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Darfur rebel movement splits - yet again

By unknown | Jul 31, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

KHARTOUM - Darfur's rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) has split again, a spokesman said yesterday.

KHARTOUM - Darfur's rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) has split again, a spokesman said yesterday.

This comes ahead of a UN and African Union meeting to unite the insurgents before peace talks with the Sudanese government.

Nourein Adam Abdel Gaffa, spokesman for JEM's armed wing, said the group was removing Khalil Ibrahim from his leadership position and wanted members of JEM's army to represent the group at the rebel meeting in Tanzania beginning on Friday.

"We are announcing the removal of Khalil Ibrahim as the leader of the movement," he said.

Abdel Gaffa said Ibrahim had breached the laws governing JEM, but did not offer details.

However, Abdel Gaffa is allied with JEM chief of staff, Abdallah Abanda Abakr, who Ibrahim removed from his position earlier this month. Abakr and other commanders have rejected this development. JEM spokesman Ahmed Adam said Ibrahim had not been removed and would represent JEM in the Arusha talks.

"This is not true. Khalil is still chairman of JEM," he said, adding that JEM was trying to resolve any outstanding problems, including confusion over Abakr's role. The split announced by JEM's armed wing is a blow to Friday's meeting in Arusha ahead of peace talks planned by the UN.

One of the biggest obstacles to restarting Darfur peace talks to end the fighting is rebel divisions. Since a peace deal last year signed by only one of three rebel negotiating factions, the non-signatory factions have split into more than a dozen groups.

JEM, which along with the Sudan Liberation Army, was involved in the 2006 Nigeria talks that produced the peace agreement, is often considered a smaller rebel group. - Reuters


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