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Sudan Tribune

Plural news and views on Sudan

Darfur rebel veteran joins Justice and Equality Movement

April 2, 2009 (LONDON) — A Darfur rebel veteran has joined the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) after six years of opposition among the ranks of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM).

Suleiman speaking during a SLM-Unity meeting with the former AU-UN peace envoys on  Dec 6, 2007
Suleiman speaking during a SLM-Unity meeting with the former AU-UN peace envoys on Dec 6, 2007
Suleiman Jamous, 64-year, has joined JEM with some 28 commanders from the SLM – Unity led by Abdellah Yahia. He was the humanitarian affairs secretary in the unified SLM since 2003 and contributed with the UN officials to implement the most important relief operation in the world in Darfur.

Ahmed Hussein Adam, JEM official spokesperson hailed the merger of the rebel figure saying it represents a turning point in the struggle of Darfur people for justice and peace. “Jamous’s move is a strong message and ardent call for the unity of Darfur movements and we welcome him as a leader and a father for the revolution. Also we appeal to the others to follow his example.”

Adam stressed that Jamous’s merger is not a victory for JEM but it is a “tremendous step towards the unification of Darfuri” adding that unity is a crucial factor to “ensure our rights.”

Following the splinter of Minni Minawi in November 2005, Jamous followed him but was working to reunite the SLM. However, he had been imprisoned by Minawi immediately after the signing of Darfur Peace Agreement in May 2006.

The former UN special envoy to Sudan, Jan Pronk had obtained his release on 22 June 2006 and transported him to Kadugli, South Kordofan, in a UNMIS hospital for medical treatment; but also to protect him from Minnawi.

Jamous remained confined in this hospital and was released in September 2007 after an international campaign in his favor.

Before Sirte aborted round of peace talks in November 2007, Jamous encouraged the SLM-Unity to engage discussion with JEM to reunite the two groups. Despite the failure of unity talks, the two groups adopted a position to boycott the Libyan sponsored peace talks at the time.

Observers speculated that power struggle in the SLM-Unity and the recent Libyan initiative to reunite the SLM-Unity with some other factions could motivate his decision.

On March 15, the SLM-Unity four other groups agreed in Tripoli, Libya, to take part in Doha peace process with one delegation. The signatories of the common ground agreement are: the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) – Unity, SLM led by Khamis Abdallah Abakr, the United Resistance Front (URF), the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) Idris Azraq faction, and the SLM- Juba faction.

Ahmed Hussein Adam told Sudan Tribune that there are now more than 11 groups who joined recently JEM from different political and ethnic forces. He also added that his movement is discussing with other groups in order to ensure the unity of Darfur armed opposition.

JEM signed last February a goodwill agreement with the Sudanese government before to start peace negotiations. However, the movement suspended its participation after the expulsion of 13 aid groups from Darfur.