As part of the peace process in Darfur, the government of the Republic of Sudan led by Omar Hassan Al-Bashir and local and international stakeholders in 2016 started a large scale voluntary repatriation project among the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) called Amal (hope) with active participation of the traditional leaders of the affected communities in Darfur.
However, the rebel leaders who were benefiting from the sufferings of the poor displaced population have devised very heinous plans to halt the operation which they felt, would deprive them of strategic propaganda tools. Their plot included launching of a campaign of assassination among the traditional leaders whom they consider their soft targets along the network of peace stakeholders.
Abdul Wahid Muhammad al-Nur, the Fur leader of the Darfur rebel movement known as the Sudan Liberation Army/Movement (SLA/M-AW), one of the rebel groups disturbing the peace of the country has been the arrowhead of this new onslaught against law-abiding and peace-loving traditional leaders.
In 2016 the commander of Abdulwahid rebel faction, Alamin Toro deployed a group of assassins to kill the Haroon Musa one of the prominent leaders of Golo Area and member of the legislative council. However, the security agencies aborted the plot and arrested the suspects. In the same 2016 however, followers of Abdulwahid faction assassinated the Ahmed Biringi the traditional leader in Soronj Area western Jebel Mara.
In 2017 followers of Abdulwahid faction assassinated Yousif Salla Omer, a prominent leader in Koroon Area because of his participation in Voluntary repatriation operation. The rebel group also killed a leader in Kagroo area of northern Jebel Mara and arrested Shartai Adam Suleiman, the traditional ruler of Darbat and Soni areas of Eastern Jebel Mara but he was able to escape from their captivity and fled to Nayala the capital city of State of South Darfur with the help of security agencies.
In 2018 Abudlwahid rebel group again assassinated Mr Jamaa Yousif Abdulallah, coordinator of the Voluntary repatriation of the displaced in Nertity. They also killed Jibril Ahmed Ali the Mayor of Digreen in Assalam county and Chairman of Voluntary Repatriation Committee in the Area.
This new dimension of crime is no doubt aimed at frustrating the Sudanese government, which has been very effective in strengthening and improving the security situation in the Darfur region and has taken well recognized steps to stabilize the region so that development can take place.
It would be recalled that the Report on the Strategic Review of the African Union/United Nations Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID), a joint African Union and United Nations peacekeeping mission formally approved by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1769, has revealed the extensive efforts of the Government of Sudan led by Omar Al-Bashir to put the security situation in Darfur and other places under control.
The report pointed to the reduction in the level of tribal conflicts in the light of continued peace efforts and implementation of the Doha Agreement being pursued by the Government of Sudan.
The peace of the Darfur region of the country is what the violent activities of Abdulwahid rebel group campaign of assassination is planning to scuttle with this heinous violent method targeted against the repatriation exercise. The intensity of killing of the traditional rulers by Abdulwahid shows that the rebel group has been so weakened they now resort to attacking soft targets.
The people of the region traumatized by this mindless rebel violence have demonstrated their fate and confidence in the Sudanese Government’s commitment to free them from the rebel terror. They are also ready to join hands with the government and the international community to end the suffering perpetrated by rebel activities in the region.
The government and People of Sudan will not be deterred by this campaign of violence. The Sudanese government is well- equipped to continue the repatriation of displaced persons and also to handle the Abdulwadid rebel group. The government has the support of the international community to deal decisively and ruthlessly with any group or individual trying to cause deaths and disharmony among traditional leaders in Darfur.
It has therefore become incumbent on the United Nations, the African Union and other global institutions to increase their efforts to end the activities of this dangerous Abduwahid rebel faction. Action must be taken now and no sacrifice is too much and no price is too high to bring peace to the region.
Ali Mustapha is an International Relations expert and a public affairs commentator.
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