NCP aims for separate talks with Blue Nile rebels
Blue Nile Governor Hussein Yassin Hamad has claimed that peace negotiations scheduled in Addis Ababa will deal only with rebel fighters from Blue Nile, including the former governor Malik Agar.
If true, the talks would then either exclude or deal separately with the rebels in the Nuba Mountains, who are fighting under the same name, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement.
The United Nations Security Council had called for negotiations between the Sudan government and SPLM-North, which is the united front of Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains rebels.
Hamad noted in an interview with Sudan’s al-Sahafa Newspaper that the negotiation will be confined only to the Blue Nile protocol of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005, in addition to the popular consultation. He stated that 90% of arrangements for the peace talks have been completed.
He affirmed that peace is attainable in accordance with the recent presidential general amnesty decree, which effectively would help restore SPLM-N to the status of a legal party.
The new governor was speaking after a meeting in Khartoum of the National Congress Party’s state secretariat for Blue Nile organized by the party’s national section for organizational communication.
With talks about to get underway, however, the Sudan government is still holding SPLM party figures in several prisons in spite of the amnesty order. A detainee at the Sennar State Prison told Radio Tamazuj yesterday that many have been held for a year and a half without charges.
“Why we are treated like this when we are sons and daughters of the Blue Nile region just because some of us have their brothers or uncles in the SPLM-N movement – this is why we are detained? We didn’t fight or hold a gun against any person,” said the prisoner.
He added that the group of Blue Nile prisoners at Sennar Prison were threatening to go on hunger strike: “We asked the authorities for several times to send us for trial in the court, so there is no other way to show our displeasure unless we resort to a hunger strike so that we can totally die because we don’t have any rights.”
“We are not really pleased with the situation in the prison so we are either to be sent for trial in case there is a fair judgment – or we die.”
Malik Agar, the former governor of the state, was stripped of power by a presidential decree in 2011 and now leads SPLM-N. Through the peace talks he may seek to regain his post in the state.
However, the new governor Hamad – who was sworn in only a week ago replacing a military governor – has insisted Agar will never resume power in the state as governor unless there are modifications or changes to the state and national constitutions.
Though now formally united, the two wings of SPLM-N launched their war at different times during 2011, the Nuba Mountains fighters in June prior to a disarmament effort and the Blue Nile ones in September.
The two theatres of the war are separated by the Nile and by a vast distance. But the two wings of the movement claim to represent a united front and together joined the Sudan Revolutionary Front, the opposition coalition that includes the rejectionist factions of Darfur rebels Abdel Wahid Al Nur and Jibreel Ibrahim.
International mediators have sought to ignore this loose coalition (SRF) and instead to keep the talks on Darfur separate from those on the so-called ‘Two Areas,’ considering the Doha Document as the only legitimate framework for peace in Darfur while proposing separate political measures for the other areas.
Photo: Blue Nile Governor Hussein Yassin Hamad (ashorooq.net)