Armed Sudanese opposition group, the SPLM-North led by Abdulaziz al-Hilu has reaffirmed its objection to the signing of the Sudanese peace agreement.
The group, comprising the Sudan Liberation Movement headed up by Abdul Wahid al-Nur, declined to ascend to the peace deal on Monday after months of mediation by the Kiir administration.
Only five armed opposition groups signed the peace agreement with Sudan’s transitional government in Juba.
The agreement includes protocols for security, land ownership, transitional justice, power-sharing, and the return of refugees.
The initial peace deal also provides for the dismantling of armed forces and the integration of former combatants.
It was signed by the representatives of the Sudan Revolutionary Front, and rebel groups from the western Darfur and the southern states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok used the occasion to appeal to the SPLM-North of Al-Hilu and the SLM of al-Nur to accept the terms and join the process, arguing that the Sudanese urgently needed a comprehensive peace deal.
In response, the spokesperson of the SPLM-North under Al-Hilu said they do not want the involvement of the commander of the Sudanese Rapid Support Force, Gen. Muhammad Hamdan Dagalo in the talks.
Also known as Hemedti, Gen. Dagalo is the head of the Sudanese government delegation in the peace process.
But the opposition accuses his forces of committing war crimes against civilians during the years of military unrest.
Koko Muhammad Jagdoul told Eye Radio that they had initially written a letter of protest to the mediators over the participation of Hemedti, but were reportedly ignored.
“We did not sign because we objected to the presence of Gen. Muhammed Hamden Dagalo, the head of the government delegation,” Muhammad stated, “and we had submitted a written statement to the mediation team and that change did not happen.”
Muhammad added that they are willing to rejoin the process if the South Sudanese mediation team respond positively to their objection over the participation of Gen. Hemedti in the peace talks.
The peace deal is aimed at ending 17 years of conflict in the western region of Darfur and southern states.
The United States, United Kingdom and Norway have described the agreement as “an important step” in restoring security, dignity, and development to the population of Sudan’s conflict-affected and marginalized areas.
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