Darfur, 29 Jumadil Awal 1434/10 April 2013 (MINA) – Opposition movement in Sudan’s Darfur have moved within kilometres of a key town in the violence-racked region, local media have reported.
Al Jazeera quoted by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA) as reporting that the African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) confirmed that Sudan Liberation Army’s (SLA) Minni Minnawi faction had “attacked and seized” two towns over the weekend.
The fighting came as protests continued in the region against a two-day donors’ conference in the Qatari capital, Doha, that sought to raise funds to rebuild Darfur.
SLA had taken the Ashma village, 8km from the South Darfur state capital Nyala, the AFP news agency reported on Monday.
Ashma was “occupied by our forces”, said Hussein Minnawi, of the Sudan Liberation Army’s Minni Minnawi faction.
The latest developments come as donor countries in Qatar pledged $3.6bn to develop Darfur.
The funds will help push a development strategy intended to move the region away from handouts and emergency aid by focusing on building infrastructure.
Magdi Hassan, Sudan’s minister of finance and economy, told Al Jazeera the talks would set the momentum towards improving the situation in Darfur.
But Minnawi said the Doha conference was not a solution to Darfur’s problems.
“This is what they say on paper,” he said, dismissing the effort and calling instead for a solution within the context of what he called Sudan’s wider crisis “which is mainly from the centre”, Khartoum.
He and other rebels, along with Sudanese opposition parties, want a “democratic federal state based on equality,” with a separation between religion and government.
Finance minister Hassan said those demonstrating in internally displaced camps in Darfur were trying to sabotage an initiative to develop the region.
“This conference is also targeting those living in the camps. It is important to give them back their lives. This is why we are here,” he said.
Civil society activists in Darfur say that protesters are against the conference because of the continued instability in the region.
“They said basically that the people in Doha are not representing us,” said a civil society activist, declining to be named.
General Omar al-Tsim, and the National Islamic Front headed by Dr. Hassan al-Turabi, overthrew the Sudanese government led by Ahmed al-Mirghani in 1989. A large section of the population in Darfur, particularly the non-Arab ethnicities in the region, became increasingly marginalized. These feelings were crystallized by the publication in 2000 of The Black Book, that detailed the structural inequity in the Sudan, which denies non-Arabs equal justice and power sharing.
In 2002 Abdul Wahid al Nur, a lawyer, Ahmad Abdel Shafi Bassey, an education student, and a third man founded the Darfur Liberation Front which subsequently evolved into the Sudan Liberation Movement, and claimed to represented all of the oppressed in the Sudan.
In 2006, the Sudan Liberation Movement split into two main factions, divided on the issue of the Darfur Peace Agreement:
Sudan Liberation Movement (Minnawi) – this group is led by Minni Minnawi and signed the Darfur Peace Agreement in May 2006. Minnawi served as the Chairperson of the Transitional Darfur Regional Authority from its formation in 2007 to his dismissal in December 2010. The SLM-Minnawi faction formally withdrew from the peace agreement in February 2011.
Sudan Liberation Movement (al-Nur) – this group was formed in 2006 and is led by Abdul Wahid al Nur. It has rejected the Darfur Peace Agreement.
The United Nations says 1.4 million people are still living in camps for the internally displaced, a decade after Minnawi and other rebels began their uprising against the Arab-dominated Khartoum regime.(T/P09/E1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA).