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Sudan Unfazed by Rebel Threats

  • Peter Clottey

A leading member of Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP) says President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir’s government will not kowtow (submit) to threats of all-out war issued by the Darfur-based Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) rebel group.

Rabie Abdulatti Obeid said the government has asked the international police agency Interpol to arrest rebel leader Khalil Ibrahim after he refused to abide by a recent ceasefire agreement.

“The warrant of arrest that was issued by the minister of justice of the government of national unity mentioned that Dr. Khalil Ibrahim and his movement committed a lot of crimes in Darfur, as well as the crimes that were committed during the invasion of Omdurman,” he said.

The rebel group signed a ceasefire agreement with the government in February after President Bashir declared the war in Darfur “over.” But, the rebel group broke off further negotiations after accusing the government of attacking its positions.

The JEM rebel group threatened an all-out war if their leader, who is believed to be hiding in neighboring Egypt, is arrested.

But, Abdulatti said the government is unfazed by the rebel threats.

“I don’t think that the statement will threaten the government of Sudan as this movement has no capacity to defeat the government’s military. And, even in Darfur, I think that the people of Darfur they hate the Justice and Equality Movement and are not in a position to accept that violation committed against civilians in Darfur,” Abdulatti said.

The rebel group has often accused President Bashir’s government of abdicating its responsibilities by attacking their positions - - a charge the administration denies.

Abdulatti blames the rebel group of failing to keep its side of the agreement.

“Before even signing the first agreement with JEM, (the government) announced a ceasefire from one side. (But) all the time, the violations have come from the Justice and Equality Movement. I can confirm that our government didn’t violate (any agreement)…this is just something to justify their unwillingness to continue negotiations,” Abdulatti said.

The Hague-based International Criminal Court has issued a warrant for President Bashir’s arrest over allegations he masterminded the war crimes committed in Darfur - a charge his supporters deny.

Analyst say President Bashir doesn’t have the moral right to seek the arrest of a rebel leader when he faces international arrest over allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

But, ruling party official Abdulatti said President Bashir is not bothered by the arrest warrant.

“That accusation by the International Criminal Court against our president, this is not concerning us at all because we are not members in this international court as we didn’t agree on that treaty on which this International Criminal Court was established. And, I don’t think that our president is subject to this trial in front of the International criminal Court as this is against the sovereignty of our country,” Abdulatti said.

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