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Darfur figure snubs offer to lead new rebel group.

September 15, 2009 (PARIS) -- A Darfur figure brushed aside a proposal to lead a newly formed rebel group in Tripoli after failing to bring all the factions together.

Undated photo showing Darfur rebels join hands in a show of unity (Al-Rakoba website)

Six rebel factions, under pressure from the Libyan government, agreed last month to form Sudan's Liberation Revolutionary Forces (SLRF) and they announced that Darfur's former governor, Al-Tigani Al-Sissi, from the Fur ethnic group, would be designated as leader of the movement. However, Al-Sissi dismissed the proposal saying he could only take the leadership of SLRF if all the rebel factions come together under the same umbrella. A well placed source confirmed the move to Sudan Tribune but declined to be named. "I'm ready to lead the new movement if all of you commit yourself to a real and strong unity," Al Sissi told the rebels. However, the SLM-Unity of Abdallah Yahiya and United Revolutionary Forces Front (URFF) that had been announced part of the new groups marked their distance and said not involved in it. Also, the United Resistance Front (URF) of Abu Garda did not join the group while it and the two other groups had initiated the unification process in Libya since last March. Last month before the holding of the African Union (AU) special summit on peace and security in Tripoli Libya succeeded to bring all the rebel groups including the Justice and Equality Movement with only the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) of Abdel Wahid Al-Nur was absent. Tripoli sought in a way or in another to create one structure before the resumption of peace talks in Doha. The Libyan officials simultaneously pushed the factions to establish a new structure but also worked to persuade them and JEM rebels to get together in one structure. The Libyan authorities were pressed by the need to produce a breakthrough before the end of the summit but also where concerned by what Cairo and the US envoy to Sudan had said one week before the African meeting on the need to create a new group not only find a common ground deal as Tripoli had done. The announcement of the SLFR at this point was seen as a demonstration of the Libyan influence of the rebel groups. Al-Sissi's refusal to accept leadership post of the newly created rebel umbrella represents a setback to Libyan efforts to reunite the divided rebel groups. However, the source further added that efforts conducted by US envoy Scott Gration in Addis Ababa have negatively affected Tripoli's unification process and opened another alternative to some faction who had felt marginalized by the Libyan efforts. At the time, the leader of SLM-Unity Abdallah Yahiya told Sudan Tribune that the Addis Ababa group had agreed to hold a unity meeting inside the country among their supporters. He stressed that this meeting is needed before the reunification. Yahiya also removed the spokesperson of the group, Mahjoub Hussein, from his position and suspended his membership. Hussein was seen as Tripoli man in the SLM-Unity and he had been prepared to play an important role in the new structure. The joint mediator for Darfur peace process announced he would hold a workshop in Doha where all the rebel groups would be convened to participate in order to help them to overcome their differences and to lay out a joint vision before the peace process expected to take place at the end of October. The diverse initiatives undertaken by neighboring and international facilitators, apparently in open competition, seem affecting the mediation, which tries to conduct its mission with a different approach. (ST)

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Publication:Sudan Tribune (Sudan)
Date:Sep 17, 2009
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