Note: This blog contains excerpts from the report “A Question of Leadership.”
Today, the Enough Project published, “A Question of Leadership: Addressing a Dangerous Crisis in Sudan’s SPLM-N,” by Senior Advisor Dr. Suliman Baldo. The report warns that the worsening political divide among leaders of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), one of Sudan’s main armed opposition movements, is exacerbating communal tensions and the humanitarian crisis in areas under SPLM-N control in Blue Nile and South Kordofan (known as the “Two Areas”). The report calls for immediate action by the divided SPLM-N leaders and the international community to address the rift.
The SPLM-N has served in recent years as a militarily and politically strong and cohesive core of the Sudanese armed opposition coalition.
“What began as an internal political crisis among opposition leaders now threatens to undermine peace negotiations with the Sudanese government, compromise desperately needed humanitarian aid, and unleash dangerous military dynamics that could bring more suffering and death. These divisions have already led to ethnic polarization and violent intercommunal conflicts in areas under the control of the movement in Blue Nile state. Refugees fleeing the conflict in Blue Nile to South Sudan are now caught in the crossfire of intercommunal clashes and confrontations among opposing units of the movement’s army. Each of these ominous signs heightens the urgency for the convening of SPLM-N’s National Convention, the body empowered to designate a fully mandated new leadership for the movement. The new leadership must rapidly deploy to address the current risks to the prospects of lasting peace and democratic transformation in Sudan and to populations in areas controlled by the movement.” – Dr. Suliman Baldo
Baldo argues that urgent efforts are needed to address the split within the SPLM-N before it calcifies. “Regional and international actors with influence should engage constructively, not remain on the sidelines of this dispute,” he writes. “These actors should press the new SPLM-N interim leadership to urgently contain ethnic violence in SPLM-N areas and to address the worsening humanitarian situation in Blue Nile and South Kordofan states. The interim leadership should also expedite the convening of the movement’s national convention so that a fully mandated leadership can reengage in the seriously stalled peace talks with the government.”