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Leaders of Sudanese armed groups return to Khartoum

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Leaders of armed groups and Hemetti greet the crowd in Khartoum on 15 Nov 2020 (ST photo)November 15, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - The leaders of the armed groups that signed the Juba peace agreement for peace in Sudan returned to Khartoum on Sunday, amid official and popular celebrations.

Two planes landed in the Sudanese capital on Sunday morning, the first carrying the leaders of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) including al-Hadi Idris, Malik Agar, Gibril Ibrahim, Osama Saeed and others.

While Minni Minnawi of the Sudan Liberation Movement and Eltom Hajo of the SRF Unionist Party arrived in another plane. as they formed a splinter faction of the rebel umbrella.

After their arrival, the leaders of the armed groups met with Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, who hailed their return to the country say it was "the first step "to end the suffering of those in the displacement camps."

Hamdok who received them at his office stressed that the peace agreement addressed the issues of building the Sudanese state, unbalanced development and marginalization.

In the popular celebration held at the Freedom Square in Khartoum, some Darfuri youth sought to interrupt the speech of Ibrahim al-Sheikh, who spoke on behalf of the Central Council of the ruling coalition, the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC).

However, the Deputy Head of the Sovereign Council, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo Hemetti vigorously defended al-Sheikh saying he is part of the FFC "moderate faction" and warned against "unfair judgments" on others.

The incident confirmed latent tension among some armed groups and the FFC forces.

The Sudanese Communist Party, which recently withdrew from the FFC, criticized the peace agreement concluded in Juba, pointing to the power-sharing process. Also, the National Umma Party sowed reservations over the peace deal.

The SRF chairman, Hadi Idris, said that the agreement concluded between the government and the SRF brings peace for all the people of Sudan, because it addressed historical issues, especially in the regions affected by the war.

Idris pointed out that the peace agreement "establishes a new state and a new social contract," pledging to work in the transitional government to implement it.

He further called for "imposing the authority the state and preventing the security break-ups that occurred during the past days, urging on all armed groups to stop using weapons."

Supporters of the Sudan Liberation Movement-Abdel-Wahid al-Nur attacked a public meeting in a Khartoum suburb held by the SLM Transitional Council that Idris chairs. Following what the group’s spokesman denounced the security forces tasked with the protection of the meeting and warned that they have the needed weapons to protect themselves.

For his part, Minnawi reminded the government the need to bring the war criminals to justice, develop the areas affected by the conflict and to pay compensations for the victims of war.

He said they came to Khartoum "to work with the Transitional Government as a joint team to implement the peace agreement and to end injustice and marginalization in all regions of Sudan."

Minnawi who used to criticize the FFC groups broke away from the SRF and formed another SRF with Eltom Hajo who leads a faction of the Democratic Unionist Party and Alamin Daoud who chairs a faction of the United Popular Front of eastern Sudan.

Malik Agar, the chairman of the SPLM-N, Gibril Ibrahim of the Justice and Equality Movement and the other leaders did not speak at the rally because the crowds were under the sun for a long time awaiting the start of the event.

President Salva Kiir and President Idris Deby did not attend the popular celebration in Khartoum. The same for the head of the Sovereign Council and the prime minister. Only, the government’s presence was limited to the negotiating delegation from the transitional authority.

(ST)

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