SPLM-N Agar and Sudan Blue Nile govt defend breaking up anti-war vigil and reject ‘neutrality’

Malik Agar, Deputy Chairman of Sudan's Sovereignty Council (File photo: SUNA)

The government of the Blue Nile region and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North led by Malik Agar (SPLM-N Agar) regretted that a women’s protest against the war was organised in the regional capital Ed Damazin last week. The rebel movement said that the war was imposed upon Sudan by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and that the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) should be supported in their fight against the RSF.

The security authorities broke up the vigil by the Sudan Mothers Initiative (SMI) in Ed Damazin last week and detained seven participants and a photographer. Many organisations condemned the abuse by the authorities.

Fatah El Nour El Bashir, head of the Supreme Council for Culture and Information and the official spokesman for the Blue Nile region government, defended the authorities’ reaction and expressed his surprise at the fact that a protest was organised to reject the war, rather than to support the SAF.

He accused the RSF of committing widespread violations and said that the vigil was dealt with in accordance with the emergency law.

Organising a vigil under the state of emergency “raised questions” and it was considered “a denial of the army’s sacrifices and a lack of respect for the law”, El Bashir said.

The regional government renewed its full support for the SAF and affirmed its respect for freedom of expression whilst, at the same time, stressing that there will be no complacency in imposing and applying laws.

Army-supporting politicians and army personnel have previously criticised government officials and politicians who declared ‘neutrality’ during the conflict.

Agar has been a supporter of the military and the 2021 military coup in recent times and publically called on all Sudanese to rally behind the military. He was appointed vice president of Sudan’s Transitional Sovereignty Council by SAF Commander-in-Chief Abdelfattah El Burhan after RSF Commander-in-Chief Mohamed ‘Hemedti’ Dagalo was sacked as fighting erupted between the two.

In a meeting with the leadership of the Women Against War initiative in August, Agar emphasised the importance of supporting the Sudanese army and argued that adopting a neutral stance would not serve Sudan’s agenda.

Last year, the SPLM-N Agar split and the SPLM-N Democratic Revolutionary Movement (SPLM-N DRM or just DRM) was called into life by elements of the SPLM-N opposed to the October 25, 2021, military coup and in support of the subsequent pro-democracy protests.

Then-Deputy Chairman Yasir Armab and Agar agreed to “separate amicably”, citing different views on the coup.

The SPLM-N Agar has its stronghold in the Blue Nile region.