Home | News    Friday 13 April 2012

SLM rebels deny taking part in Heglig fighting, say regime change is the solution

April 13, 2012 (KHARTOUM) — The Sudan Liberation Movement led by Abdel Wahid al-Nur (SLM-AW) has called on the international community to support the efforts of a rebel coalition, Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), to overthrow Khartoum’s regime but distanced itself from the attack on Heglig by the South Sudan army.

SLM-AW Spokesperson Maj.Gen .Nimir Abdel Rahaman (ST)

The South Sudan army took the control of Heglig in South Kordofan on Tuesday 10 April accusing Sudan of carrying out aerial and ground attacks on Unity State on the other side of the border. But Khartoum denied the accusation claiming that the attack had been planned for a long time by Juba and the Sudanese rebels.

The United Nations Security Council, African Union Peace and Security Council, Arab League, European Union and many other members of the international community urged the new nation of South Sudan to deescalate tension with Sudan and withdraw its army out of Heglig.

SLM-AW calls on the international community to not summarise Sudan’s crisis by speaking only about the ongoing conflict over the border and seizure of Heglig. "They should understand that the withdrawal from Heglig will not end the conflict," said Nimir Abdel Rahman SLM-AW spokesperson.

"Regime change in Khartoum is key for peace in Sudan and regional stability," added Nimir who was speaking by telephone with the Sudan Tribune.

The SLM-AW, SLM of Minni Minnawi, and JEM have been fighting against the Sudanese government since 2003 in the western Darfur region. But since November 2011 they formed an alliance with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement- North (SPLM-N), which is based in South Kordofan and Blue Nile and decided to work together in order to topple the regime in Khartoum.

They also decided to operate militarily under one joint command and to fight simultaneously against the Sudanese army in different regions in order to disperse its troops before attacking Khartoum.

Nimir said they did not take part in the recent attack on Heglig which is a conflict between two independent states over a disputed area, according to him.

"We want to topple this regime because we believe that peace only can be achieved through this option. But South Sudan, which is an independent state, seeks its own and different interests," he pointed out.

The South Sudan says Heglig is part of its Unity State stressing it does not belong to the Sudan, despite a ruling placing the territory in South Kordofan by the Permanent Court of Arbitration on Abyei in July 2009.

The rebel official, on the other hand, reaffirmed SLM-AW participation in the SRF military operations in South Kordofan and Blue Nile besides their presence in Darfur.

Sudan’s government accuses Juba of backing the rebel groups and using them in its conflict with the Sudanese government. The official media describe them as “mercenaries”, saying they have no cause to defend but sold themselves to a foreign country.

Nimir denied that their group receive any support from the South Sudanese authorities stressing that Juba faces huge challenges as South Sudanese people have many of expectations after the independence of their state.

He also denounced statements by the head of the African Union United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) Ibrahim Gambari who reiterated his request to Juba to stop its support to the rebel groups in Darfur.

"Gambari is not longer a neutral interlocutor and he cooperates with Khartoum. The international community should remove him," he said, because he is an "obstacle for peace and stability in Darfur".

Asked about political talks with the Sudanese government to end the Darfur conflict, he said that the "time of negotiation is over". He further said peace should come through the arrest of those responsible of Darfur war crimes and their hand over to the International Criminal Court.