The Sudanese Military Council released 235 prisoners on Thursday 4th July, who are fighters from the Sudan Liberation Movement led by Minni Minawi. The decision to release the active armed prisoners/rebels came after Sudanese authorities recently renewed peace talks which involved deputy chairman of Sudan’s TMC, Mohamed Hamdan “Hemeti”, and Minni Minawi in N’Djamena, Chad’s capital through mediation by the president of Chad, Idris Deby.
“This shows us clearly that we are partners and not our enemies. With cooperation and understanding we will reach the demands of the people of Sudan,” the deputy chairman of Sudan Liberation Movement, Atom, said. The released prisoners could not hide their joy after regaining their freedom. They are ready to build a better Sudan through mediation and peace treaties with their opposers.
“Today we are really excited. We were in hell under the former regime of the National Congress Party but today we are free from marginalization. We are free,” said Ahmed Hussein, one of the released prisoners. His fellow, Ali added, “I salute the Sudan Liberation Movement in addition to that we are still the revolutionary because we need freedom and we will achieve it God willing. Freedom, justice and peace.”
In 2003, a conflict arose at Darfur in the western part of Sudan following resistance to Omar Al Bashir’s Arab dominated government. Bashir’s regime was heading Sudan on a downward troll both economically and politically. In fact, the rebelling groups termed it as marginalization. Though Al Bashir’s managed to sign peace treaties with some of the groups which later on reconciled, other groups like the Liberation Armed Movement and Sudan Liberation Movement could not relent.
Upon the release of the 235 prisoners, former Sudanese Liberation Movement-Transitional Council (SLM-TC), Nimir, said that the prisoners went through hell at Karari prison. There was inadequate medical care at El Huda prison which is located at the city of Umm Duman, west of Sudan’s capital Khartoum. This resulted in the death of 10 prisoners and suffering of several others. Indeed their release was a breath of fresh air to Sudanese politics.
Sudan authorities carried out this exercise in efforts to hold peace talks with rebel groups who have caused endless wars in Sudan. This is a remarkable step in realizing change since a willingness to involve the rivals in talks means that democracy and citizenship are possible in Sudan. The head of the Secretary Committee of the Transitional Military Council, General Jamal Omar praised the release of the prisoners. He, however, urged them to participate in dialogue and a positive reconciliation that will bring integration in Sudan’s politics.
The 235 militia armed prisoners were released by Lieutenant General Abdufattah Al Burhan to give even grounds for peace talks between the two movements. Al Nazir Nemr, another delighted ex-prisoner is happy that he’s finally off the prison corners. He says, “We seek to establish a one-country nation and democratic rule and to bring totalitarianism to an end. We hope to eliminate the injustice against which we took arms and fought against the Bashir government until I was imprisoned on 25th July 2017 in Darfur.”