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Darfur rebel leader Minni Minawi opposed to UNAMID withdrawal

December 24 - 2020 KHARTOUM
SLM-MM leader Minni Minawi at a UNAMID-IGAD conference in 2013 (UNAMID)
SLM-MM leader Minni Minawi at a UNAMID-IGAD conference in 2013 (UNAMID)

Minni Minawi, head of the split-off Sudan Liberation Movement faction SLM-MM and signatory to the Juba Peace Agreement, said at a press conference in Khartoum yesterday that he is opposed to the withdrawal of the UNAMID peacekeeping mission.

At a press conference, held together with Omar El Degeir, chairman of the Sudanese Congress Party (SCP) and leading member of the Forces for Freedom and Change, Minni Minawi stated that the Sudanese forces, consisting of the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), cannot replace UNAMID.

“UNAMID not only protected civilians, but also played social, economic, and logistical roles,” he said. “Large numbers of Sudanese people have benefited from the mission's activities.”

El Degeir said that the decision to terminate the UNAMID mission was taken after wide consultations. “Security in Darfur is one of the issues that needs more discussion within the transitional government.” The SCP leader emphasised the need to reform and restructure state institutions, especially the military and security apparatus.

Memorandum of Understanding

Minawi and Degeir also announced that they signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Wednesday, “to unify visions regarding the issues of the transitional period and the completion of the peace process”.

Minawi pointed at the importance of “building a relationship to develop a national political programme, apply transitional justice, define citizenship as the basic identity for all Sudanese instead of ethnic profiling, reform all state bodies, and strive to end internal disputes”.

El Degeir said that the MoU aims to unify visions regarding issues of the transitional period, and aims to end discord between various groups. He accused affiliates of the former regime of attempting to push the revolution backwards.

Hamidiya camp

El Shafee Abdallah, coordinator at Hamidiya camp for displaced people in Zalingei, capital of Central Darfur, told Radio Dabanga that the displaced are “very disappointed” about the decision to withdraw the peacekeeping mission. He warned of the dire consequences of the UNAMID withdrawal, expecting “deteriorating security and humanitarian conditions, more proliferation of weapons and an increase in violent incidents”.

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