The Nuba Mountains Liberation Council temporarily tasked Abdelaziz El Hilu with the leadership of the SPLM-North and placed him in general command, after relieving Chairman Malik Agar and Secretary-General Yasir Arman from their posts. They are denied access to the rebel-hold areas in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
The council pushed forth its decision from Wednesday and also decided to dissolve the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) Leadership Council. In a press statement on Thursday the council stated that it held an emergency meeting on Wednesday, headed by Gadi Omar Ramboy, which then 'expressed full support to the decisions'.
Agar, Arman and Ahmed El Omda Badi were relieved and their powers delegated to former Deputy-Chairman Abdelaziz El Hilu in order to complete the national structures of the SPLM North.
Agar did not react yet to the decision of the Nuba Mountains body to dismiss him from the leadership of the rebel group.
El Hilu accepted the new position in a press statement: “Taking into consideration the leadership vacuum caused by the crisis and the rift caused by the unfortunate events in the Blue Nile region, in addition to the absence of a Manifesto and national structures.
“I hereby accept the temporary assignment to contain the crisis on the one hand, and work with the two Councils (of the Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile) to accomplish the following tasks: 1. Break the rift (the group is experiencing) 2. Complement and build the temporary national structures to prepare for the General Conference.”
The spokesman for the SPLM-N, Arnu Ngutulu Lodi welcomed the decisions of the council and said that the next phase will be the formation of the movement's institutions. However the movement's spokesman for peace talks, Mubarak Ardol released a statement in which he accused El Hilu of plotting to take power.
The rift within the rebel movement emerged when Deputy-Chairman El Hilu resigned from his position in March. He accused Yasir Arman, Secretary-General and chief negotiator, of disregarding the issue of self-determination for the Nuba Mountains in the peace talks with Khartoum. Five days later, the Nuba Mountains Liberation Council announced its support for El Hilu’s stance, and relieved Arman of his positions as secretary-general and chief negotiator.