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SLM-SR condemns ongoing Jebel Marra attacks

February 4 - 2016 JEBEL MARRA / KHARTOUM
A small village near Golo in Jebel Marra, burning in the distance after an attack by Sudanese government forces, 2 March, 2015 (file photo)
A small village near Golo in Jebel Marra, burning in the distance after an attack by Sudanese government forces, 2 March, 2015 (file photo)

Aerial bombardments on Darfur’s Jebel Marra have not stopped since the beginning of the government offensive on rebel strongholds in the area on 15 January. The Sudan Liberation Movement-Second Revolution (SLM-SR) that joined the National Dialogue in January strongly condemns the attacks.

Today, an Antonov of the Sudanese Air Force dropped a number of barrel bombs on the area north of Nierteti in the western part of Jebel Marra.

“We all heard the Antonov flying above us in the early morning and saw it moving north, towards Golo, Kalo, and Saga,” a resident of Nierteti told Radio Dabanga. “Not much later we heard the first explosions and saw smoke rising in the northeast.”

National Dialogue

The SLM-SR, led by Abulgasim Imam El Haj, strongly condemned “the hostilities and the gross violations against civilians” in Jebel Marra.

“The attacks are inconsistent with the National Dialogue deliberations we joined in January,” Abdelatif Abdallah Ismail, the movement’s deputy head told Radio Dabanga.

“The government forces started the fighting; not the rebel fighters in Jebel Marra,” he said. “It looks as if the government is moving in the direction of war again. However, the people’s cases cannot be solved by war. We agreed to come to Khartoum because we chose the option of dialogue, to contribute to the restoration of a country based on citizenship, public freedoms, and democracy.”

Number of displaced

In response to the government announcements that the military offensive on Jebel Marra did not displace more than 200 families, Ismail said that according to SLM-SR members on the ground, thousands of people in the area have fled their homes.

He also denounced the authorities’ obstruction of aid organisations accessing the newly displaced. “This will lead to a slow death for the villagers hiding high up in the mountain,” he said, and called on the government “to abide by international treaties on human rights, and allow the relief organisations to start their aid operations to save the lives of thousands of people”.

Second Revolution

In May 2014, a group of commanders of the mainstream SLM, founded and led by Abdelwahid El Nur (SLM-AW) formally left the movement after more than a year of disagreements. They formed the SLM-SR a month later.

SLM-SR leader El Haj told Radio Dabanga at the time that the decision to leave the SLM-AW was taken after many crises within the movement. “The reformist SLM-SR was formed to provide a new vision, and alternative responses to the crises in Sudan, and to upgrade the political and intellectual performance of the rebel movement.”

El Nur commented at the time saying that he hoped that “the Second Revolution will not cooperate with the ruling regime”.

Early January, Radio Dabanga reported that the SLM-SR, the Sudan Liberation Movement for Justice led by El Taher Hajar, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North breakaway faction headed by Breima Hamdan, and the New Justice and Equality Movement led by Mansour Arbab, joined the National Dialogue.

President Al Bashir extended the National Dialogue on 31 December last year for one month, until the 10th of February, “which can allow more dialogue holdouts to join in”.

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