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Sudan's SPLM-N Nuba branch replace Agar with El Hilu

June 8 - 2017 NUBA MOUNTAINS
Abdelaziz El Hilu
Abdelaziz El Hilu

The Nuba Mountains Liberation Council (NMLC), a regional political body of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) in South Kordofan, on Wednesday called for the removal of Malik Agar from the leadership of the group and replaced him with his deputy Abdelaziz El Hilu.

Friction within the rebel movement surfaced in March when its Deputy-Chairman Abdelaziz El Hilu resigned from his position. He accused Yasir Arman, SPLM-N Secretary-General and chief negotiator, of disregarding the issue of self-determination for the Nuba Mountains in the peace talks with Khartoum. Five days later, the NMLC announced its support for El Hilu’s stance, and relieved Arman of his positions as secretary-general and chief negotiator.

In April, Malik Agar and other representatives of the rebel movement made a request to Thabo Mbeki, head of the African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, to postpone peace negotiations until July, so the movement can deal with its internal friction.

According to Nuba Reports, Senior SPLM-N leader Kuku Gagdul briefed a rally in the rebel capital Kauda of the position taken by the regional body, outlining why they sought a change in the senior leadership. The NMLC, with support from their sister group –the Blue Nile Liberation Council (BNLC), issued a statement calling for the removal of SPLM-N Chairman Malik Agar to be replaced with his deputy, Abdelaziz El Hilu.

“We have been forgotten as widows,” said Nura Hassan at the rally, whose husband died in the conflict and urged El Hilu to take up his role to lead the rebel movement.

The NMLC announced a similar statement after the SPLM-N Deputy Chairman issued a resignation letter in late March, citing differences with the executive leadership and their handling of the peace process in particular.

The NMLC statement signed by the regional body chairman, Omer Rambawi, also prevents Agar entry to the rebel-controlled areas in South Kordofan.

In turn, according to a leaked internal memo seen by news agencies, Agar accused El Hilu of fostering internal dissent to assist him attain power. The memo also accuses El Hilu’s recent actions of influencing the internal fight within the SPLA-N ranks in Blue Nile and Maban refugee camp last month.

SPLM-N Spokesperson Arnu Ngutulu Lodi has issued a statement expressing his own personal support to the NMLC decision. “The next steps is for the new leader to lay down his plans and put some mechanisms in place to carry out the reform process,” he told Nuba Reports.

It is still unclear whether Malik Agar will accept resignation.

(Sources: RD, ST, Nuba Reports)

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