Last Updated: Tue Dec 28, 2010 11:36 am (KSA) 08:36 am (GMT)

Sudan armed conflict possible: SPLM leader


Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) spokesmanYasser Erman hinted at the possibility of an armed conflict if Khartoum clamps down on the southern movement’s forces in the north after the secession.

“Let’s cross the bridge when we come to it,” Emran told Al Arabiya’s correspondent Mohammed al-Werwari in an interview to be aired by Al Arabiya on Tuesday.

“Our priority is the democratic, peaceful solution, but if this is rejected, those who rejected it have to bear the consequences.”

 We do not want to take this path. It is damaging for the stability of the north and for Sudan as a whole 
SPLM spokesmanYasser Erman

Emran explained that former SPLM fighters in Northern Sudan are more than all the fighters in Darfur and that in case secession takes place between the north and the south and if the government in Khartoum decides to take any measures against them, they will fight back.

“We do not want to take this path. It is damaging for the stability of the north and for Sudan as a whole.”

Answering a question by Al Arabiya presenter Suhair al-Qubaisi about Emran’s vision of the role to be played by the SPLM in the north in case of separation, Mohammed al-Werwari replied that this is still unclear.

“This role is a source of concern for the movement’s branch in the north, which is headed by Yasser Erman.”

Werwari said that there are speculations that the SPLM might turn into a political party, yet added that this is unlikely after statements to the contrary made by the ruling National Congress Party (NCP).

“The ruling party made it clear that it will not allow a party from the south in the north and even Erman has his reservations about forming a party. He wants the SPLM to stay as it is.”

Southern forces in the North

The seriousness of Erman’s latest statement, Werwari pointed out, is that it was issued right after a press conference he had held with Malik Akar and Abdul Aziz al-Helw, both prominent generals in the states of Blue Nile and Jibal al-Nuba, respectively.

“Both had armies that fought with the SPLM in the south against the north. Some say their armies are made up of 30,000; some say 60,000.

The armies were disbanded with the Protocol of Machakos signed in Naivasha, Kenya in 2002 and implemented in 2005.”

According to Werwari, NCP Secretary for Political Affairs Ibrahim Ghandour said that the fighters who belonged to the armies of Akar and Helw will be treated as part of the SPLM army.

“This means they have to go out the border of Northern Sudan. The fact that Erman threatens to resort to other options indicates that he will use those forces, which are ready for fighting to a great extent, to put pressure on the North.”

(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)

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