Home | News    Sunday 25 December 2011

Darfur rebel leader Khalil Ibrahim killed "en route to South Sudan"


December 25, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – The leader of the Darfur rebel group Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), Khalil Ibrahim, has been killed as he was leading his forces on the way to the Republic of South Sudan, according to the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF).

Khalil Ibrahim with some members of his group (file/Reuters) of his

Ibrahim’s death at the age of 53 was confirmed to Sudan Tribune by a number of well-placed sources. Whereas the sources failed to specify the manner or location of his death, JEM was expected to issue a statement in the coming hours confirming the death of its leader.

News of his death, which was announced at a late hour on Saturday by SAF’s official spokesman Al-Sawarmi Saad, came in the heels of reports that he was injured in clashes between SAF and his forces in North Kordofan State.

JEM’s forces launched in the last two days a string of attacks on remote areas largely devoid of regular forces along the borders between north Darfur state and north Kordofan state.

According to North Darfur’s governor Osman Kibir, JEM’s forces led by Khalil himself attacked around 20 villages in these areas and carried out extensive pillaging and killing of citizens.

Similarly, North Darfur’s governor Mu’tasim Mirghani told Sudan national TV that Khalil’s forces attacked Arman area, the epicenter of gold-mining activities, and destroyed telecommunication towers. He added that the paramilitary Popular Defense Forces repulsed the assailants and managed to destroy four vehicles.

Gibreel Adam Bilal, JEM’s spokesman, told Sudan Tribune earlier on Thursday that their forces had arrived in north Kordofan state and were on their way to the capital Khartoum in a bid to topple the government. However, he denied allegations of killing civilians.

JEM’s claim of marching on Khartoum called to memory the daring attack they staged on May 11, 2008 on the Sudanese capital.

In a statement carried out on Sunday by SUNA, Sudan’s official news agency, SAF announced that its forces had managed in a "heroic operation" to kill Khalil and a number of his comrades after intensive reconnaissance that led to besieging him and his forces in Wad Banda locality in North Kordofan.

The statement alleged that Khalil and his group were heading towards South Sudan in order to reorganize their troops.

The Sudanese government has long accused the government of South Sudan of supporting and providing sanctuary to Darfur rebel groups. South Sudan, which seceded from Sudan in July, denies the charge.

Speaking on Sunday morning to the subtly pro-government Al-Shorog channel, SAF’s spokesman said that they were “100 percent certain” that Khalil Ibrahim was killed. He further said that their forces were still hunting the fleeing forces of JEM.

Ibrahim’s death, which represents a major blow to the rebel group he founded and led since 2003, came less than five month since he returned to Darfur from Libya where was living in exile from May 2010.

He was forced to stay in Libya after his group boycotted peace talks with the Sudanese government in Doha and his erstwhile ally, Chadian President Idris Deby, turned his back on him following a thaw in long-strained ties between Khartoum and Ndjamena.

Following his return, JEM in late November forged an alliance dubbed the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) with two factions of the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) mainly operating in Darfur, plus the Sudan people’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) which is fighting in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan. The allied groups vowed to topple the government of president Al-Bashir.

Ibrahim belongs to Al-Zagawa ethnic group, and was a former member of the ruling National Islamic Front (NIF) before he decided to side with the ousted NIF’s leader Hassan Al-Turabi in the 1999 internal power struggle that pitted him against president Al-Bashir and his ex-acolytes in the NIF.

Ibrahim’s group has often been linked to Al-Turabi and the Islamic ideology, but this alleged link was neither admitted by JEM nor by Al-Turabi’s Popular Congress Party.

Under Ibrahim’s leadership, JEM was regarded as the most organized and heavily armed Darfur rebel group.

Darfur conflict erupted in 2003 after ethnic rebel groups accused the government of marginalizing the region. According to UN estimates, 300,000 people died and 2.7 million lost their home as a result of the conflict.


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Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.
  • 25 December 2011 12:03, by Mi diit

    South Sudan killed their leading rebel leader, George Athor Deng while North Sudan also killed their leading rebel leader this week, Ibrahim Khalil. What is next for the coming year 2012?

    • 25 December 2011 12:19, by DOOR

      "I could see peace in Southsudan and Sudan paying her overdue bills of diplomacy".You wouldn’t have choose this pass had you been forewarned that stubbornnes pays dearly".

    • 25 December 2011 13:24, by mon-mandhal

      Dr. Khalil has gone,but his vision remained with comardes in movement,so i want to asure whoever celebrating this unfornate death of great worry to shortup! and wait for criminal Bashir who is the killer of people of Darfur. The region has lost the great man, but his blood will bring an end to this unwanted gov,t.may God rest him in peace Ameen !

    • 25 December 2011 14:32, by Kawaja Mikis

      What ICC doing with Bashir, the next is Bashir.

    • 25 December 2011 17:54, by SSLA/M Supporter

      This culture of homicides of rebel leaders newly introduced to Sudan by SPLA/M thug that has already murdered two of its rebel leaders, must be quitted as it won’t take our countries anywhere! let us stick to our Sudanese culture of peaceful settlements to conflicts! No one has the monoploy for killing! Anyone kills, it’s a dangerous business, we must stop it otherwise we will mourn a lot deaths!

      • 25 December 2011 17:56, by SSLA/M Supporter

        I meant to say we will mourn a lot of deaths!

    • 26 December 2011 18:15, by Abraham Ayom

      The death of Khalil Ibrahim will bring unity among the darfur rebels groups and they will become stronger than before.

  • 25 December 2011 12:38, by Daniel Buolmawei

    I wouldn’t think of any coward president then President Idris of Chad. How could this man turn his back to the people of Darfur? People of Darfur will be his closed allied then those crooks in Khartoum he now fell slave to them. That why I say do not let African presidents stay in power for long time because all about them is to save their powers then serving the interests of their people.

  • 25 December 2011 12:43, by Daniel Buolmawei

    It is not in the interest of Chad people to turn their backs to their brothers and sisters in Darfur. This is the cowardic interest of a man who want to stay in power and nothing else. I wish people of Darfur become independent country and will discipline Chad by invading it and annexing it to Darfur.

    • 26 December 2011 00:44, by Sam.Eto

      Danial you are nuts, crazy , loco !
      I hope most Southern Sudanese dont think like you with a heart full of hatred. Darfur, Blue-Nile and Kordofan are part of Sudan. You have your own country now - why dont you mind your own business & go help your starving population and change your corrupt government. 6 months after independence and your still mongering hate for Sudan. A heart full of hate die

    • 26 December 2011 00:50, by Sam.Eto

      Here let me boil your heart even more !


      Jem statement said Mr Ibrahim had died when missiles from an unidentified aircraft, "which were aimed with unusual accuracy for a fighter jet from the regime’s army"

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