November 11, 2022 (JUBA)- Abel Aziz al-Hilu, SPLM-N leader has warned that his group could opt for independence if there is no agreement to establish a clear separation between religion and the state ending “oppression and segregation”.
In an interview with the BBC Newsday talk show last October but broadcast two days ago, al-Hilu stressed a new split could occur again in Sudan because the ruling military junta are “not ready for peaceful settlement” and want to stay in power.
The SPLM-N in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan state has been fighting against central Sudan since June 2011.
Al-Hilu broke away from Malik Agar in 2017, as because the Movement’s leadership rejected his demand to include the principle of self-determination in the talks with al-Bahsir government brokered by the African Union.
His group declared a temporary unilateral ceasefire with the Sudanese armed forces in response to the military action which ousted al-Bashir from power following months of protests in 2019.
The SPLM-N “prefers unity,” he said, before warning that “if Khartoum wants to maintain the old Sudan of injustice and discrimination, then we will resort to the option of independence”.
On 28 March 2021, al-Hilu signed a declaration of principles with General Abdel Fattah a-Burhan the Sudanese government in Juba, providing to establish a civil, democratic federal state in Sudan that guarantees freedom of religion.
Nonetheless, the talks stalled over the extent of the place of religion in the state as the SPLM-N wanted a fully secular state while the transitional government wanted to exclude some sectors from this rule.
Ammar Amom, SPLM-N Hilu Secretary-General last October said the government procrastinates the settlement of the relationship between religion and the state.
“To justify its position the government says Sudanese would not accept secularism,” Amom told Alyoum Altali newspaper on October 27, 2022.
“The government’s insistence on adopting Islamist-Arab ideology led to the secession of South Sudan and put the unity of the country to the test,” he added.