Khartoum Warns Juba Against Supporting JEM Rebels

Sudan and South Sudan often trade accusations of harboring rebels
Sudan and South Sudan often trade accusations of harboring rebels seeking to destabilize the other, but tensions have spiked again since the collapse of African Union-brokered talks in the Ethiopian capital on Dec. 9

By Sudan Tribune,

THE director of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), Mohamed Atta, has reiterated warning to South Sudan against supporting and funding Sudanese rebels particularly the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).

Last week, Atta, threatened to pursue rebel groups inside the South Sudanese territory, adding they have endured enough Juba support to the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) rebels. He further said they will “pursue them anywhere”.

Also, the Sudan’s foreign ministry spokesperson on Sunday said “the government has documented information” about this support and demanded that Juba swiftly implements the signed agreements, to stop harbouring and supporting the SRF rebels.

Addressed a military parade that included 5,000 of NISS members on Wednesday, Atta repeated that Juba must refrain from harbouring Sudanese rebel groups and named in particular the JEM.

He said that JEM forces are currently present in Khor Shamam and Daim Galad in North Bahr el-Ghazal, pointing they will consider any hostile actions by JEM or any other armed group from inside South Sudan territory an “act of aggression” by Juba.

The Northern Bahr el-Ghazal is close to East Darfur state. The Sudanese authorities say the rebels use a bridge on Bahr al-Arab or Kiir River to cross into the Sudanese territory.

Atta further accused the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) of colluding with Juba in denying presence of Sudanese rebel groups inside South Sudan territory, emphasizing the latter launch military attacks from within South Sudan.

In a report released on 8 April 2014 UNMISS mentioned the presence JEM combatants in Unity state and said they fight the South Sudanese rebels led by former vice-president Riek Machar alongside the SPLA soldiers loyal to president Salva Kiir.

Following the creation of the SRF in 2011, the Sudanese rebel groups established a joint command with a military headquarters in the Nuba Mountains, South Korodfan. Since JEM moved a large number of its fighters to the area from Darfur.

Recently, it is reported that rebel group decided to move its troops back to the western Sudan region ahead of talks on a cessation of hostilities agreement and security arrangements in Darfur.

The chief of the Sudanese intelligence and security services called upon South Sudan’s government to apply principles of good neighborliness and reciprocity by stripping all Sudanese rebel groups of their arms, considering the move would represent “an acceptable solution” to all parties.

The Sudanese official underscored that his government stripped South Sudan’s rebels of their arms and military vehicles when they entered Sudan’s territory.

Reacting to the recent statements by the Sudanese officials, South Sudanese foreign minister, Barnaba Marial Benjamin , blamed Khartoum for raising the issue publicly.

“What is said in the Sudanese press receives different interpretations and generates different feelings from members of our public but we have always found a way to handle it because we know war is not in the best interest of the two countries,” Benjamin said.

Khartoum and Juba continue to trade accusations of support to rebel groups from both sides since the independence of South Sudan in July 2011.

The Cooperation Agreement of 27 September 2012 provides to stop supporting or harbouring rebel groups, to establish a buffer zone on the border and to form a joint monitoring team to prevent rebel infiltration.

However, Juba backtracked last November from implementing the deal, under the pressure of the pastoralists Dinka Malual who fear that the inclusion of 14-Mile area in the demilitarised zone will allow Sudan to disown them the disputed area.