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Sudan urges mosques’ imams to call for jihad against rebels

May 10, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan’s High Committee for Mobilisation and Alert has held a meeting with mosque imams to discuss the implications of the recent attacks in South and North Kordofan states by the rebel Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) and to call for jihad (holy war).

An unidentified Islamic group leader speaks after a mass “standing prayer” in Khartoum on 3 May 2011 in honour al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was shot dead in Pakistan (Reuters)

The meeting discussed the need to reinforce the message of mosques in society and to urge worshipers to fulfil the virtue of jihad and martyrdom, as well as fighting the enemies who they say terrorised the peaceful residents at Um Rawaba, Abu Kershola, and Um Brimbita.

The spokesperson for the Popular Defence Forces (PDF), Mohamed Ahmed Haj Majid, warned against the actions of the SRF which he said aims to disrupt national unity and break up the country, calling on imams to encourage people to engage in jihad and to fight in the name of Allah.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Khartoum locality, Omer Nimir, has stressed the importance of mosques and imams in shaping public opinion, urging imams to appeal to people donate money, food and clothing for the victims of what he called the “insidious” attacks on North and South Kordofan.

On Wednesday, Sudan’s national assembly decided to suspend its sessions for a week in order to enable MPs to travel to their constituencies and lead a mobilisation campaign in support of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in its ongoing battle with rebel groups which have stepped up their military activities recently.

In a rare attack last month, SRF rebels swept through the city of Um Rawaba in North Kordofan, before withdrawing later on the same day.

In the past, fighting between the rebels and SAF has largely been limited to Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states bordering South Sudan, which seceded from Sudan in 2011.

North Kordofan, which includes Um Rawaba and forms part of Sudan’s commercial heartland, is a hub for the country’s agriculture, livestock and gum Arabic industries.

SAF now has it eyes on reclaiming Abu-Kershola district in South Kordofan which was overrun by rebels during last month’s assault.

Officials in Khartoum say that they have completely surrounded the area and pledged not to stop until they recapture Kauda which is the stronghold of the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) in South Kordofan.