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Sudanese opposition seek to prevent its divisions going public

March 2, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The spokesman of the National Conesus Forces (NCF) Kamal Omer disclosed that member opposition parties have agreed to strengthen unity among its ranks under the common goal of toppling the regime.

In press statements, Omer disclosed that the Popular Congress Party (PCP) suggested a code of honor to be signed by the opposition parties to preserve the coalition and prevent the members from criticizing each other over the media.

The NCF spokesperson said that members of the opposition alliance should discuss any objectionable issues they have within the domain of the coalition.

The National Umma Party (NUP) led by Al-Sadiq al-Mahdi has in recent months stepped up his public bashing of the NCF and his insistence that the latter is restructured.

His statements angered other opposition parties who accuse him of being obscure about his position regarding the government dominated by the ruling National Congress Party (NCP).

Al-Mahdi has said that he does not want to bring down the regime but rather reform it putting him at odds with other opposition groups.

The NCF has called on the NUP chief to make a written apology for his past criticism of the alliance.

In a related issue, Omer said that the NCF will review the “New Dawn” charter signed last January between rebels and opposition groups to see what changes can be made and attach the proposed interim constitution.

Some of the charter’s signatories including the NUP, PCP and the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) later distanced themselves from the deal saying they were rushed into it and expressed reservations on some of its clauses relating to role of religion and reforming the state’s institutions.

From the start the charter’s stated goal of removing the regime hit a roadblock over how to do it with rebels saying that force should be one of the means to achieve it and opposition groups saying they prefer to stick to peaceful ways.

“We are with the regime change, but through democratic and peaceful means through the street or a popular revolution” the NCF spokesman said.

He denied Khartoum’s accusations that they are plotting to bring the regime down in alliance with rebels and external players.

(ST)

Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article45709

Controversial S. Kordofan governor may lead negotiations with SPLM-N: reports

March 2, 2013 (KHARTOUM) – The governor of South Kordofan Ahmed Haroun may head Sudan’s delegation to the upcoming negotiations with rebels from Sudan People Liberation Movement North (SPLM-N), according to local media.

JPEG - 29.4 kbSouth Kordofan’s Governor Ahmed Haroun (REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah)

The African Union (AU) mediation team led by former South African president Thabo Mbeki invited Khartoum and SPLM-N to sit down in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa for talks in mid-March.

The Sudanese government has been strongly resistant to any negotiations with SPLM-N for fear of reinventing a deal similar to the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which incorporated a power and wealth-sharing protocol.

But the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution issued in May 2012 ordered Sudan and the SPLM-N to cooperate in order to end the conflict in the two regions.

Under the resolution, the two parties are supposed to negotiate on the basis of the 28 June 2011 agreement they signed in Addis Ababa before it was scrapped by Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir.

SPLM-N is battling the Sudanese government since 2011 in the border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile which led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of civilians.

The United Nations in 2011 said that war crimes may have been committed in South Kordofan following the outbreak of the conflict with SPLM-N.

In 2007, Haroun became the first Sudanese official to be charged by International Criminal Court (ICC) in connection with war crimes allegedly committed in Sudan’s western region of Darfur. At the time he held the position of state minister for humanitarian affairs though the crimes he was indicted on were committed while he was the state minister for interior.

The charges against him include 51 counts of murder, mass rape and torture. Sudan has refused to hand him or any other citizen to the Hague-based court.
Last year Haroun was caught in tape that was aired by Qatar-based Al-Jazeera TV showing him instructing troops in South Kordofan not take any prisoners in the course of their fighting with rebels.

His remarks drew criticism by the UN and the European Union.

(ST)

Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article45708

Unity State chiefs call for voluntary disarmament

By Bonifacio Taban Kuich

March 2, 2013 (BENTIU) – Local leaders in Unity state called for a new round of voluntarily civilian disarmament at a two-day conference in Bentiu last week to address the issue of violent crime and cattle raiding.

The conference, facilitated by the Conflict Mitigation and Stabilization Initiative (CMSI) brought chiefs, executives directors, civil society groups and police officers from Unity state’s nine counties together to discuss how to persuade civilians to handover illegal arms to government.

Previous disarmament campaigns have not persuaded many groups, especially young men who are responsible for keeping cattle, to handover the weapons, although on each occasion some weapons were collected.

At the conclusion of the conference on Friday those taking part blamed the government for failing to set up proper mechanisms in the past for handing over illegal arms.

Gabriel Tuak Yarok, a local chief who participated in the conference even accused members of South Sudan’s army (SPLA) of selling arms collected in disarmament campaigns back to civilians.

The chief said that the community, government and security forces “need to work together” to ensure that civilians do not posses illegal firearms.

Yarok urged the government to give the police and local chiefs the primary role in collecting guns from civilians rather than using the army.

Tito Gatchang Keah, a participant from Payinjiar County, said that in order for the disarmament to be peaceful it had to be carried out through influential local chiefs, rather than the forceful tactics used by the military.

“If you use forceful disarmament they are going to react and people are going to fight and death will occur again of which we don’t want”, added Keah.

He called on organisations to facilitate further conferences at county, payam [district], boma [sub-district] and village level in order to disarmament to be successful.

Samuel Chuol Thon, a colonel in the South Sudan Police Services, told the conference that it has been very hard to enforce law and order due to unrest caused by cattle raiding across state borders.

He agreed that responsibility for disarmament should be shared between chiefs and the police and would be a “success” if the different arms of the government worked in coordination.

“We are going to help the government to disarm these guns from the civilians hands, because people are dying and there is no need for them to die again so it is good that the government has decided to do this point”, said Thon.

Communities in rural areas who handover their weapons usually complain that they are left unprotected from cattle raiding, which is a major problem in South Sudanese society.

Addressing the participants at the conference in Bentiu, Unity State’s deputy governor, Michael Chiengjeik, urged local chiefs to fully engage with the voluntarily disarmament exercise but warned that failure to would lead to forceful disarmament.

(ST)

Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article45703

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