‘Any SPLM-N member can be nominated for leadership post’: El Hilu
Abdelaziz El Hilu said that his temporary appointment as chairman of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) is the result of a worsening crisis between the group and its leadership.
“The failure of the relieved leadership to convene the movement’s General Assembly on its proposed dates is one of the factors that led to the recent rift”, El Hilu said in a statement on Thursday.
The decision of the Nuba Mountains Liberation Council (NMLC) last week to relieve Chairman Malik Agar and Secretary-General Yasir Arman from their positions, and temporarily appoint him as chairman, aimed to help the leadership overcome the crisis within the movement, El Hilu said.
In his statement, El Hilu emphasises that he will work with the NMLC and its sister group, the Blue Nile Liberation Council, “to repair the cracks” in preparation for the General Assembly.
The temporary chairman said his mandate will end when the General Assembly takes place. He noted that Agar, Arman, and Ahmed El Omda have the right to participate in the General Assembly, and “to run for any position as any other member”.
The rift within the rebel movement surfaced when El Hilu resigned from his position in March. He accused Arman, the movement’s chief negotiator, of disregarding the issue of self-determination for the Nuba Mountains in the peace talks with Khartoum. Both Councils supported El Hilu’s stance, though the rift led to a split in the SPLM-N forces in Blue Nile state.
In a response on Friday, Malik Agar described the NMLC’s appointment of El Hilu as chairman of the SPLM-N as “a coup d’état based on tribal alliances”.
Agar called the decision of a regional body to dissolve the SPLM-N Leadership Council a “political, legal and constitutional paradox”. He warned this may lead to more coups in the future.
According to Agar, the decisions of the NMLC are based “on an alliance between certain tribes. “The small group that engineered this coup is a group with tribal orientations,” he stated, referring to recent clashes in Blue Nile state, between SPLM-N combatants from the Adak tribe supporting El Hilu and those from the Angassana, the tribe to which Agar belongs.
The dismissed chairman further renewed his and Arman’s willingness to renounce the leadership of the SPLM-N. “It is better for the movement to choose a temporary leadership in accordance with the seniority of the current Leadership Council, to oversee the convening of the General Assembly with the participation of real representatives from the Two Areas [South Kordofan and Blue Nile states], the states of the northern sector (Sudan), and the Diaspora,” he said.
The Sudanese government has reacted by saying that the differences of the SPLM-N increase the suffering of the people in the Two Areas and disrupt the negotiation process.
The official spokesman for the government Dr Ahmed Bilal Osman told the Sudanese Media Center last week that Khartoum is ready to resume peace negotiations with the SPLM-N after accepting an American proposal of delivering humanitarian assistances to the war-affected people.
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