SPLM-N El Hilu launches new attack in Blue Nile region and wins terrain in South Kordofan

SPLM-N combatants in South Kordofan (File photo: Kalou Kaka / Wikimedia Commons)

KURMUK / KADUGLI – July 11, 2023

Forces of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North under the leadership of Abdelaziz El Hilu (SPLM-N El Hilu) launched a new attack on Kurmuk in the Blue Nile region yesterday and gained control over several army garrisons in South Kordofan on Sunday. They also closed the road between Karkal and Kadugli, the state’s capital, for unknown reasons.

The rebel forces attacked the area of Kurmuk in the Blue Nile region again at dawn yesterday. Clashes continued throughout the day, sources reported.

The army and SPLM-N El Hilu have been fighting on and off in the Blue Nile region for weeks.

SPLM-N El Hilu fighters also carried out a number of attacks on military garrisons in Jubeiha and Rashad in the eastern part of South Kordofan on Sunday morning.

Sources told Radio Dabanga that the rebel forces won control over the garrisons and the army soldiers fled.

In the past weeks, the rebel movement managed to win terrain and take control of other army bases in South Kordofan. The rebels also control a number of agricultural projects in the area, according to local witnesses.

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir said last week that he persuaded Abdelaziz El Hilu to stop fighting the Sudanese army in South Kordofan and Blue Nile region.

South Kordofani activists and volunteers are systematically targeted and detained by Military Intelligence, because of their alleged affiliation with the the SPLM-N El Hilu.

Road closure

An SPLM-N El Hilu force reportedly closed the road linking Karkal with Kadugli, the capital of South Kordofan, on Sunday.

It is not yet known why the road has been closed, or why the force stationed on the road allows the entry of people heading to Kadugli while blocking those who want to leave the city.

The movement of goods has also been obstructed by the roadblock.

The tensions between the army and the rebel movement have led to restrictions on traffic between villages and towns in the Nuba Mountains.

State authorities re-implemented measures preventing goods being transported to areas controlled by the SPLM-N.

Sources in Delling warned that this will lead to an exacerbation of the humanitarian situation in the area.

Two factions

The SPLM-N split into two factions in early 2017, when the then-Deputy Chair Abdelaziz El Hilu submitted his resignation because of “irreconcilable differences” with Chairman Malik Agar.

The SPLM-N El Hilu, based in Kauda, continued with most of the SPLM-N combatants in South Kordofan and Blue Nile region, whilst the faction led by Agar (SPLM-N Agar) retained influence over parts of the Blue Nile region.

The two factions fought heavy battles after the split.