displaced by fighting
this year.

Six people including Bashir are being sought or are before the International
Criminal Court in The Hague for alleged crimes in Darfur.

Related Links

0111225> Sudan army kills key rebel leader - claim
* Sudan army attacks Darfur villages
0111218> Door closing on wider Darfur peace deal



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