October 10, 2017 (KHARTOUM) – The opposition National Umma Party (NUP) has criticized the demand of the Nuba Mountains body of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North led by Abdel Aziz al-Hilu (SPLM-North al-Hilu) for self-determination.
- NUP leader Sadiq al-Mahdi speaks to reporters at a press conference in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on 30 November 2014 (ST)
The SPLM-N Nuba Mountains Liberation Council (NMLC) held an extraordinary conference in the rebel-controlled area of Heiban in South Kordofan from 4 to 7 October 2017, ahead of the Extraordinary General Conference after a rift that broke it into two groups last June.
The three-day meeting was attended by 475 delegates representing all the districts of the Nuba Mountains. It was addressed by the leader of the group Abdel Aziz al-Hilu in the presence of his deputy Jacod Mekouar and SPLA-N Chief of Staff Izat Koko Angelo.
“After extensive deliberations and discussions, the participants passed the Crucial Issues Document, including the right of self-determination for the people of the Nuba Mountains/ South Kordofan, and then the conference endorsed the organizational performance report,” said a statement released on Monday.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, the NUP leader al-Sadiq al-Mahdi said his party was invited to attend the SPLM-N al-Hilu conference.
“However, what came out of the Nuba Mountains conference, if true, is considered unfortunate because it didn’t fulfill their promise to abide by the Sudan Call, and it left no room to heal the rift within the Movement and didn’t renew their commitment to the Roadmap signed by the Sudan Call parties with the Mbeki mechanism and insisted on self-determination,” he said.
The Sudanese government and Sudan Call signed in March and August 2016 the Roadmap Agreement brokered by the African Union High Implementation Panel (AUHIP) headed by Thabo Mbeki, including several steps towards their participation in a national constitutional process inside Sudan.
Al-Mahdi further expressed surprise that the Movement which calls for the liberation of Sudan insists on granting the right of self-determination for a part of the country “even though everyone knows the failed experience of the self-determination”.
He was alluding to the secession of South Sudan following the self-determination referendum in 2011 and the subsequent state of anarchy which prevailed in the newborn country.
The Sudanese army has been fighting SPLM-N rebels in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan since 2011.
The SPLM-N is now divided into two factions: one led by Abdel Aziz al-Hilu and the other led by Agar. The rift emerged several months ago over the right of self-determination and other organisational issues.