Two small armed factions of West Darfur agreed to unite as the “Reform and Liberation Movement.” The deal was forged in the government capital of El Geneina. The first group, SLA-FREES, is a breakaway faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdel Wahed Al Nur. It announced yesterday its merger with the Justice and Reform Movement (JRM), a breakaway faction of the Justice and Equality Movement.The majority of the members of these factions originate in the Jebel Moon area of western Darfur. The vice governor of West Darfur, Abu Al Gasim, pledged that the government will provide services in the area of Jebel Moon, and he revealed that state government of West Darfur has formed a new committee to begin direct negotiations with the new movement.
SLA-FREES emerged in February from SLA-Abdel Wahid elements that controlled the southern part of Jebel Moon. The fighters lost control of that area and retreated to Silea and El Geneina, where they allied with the government. They returned after security forces drove out JEM in April, according to the Small Arms Survey, a research project backed by an institute in Geneva, Switzerland. On the other hand, JRM consists mainly of fighters of the Missiriya Jebel tribe which inhabits Jebel Moon. They were loyal to JEM until JEM withdrew its forces from Jebel Moon, leaving the Missiriya Jebel homeland undefended.