The joint force of the armed movements signatory to the Juba Peace Agreement announced the commencement of troop deployments in North Darfur state on Saturday. This preemptive action is aimed at safeguarding civilians from potential threats.
The deployment coincides with the return of a large contingent of Darfurian fighters from Libya to the town of “Um Marahik” north of El Fasher. These fighters have repatriated to western Sudan in anticipation of a possible attack on North Darfur’s capital by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF).
Ahmed Hussein Mustafa, the Joint Force’s spokesman, issued a statement declaring, “The Joint Force announces the initiation of military manoeuvres to expand the scope of troop deployment and enhance preparedness to counter any infringements or attacks on citizens.”
He added that Abboud Adam Khater, a member of the Joint Command Room and Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Gathering of Sudan Liberation Forces (GSLF), accompanied by a delegation of senior leaders, inspected the joint force’s location in the Marahik area. The inspection aimed to assess the fighters’ readiness and welcome “the advance delegation of forces arriving from the desert.”
Mustafa emphasized that “the joint force stands united and remains unaffected by the rumours circulated by those with ulterior motives or seeking its fragmentation.”
He explained that the military leaders provided insights into the reasons for relinquishing neutrality regarding the ongoing conflict between the army and the RSF, emphasizing the crucial role the joint force can play in safeguarding civilians.
It is noteworthy that Al-Taher Hajer, the deposed Sovereign Council member and GSLF leader, had condemned the renunciation of neutrality by Darfur armed groups, viewing it as an alignment with the Sudanese army to combat the Rapid Support Forces.
On November 16, Minni Minawi, leader of the Sudan Liberation Movement, and Gibril Ibrahim, leader of the Justice and Equality Movement, declared the end of their neutrality in the ongoing conflict, confirming their participation in military operations with the army to protect civilians. However, ten days later, during a press conference held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Minawi clarified that his abandonment of neutrality did not imply direct engagement in combat alongside the army. Furthermore, he revealed ongoing communication with the RSF leader.
Source: Sudan Tribune