Fight mars Darfur inauguration ceremony
The Darfur Regional Authority's (DRA) inauguration ceremony of Phase Two of the Darfur development projects in the El Salam Rotana Hotel in Khartoum on Wednesday was marred when a fight broke out between delegates.
The conflict became so heated that the police had to intervene. They broke off the ceremony, which was attended by a host of Sudanese officials and foreign diplomats.
The Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM), formed in 2010 by 19 breakaway factions of the main Darfur rebel movements under the leadership of El Tijani Sese signed the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) in 2011 with the Sudanese government. Sese became head of the DRA in 2012. Yet, simmering conflicts about the delayed implementation of the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) programme seem to have divided the movement.
At the end of last year, conflicts within the LJM, headed by Sese, surfaced. In January, Abu Garda, then LJM’s secretary-general accused Sese of deploying fighters of his personal militia into the DDR programme, instead of LJM ex-combatants. Others accused Sese of fraud.
The disputes led to the ouster of Sese as chairman of the movement by the LJM Interim Board on 18 January. Abu Garda was elected chairman instead and Sese established the National Liberation and Justice Movement (NLJM) not much later.
Ahmed Fadul, the spokesman for the NLJM strongly condemned what happened during the inauguaration ceremony. He explained to Radio Dabanga that a group of NLJM members was recently expelled because of conflicts within the movement’s Political Bureau. “We received information that they intended to disturb the ceremony, together with members of the LJM led by Abu Garda.
“When the celebration commenced, they stormed the podium and demanded to read a statement. When this was refused, they began to riot and attacked DRA Council Affairs Minister Mohamed Yousef El Tilib. The police quickly intervened and contained the situation.”
He added that “such an incident is unheard of in the Sudanese society, let alone the Darfuri community”.
LJM spokesman Sharfeldin Mahmoud told Radio Dabanga that the movement led by Abu Garda opposes NLJM’s way of working concerning Phase Two of the Darfur development projects.
“In particular we disagree with the way the tenders of companies that will implement the DRA development projects are handled, and we wanted to announce this at the ceremony. Yet, we were barred by security guards in a rough manner.”
According to the LJM, there is a systematic flaw in the DRA’s setting of priorities. “The DRA, led by members of the NLJM, continuously overlook the most important aspects of the Darfur problem, which are the rampant criminality and the situation of the displaced and refugees in the camps. The DRA just leaped to organise the construction of fake development projects in Darfur.”
The breakaway faction of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM-Sudan) that signed the DDPD in 2013 did not attend the ceremony.
JEM-Sudan spokesman Ahmed Adam Abdelmajeed explained to Radio Dabanga that his movement objects the developments projects in Darfur in the current situation. “That is why we refused to attend.”
He pointed to “systematic and strategic flaws in the DRA policies. It looks like Sese just wants to implement projects regardless of the insecure situation.”
Darfur Follow-up Office
Dr Amin Hassan Omar, the head of the governmental Darfur Follow-up Office, called the incident at the launch “uncivilized and unbecoming of anyone who claims to be working for the benefit of the Darfuri people.
“If they disagree with the way of working of the DRA, they should have filed an administrative complaint,” he said.
Omar added that the incident will not stop the selection of companies that will implement the development projects.
Below a video recording of a part of the incident at the El Salam Rotana Hotel in Khartoum on 26 August.
Back to overview