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Rare criticism of Sudan’s security agency from parliament

May 12, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – Sudan’s National Assembly speaker Ahmed Ibrahim Al-Tahir has issued a warning to the rebel Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) saying that its leaders will face death at the hands of the army so long as they are waging war against Khartoum.

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Sudan’s parliament speaker Ahmed Ibrahim Al-Tahir (center) - Reuters

The speaker’s remarks came a day after the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) announced that SRF’s chief of staff Abdel Aziz Al-Hilu is alive despite previous assertions from a top lawmaker and other Sudanese officials that he was killed during the recent offensive in South Kordofan.

"If Abdel Aziz Al-Hilu was not killed today, he will be killed tomorrow and [SPLM-N Secretary General] Yasser Arman and [SPLM-N chairman] Malik Agar would face the same fate” al-Tahir said.

The speaker said that claims made by several government officials on killing of Al-Hilu were not completely without credibility explaining that Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) have identified and hit a convoy of vehicles which they thought Al-Hilu was in.

Mohamed al-Hassan al-Amin, the head of the parliamentary subcommittee on security and defense, made statements this week claiming that al-Hilu died after sustaining injuries and was buried in the city of Wau in South Sudan.

Al-Amin defended his statements saying that he was merely echoing news reported by the army and the NISS stressing that a rocket strike killed a number of SRF rebels and it was thought that al-Hilu was among them.

He further criticised NISS’s statement dismissing news on al-Hilu’s demise saying: “It is not in the interest of the security apparatus to announce that Al-Hilu is alive even if he is so”.

Al-Amin also said the NISS should not have rushed to publicly accuse Juba of backing the rebels in its recent assault suggesting it was not a politically savvy move.

He referenced Gaddafi’s support of Darfur rebels in the past which Khartoum was aware of but never spoke of it in public.

An editor with a Khartoum-based independent daily told Sudan Tribune that NISS barred them from publishing al-Amin’s criticism.

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

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

SAF now has its 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.