Sudan’s embattled main opposition party vowed Saturday to fight for regime change through armed struggle and mass protests, and called for international support, after clashes erupted in Blue Nile state.
“The coup against the only state in north Sudan that was able to enforce its will through elections confirms that it is not possible to achieve constitutional change under the present regime,” Yasser Arman, secretary general of the SPLM’s northern branch, said in a statement.
“Nothing remains for the Sudanese people but a combination of peaceful mass action to change the system, and armed struggle... extending from Blue Nile in the east to Darfur in the west.”
Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir on Friday declared a state of emergency in the flashpoint border state of Blue Nile and appointed a military ruler.
The announcement was made just hours after heavy fighting broke out between the army and ex-rebel SPLA forces loyal to the elected governor Malik Agar, who is chairman of the SPLM-North.
The latest violence comes three months after similar fighting erupted in nearby South Kordofan, following disputed elections for the post of governor, which saw the SPLM’s candidate Abdelaziz al-Hilu withdraw alleging fraud.
Arman said he and Hilu met on Friday with leaders of the three main Darfuri rebel groups, including Minni Minnawi, Abdelwahid Nur and Mansur Abdelqadir, to form the nucleus of a united political and military movement for change.
Separately, he called for the UN Security Council to enforce a no-fly zone extending from Darfur to Blue Nile, to stop more “ethnic cleansing” and to prevent the air force targeting civilians.
He also urged the guarantors of the 2005 peace agreement, particularly the United States, Britain and Norway, to respond to the aggression, and the human rights issues arising from it, “including the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.”