Monday, 5 September 2011

Sudan no longer recognises SPLM-North

Sudan's government has announced that it no longer recognises the existence of one of the key opposition parties, SPLM-North. Soldiers loyal to the party have been fighting government forces in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states. It is thought that the SPLM-North party has close ties with the rebels in South Sudan, who are partly responsible for the country's new found independence.

In related news, South Sudan has said that it plans to relocate its capital from Juba to Ramciel. The new capital will come under the jurisdiction of the national government rather than the State. According to a number of sources, the government recognises that the move may cause ethnic tensions and has therefore said that the transfer process will take place in stages.

Only two months ago, Sudan's government signed an agreement with the opposition party aimed at finding a resolution to conflicts in the two states. Since then, violence has broken out in Blue Nile between Sudan's army and fighters loyal to SPLM-North. The newest outbreaks follow three months of clashes in Southern Kordofan.

A senior official at the Information Ministry, Rabie Abd al Atti, confirmed that the government no longer recognised SPLM-North. He did not speculate about the allegations of mass arrests but said that if any of SPLM-North's supporters wanted to carry out political activities they would be subject to arrest.

The crackdown follows President Omar Al-Bashir's declaration of a state of emergency in Blue Nile and the expulsion of leader of SPLM-North, Malik Agar, from his elected post as State governor. The government controls the State capital of Damazin while most fighters loyal to SPLM-North seem to have withdrawn to their base in the south of the State, Kurmuk.

Sudan has made allegation against South Sudan of supporting the SPLM-North fighters, a charge the latter denies.

Sources: BBC News, Sudan Tribute, Sudan Vision

For more news and expert analysis about the Sahara region, please see Sahara Focus.

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