SPLM-N deputy chairperson says rebels fighting "just war", denies arresting Kuku

May 2, 2013 (Sudan Tribune)

Sudanese rebel leader Abdel-Aziz Adam El-Hilu said this week that he is fighting a "just war" against Khartoum, and denied reports that he had recommended the arrest of his former colleague, Telephone Kuku, over differences relating to who should lead the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-North) in South Kordofan state.

El-Hilu served as the Deputy Governor of the state until mid-2011 when all out conflict between the SPLM-N and the Sudanese over a disputed election in which El-Hilu lost his bid to become the governor.

Despite being held in a prison on South Sudan, Kuku's name appeared on the ballot paper of the April 2011 gubernatorial elections, a move seen by many as an attempt to split the SPLM-N's vote.

In August 2011 the SPLM-N signed a framework agreement with the government with was abruptly scrapped by the Sudanese president, leading to the conflict spreading to Blue Nile, where the Sudan Armed Forces deposed the SPLM-N governor Malik Agar.

El-Hilu is the Deputy Chairman of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-North) serving under Agar as well as the overall commander of the armed branch of the group the Sudan People's Liberation Army-North (SPLA-North).

When the SPLM-N formed the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) - an alliance with the three main Darfur rebel groups - in late 2011, El-Hilu became the new group's General Chief of Staff.

In his interview with Sudan Tribune on Tuesday El-Hilu denied ever having any personal or leadership difference with any of his colleagues either before or after South Sudan's secession from Sudan in July 2011.

He described such allegations as the "divide and rule policies" of the government in Khartoum designed to stir conflict amongst the Sudanese opposition.

But Kuku on 23 April said in an interview with Sudan Tribune that he was arrested at the directives of the SPLM-N leadership on "clumsy grounds", allegedly born out of fear that he would have divided votes against El-Hilu if he was allowed to campaign during the 2011 gubernatorial elections in Southern Kordofan State.

"The SPLA command had nothing against me. I did not do anything wrong in all my assignments at the general headquarters. The problem started with preparations to contest elections after I was denied the right to be nominated as official candidate of the SPLM. The leadership nominated Abdel Aziz Adam El-Hilu. So I said fine. I respected the decision and I went ahead to contest independently but some people did not like this, and they asked the SPLA command to detain me on clumsy grounds", Kuku explained.

Before Southern independence in July 2011 the SPLM was a national Sudanese movement that had its base in what is now South Sudan as well large controlling of large areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile state, which now lie north of the new international border.

South Sudan's deputy defence Minister, Majak D' Agoot in April confirmed Kuku's arrest in 2010 was on the grounds that he was at odds with his colleagues in the northern sector of the SPLM.

"Kuku was a foreigner in our jail because he had odd views about his colleagues in the SPLM-N and sometimes a bit of rancour about South Sudan. Simply, I couldn't find any logic keeping [him] in our detention cells", D' Agoot told Sudan Tribune.


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