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Nuba Mountains rebels demand self-determination

SPLA-N female officer speaks during a meeting with the SPLM-N leadership (unseen) in the Nuba Mountains (ST photo)
October 9, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The Nuba Mountains body of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North led by Abdel Aziz al-Hilu (SPLM-North al-Hilu) demands self-determination for the war-torn, southern area of the country.

The SPLM-N Nuba Mountains held an extraordinary conference in the rebel-controlled area of Heiban in South Kordofan from 4 to 7 October 2017, ahead of the Extraordinary General Conference after a rift that broke it into two groups last June.

The three-day meeting was attended by 475 delegates representing all the districts of the Nuba Mountains. It was addressed by the leader of the group Abdelaziz al-Hilu in the presence of his deputy Jacod Mekouar and SPLA-N Chief of Staff Izat Koko Angelo.

"After extensive deliberations and discussions, the participants passed the Crucial Issues Document. including The right of self-determination for the people of the Nuba Mountains/ South Kordofan, and then the conference endorsed the organizational performance report," said a statement released on Monday.

Also, the extraordinary meeting elected 110 members to the Nuba Mountains Liberation Council (NMLC) and designated 122 members as delegates to the Extraordinary General Conference.

Initially, the general conference had been scheduled to start on 6 October. But it was delayed due to the difficulties faced by the delegates to reach the landlocked area, and also because of some organizational matters related to the representation of the different areas outside the Nuba Mountains.

Sudanese opposition groups were not able to travel to the venue of the meeting after the rejection of the South Sudanese embassy in Khartoum to grant them as a visa to South Sudan from where they can reach the rebel-held area.

It is not clear if the general conference will follow the conclusions of the Nuba Mountains body or decline to endorse the demand for self-determination.

Last April, the NMLC decided to suspend peace talks and sacked the SPLM-N Secretary-General and Chief Negotiator, Yasir Arman, because he had refused to include the self-determination in the position paper of the rebel group during the peace negotiations with the government.