Dozens of people were killed and wounded in bloody battles between the two factions of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), respectively led by Abdelaziz Adam El Hilu and Malik Agar in Sudan’s Blue Nile state this week.
The fighting has also reportedly led to displacement of about 9,000 people to the Wadaka area in El Kurmuk locality, close to the border with South Sudan.
This week the two SPLM-N factions issued two separate statements blaming each other for the bloodshed.
Activists and politicians have expressed concern for the internal fighting between the two sides which has resulted in killings in both sides and civilians’ loss of their property in the conflict areas.
They have called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and protection of civilians.
The SPLM-N factions split following a leadership rift which began in the Nuba Mountains, South Kordofan, in March 2017 after the then Deputy Chairman Abdelaziz El Hilu submitted his resignation.
He accused Chairman Malik Agar and Secretary-General Yasir Arman of controlling the rebel movement arbitrarily, and not representing the movement in the AU-brokered peace talks, in particular concerning the issue of self-determination of the Nuba Mountains.
The SPLM-N’s regional political groups, the entire Nuba Mountains Liberation Council and a part of the Blue Nile Liberation Council then appointed El Hilu as SPLM-N chairman, relieving Agar and Arman from their positions. Various SPLM-N factions in Blue Nile state support the original leadership.
Khartoum has been fighting the SPLM-N in South Kordofan and the Blue Nile, also known as the Two Areas, since 2011.
Both factions have declared unilateral ceasefires in their conflict with the government.