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Sudan appoints key rebel leaders to interim government

February 4, 2021 GMT

CAIRO (AP) — Sudan has appointed three representatives of armed rebel groups to top posts in the country’s interim government as part of a peace deal signed last year, the state news agency reported Thursday.

Sudan is transitioning to democratic rule after a mass uprising forced the military to remove longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir in 2019 and trying to quell years of conflict in its rebellious regions.

The country’s governing body, the Sovereign Council, said in a statement released by Sudan’s state news agency that it had appointed Alhadi Idris Yehia, a leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement, Malik Agar, head of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North faction in the Blue Nile state, and Al-Taher Abu Bakr Hagar, president of Sudan Liberation Forces, as new members.

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All fall under the umbrella of the larger Sudan Revolutionary Front, an alliance of armed groups centered in the western Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile regions with whom the government signed a peace deal last year.

The three rebel leaders will be joining the other 11 members of the ruling Sovereign Council, formed in 2019 following a power-sharing agreement between military commanders and civilian protesters, who spearheaded the five-month-long uprising that led to al-Bashir’s ouster.

Reaching a negotiated settlement with rebels in Sudan’s far-flung provinces has been a crucial goal for the transitional government. The deal was hailed as step towards reviving Sudan’s battered economy and rejoining the international community after years of isolation.

But the government failed to reach similar peace pacts with two other key armed factions ,including Sudan’s largest single rebel group, the Sudan Liberation Movement-North led by Abdel-Aziz al-Hilu, and the Sudan Liberation Movement- Army, which is led by Abdel-Wahid Nour.

The peace deal, signed in October in Juba after months of negotiations, granted self-rule for the southern provinces of Blue Nile, South Kordofan and West Kordofan and stipulated that that rebel forces should be integrated into Sudan’s armed forces. Under the same deal, rebels were also promised cabinet positions and 75 legislative seats in a yet-to-be-formed transitional parliament.

A cabinet reshuffle is expected to be announced next week, the state’s official news agency SUNA reported late Wednesday.