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Sudan’s rebels doubt Al Bashir’s motives for amnesty

September 23 - 2015 ADDIS ABABA / PARIS
Meeting of international special envoys with the leaders of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) in Paris, 9 September 2015 (Sudan Tribune)
Meeting of international special envoys with the leaders of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) in Paris, 9 September 2015 (Sudan Tribune)

The Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebel alliance has expressed its doubts about the motives behind the amnesty for members of Sudanese rebel movements who will participate in the national dialogue and a two-months ceasefire, announced by President Omar Al Bashir on Tuesday, “to create a conducive climate for the dialogue”.

Malik Agar, the president of the SRF, reacted by saying that Al Bashir’s decision was motivated by the internal and external political situation, not by the need to establish peace and stability in the country. In an interview with Radio Dabanga, to be broadcast on Wednesday evening, he called the declaration of a general amnesty “sheer propaganda”.

Agar welcomed the two-month ceasefire. He however said that its implementation requires negotiations between the warring parties, headed by a neutral body, about the cessation of hostilities and the implementation mechanisms. He repeated the SRF stance that Al Bashir’s insistence on holding the national dialogue in the country and leading the dialogue personally is unacceptable to the armed opposition.

The head of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and SRF co-vice president Dr Jibril Ibrahim said that the two-month ceasefire is supposed to be implemented during the end of the rainy season “during which the fighting always slows down to almost nil”.

No one to pardon’

The JEM leader agreed with Agar on the propaganda purposes of the ceasefire announcement, “intended to address the external world only”. Regarding the declared amnesty, Ibrahim told Radio Dabanga in an interview to be broadcast tomorrow that it is impossible to put it into practice, “as one has to arrive first at Khartoum before receiving the amnesty.

“Furthermore, Al Bashir set the condition that anyone who has committed a criminal offence will not be granted amnesty. Yet the regime considers any political speech against him or his party a crime. Most of the opposition leaders have spent some time in prison. Thus there will be no one left to pardon.”

“We do not need a ceasefire for the sake of a ceasefire”.

Minni Arko Minawi, head of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-MM) and SRF co-vice president, said that a ceasefire requires agreement between two parties rather than announcing it unilaterally to the media.

He pointed to the SRF road map for peace in Sudan in which the allied rebel movements propose a six-month cessation of hostilities for humanitarian purposes and to create a conducive climate for peace negotiations. “We do not need a ceasefire for the sake of a ceasefire”.

Disarm the Janjaweed first’

Abdelwahid El Nur, leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-AW) and SRF co-vice president stated Sudan does not need new declarations or ceremonies. “Khartoum should instead implement the UN Security Council resolutions and disarm the Janjaweed militias, including Al Bashir himself.

“Omar Al Bashir, who has committed crimes against the Sudanese and ordered acts of ethnic cleansing and genocide in all parts of the country, and who is wanted by the International Criminal Court, is the one who needs to be pardoned by the people.”

El Nur repeated the SLM-AW’s refusal to negotiate with the government in Khartoum, and called for a popular uprising instead.


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