October 5, 2022 (JUBA) – Abdel Wahid al-Nur leader of the holdout Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-AW) announced his decision to leave South Sudan saying he would not negotiate a peace agreement citing a lack of seriousness to address the root causes of the conflict.
After the collapse of the former regime, al-Nur declined to join the Juba process for peace in Sudan. But President Kiir invited him to Juba with the hope to convince him to change his mind. But he said he wants to hold an inclusive and comprehensive meeting in Khartoum to discuss the Sudanese issue, not the Darfur crisis.
The idea of a conference in Khartoum gave the impression that he had abandoned his old position that before engaging in peace talks Khartoum should cease hostilities, and withdraw militiamen and newcomers from the lands of the displaced people who should regain their villages.
The rebel leader considers once the consequences of the conflict are addressed, then the peace process should discuss the political issues to reform Sudan and prevent the reoccurrence of war.
In an interview with Sudan Tribune in Juba, the exiled rebel leader said the war in the Darfur region has claimed lives and destroyed properties, yet the international community and the region were pushing to return without addressing the root cause.
“They are pushing me and the leadership of the Sudan Liberation Movement to negotiate with those in Khartoum. They are listening to what they hear from Khartoum and not what we say,” he said.
“There has been pressure to negotiate with those in Khartoum who do not want peace. If they want peace, why is it difficult for them to address the root causes of the war in Darfur?” he stressed.
“So, if you want peace in Darfur, provide security, let people be free, disarm the militia groups and let people return to their homes. If they do this, we will be the first to go to Khartoum without mediation,” he stressed.
Al-Nur avoided speaking about Juba’s position regarding his refusal to engage in a peace process with the Sudanese government.
However, South Sudanese officials are frustrated by al-Nur’s rejection and his continued presence in Juba, where he continued to meet his supporters and his group leadership members.
Also, the holdout group took advantage of the three-year truce to reorganize his group and rearm them, creating frustrations among the military leaders in Khartoum.
Al-Nur recently sought to return to Kampala, where he was based after leaving France. But, the Ugandan government rejected his request, saying he should negotiate peace and return to Sudan after the fall of the al-Bashir regime.
He did not disclose where he would move to, amid speculations that he might go inside Sudan.
The Sudanese rebel said he was under pressure from some countries to accept peace, and others threatened to sever ties with him and the leadership of his movement.
“There are people and countries who have been listening to Khartoum and want us to talk to Khartoum based on what they hear. If we do that way, it will be a one-sided agreement, and it will not be a peace that will address the conflict in Sudan,” he stressed.
Around 300,000 people died in Darfur following the eruption of an armed conflict in 2003. According to the UN, his figure includes victims of war but also disease and hunger as a result of fighting.
Abdel Wahid al-Nur who is from the main ethnic group in the region only participated in the African Union-brokered peace process held in Abuja, Nigeria. Since, he has declined to take part in any process before to repair the effects of war, as he says.