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Sudan People's Liberation Movement–North

Sudan People's Liberation Movement–North
الحركة الشعبية لتحرير السودان-الشمال
LeadersAbdelaziz al-Hilu
Malik Agar
Yasir Arman
Founded2011 (2011)
Split fromSudan People's Liberation Movement
IdeologyNew Sudan
National affiliationSudan Revolutionary Front
National Assembly
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Council of States
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Party flag

The Sudan People's Liberation Movement–North (Arabic: الحركة الشعبية لتحرير السودان-الشمال, romanizedHarakat Al-Sha'abia Li-Tahrir Al-Sudan-Al-Shamal), or SPLM–N, is a political party and militant organisation in the Republic of Sudan, based in the states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan. The group's armed forces are formally known as the Sudan People's Liberation Army–North or SPLA–N. As of 2017, its two factions, SPLM-N (Agar) and SPLM-N (al-Hilu) were engaged in fighting each other and against the government of Sudan,[1] and as of 2023, the al-Hilu faction is fighting the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), while the leader of the Agar faction was appointed into the military-run government.[2]



The SPLM-N was founded by the organizations of the predominantly South Sudanese Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army that remained in Sudan following the South Sudanese vote for independence in 2011.[3] Despite the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, a low-level conflict continued in Republic of Sudan. Conflict with the central authorities has led al-Bashir to ban the party.[4] South Sudan is also said to support SPLA-N operations in Sudan, just as Sudan supports anti-government groups in South Sudan.

2011 resumption of conflict

South Kordofan

On 19 July 2011, shortly after the independence of South Sudan/ Nuba Mountains the SPLM-N in South Kordofan and the Justice and Equality Movement of Darfur conducted a coordinated attack against the Sudanese army at Pisea, south of the state capital of Kadugli.[5] In August, Radio Dabanga reported that the rebels were gaining ground against government forces. The conflict has led to the displacement of nearly 400,000 residents of the Nuba Mountains and surrounding areas.[6]

Blue Nile

Disputes over the rightful government of Blue Nile State led to a resumption of violence in late August/early September 2011.[7] In September and October the SPLA-N formed a government based in Kurmuk, which took control of large parts of the state.[8] The conflict in the Blue Nile has raised fears of a new refugee crisis and a return to civil war.[9][10]

In September 2012, Amnesty International reported that SPLM-N teacher and activist Jalila Khamis Koko was summoned by a prosecutor for six charges, primarily relating to state security. The organization stated that she appeared to be "held solely for her humanitarian work and for the peaceful expression of her views", and designated her a prisoner of conscience.[11] She was released after a court hearing on 20 January 2013.[12]

2017 split

In mid-2017, the SPLM-N split between a faction led by Abdelaziz al-Hilu and one led by Malik Agar. Fighting between the two factions in the Blue Nile included the killing of an SPLM-N (Agar) army major by the SPLM-N (al-Hilu). SPLM-N (Agar) secretary-general Ismail Khamis Jallab claimed that SPLM-N (al-Hilu) had refused mediation efforts.[1]

A key factor motivating the split was that al-Hilu's group insisted on including the establishment of a secular state in negotiations with the al-Bashir government of the time, while Agar's group disagreed. In the 2019–2020 Sudanese Revolution phase of the Sudanese peace process, the SPLM-N (al-Hilu) continued to insist on secularisation of the state as a requirement for a peace deal.[13]

Sudanese peace process

The August 2019 Draft Constitutional Declaration, signed by military and civilian representatives during the 2018–19 Sudanese Revolution, requires that a peace agreement for resolving the War in Darfur and the Sudanese conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile be made within the first six months of the 39-month transition period to democratic civilian government.[14][15] As part of the resulting Sudanese peace process, on 18 October, after a three-hour negotiating session mediated by a South Sudanese mediation team, Amar Daldoum, on behalf of the SPLM-N (al-Hilu) and Shams al-Din Khabbashi, on behalf of the Sovereignty Council signed an agreement on political, security and humanitarian procedures. The agreement was cosigned by the chair of the mediation team, Tut Galwak. The SPLM-N (al-Hilu) and the Sovereignty Council planned to develop a Declaration of Principles to organise continuation of the peace process and to present their political vision.[16]

On 24 January political and security agreements,[17] constituting a framework agreement, were signed by the Sovereignty Council and Ahmed El Omda Badi on behalf of SPLM-N (Agar).[18] The agreements give legislative autonomy to South Kordofan and Blue Nile; propose solutions for the sharing of land and other resources; and aim to unify all militias and government soldiers into a single unified Sudanese military body.[17] On 18 August 2020, the SPLM-N and the Sudanese government signed an agreement to integrate the rebels into the army within 39 months.[19]

The SPLM-N (Agar) and SPLM-N (al-Hilu) factions signed a comprehensive peace agreement with the Transitional Government of Sudan on 31 August 2020 and 3 September 2020 respectively,[20] and both factions will now participate in the transition to democracy in Sudan through peaceful means. Under the terms of the agreement, the factions that signed will be entitled to three seats on the sovereignty council, a total of five ministers in the transitional cabinet and a quarter of seats in the transitional legislature. At a regional level, signatories will be entitled between 30 and 40% of the seats on transitional legislatures of their home states or regions.[21][22]

2023 Sudan conflict

During the 2023 Sudan conflict, Malik Agar was appointed as deputy head of the Transitional Sovereignty Council on 19 May by de facto leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan. He replaced General Mohamed Hamdan "Hemedti" Dagalo, who launched the conflict in April as leader of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).[23]

On 8 June, the SPLM-N (al-Hilu) began mobilizing around Kadugli, moving into several army camps and prompting the SAF to reinforce its positions despite an RSF blockade.[24] This prompted fears of a new front in the conflict despite the group regularly agreeing to annual ceasefire agreements.[25]

On 21 June, the SPLM-N (al-Hilu) broke its ceasefire agreement and attacked Sudanese army units in South Kordofan, particularly in Kadugli and in al-Dalanj, the latter coinciding with an attack by the RSF. The army claimed to have repelled the attacks,[26] while the rebels claimed to have attacked in retaliation for the death of one of their soldiers at the hands of the SAF and vowed to free the region from "military occupation."[27] On 25 June, the group attacked SAF positions in Kurmuk, Blue Nile State, near the border with Ethiopia.[28][29]

In July, despite an appeal by South Sudanese President Salva Kiir to cease its attacks,[30] the SPLM-N (al-Hilu) seized several army garrisons and an oil field in South Kordofan[31] and blocked the road leading from Karkal to Kadugli. It also launched another attack in Kurmuk.[32]

Speculation arose as to whether al-Hilu's attacks were part of an unofficial alliance between him and the RSF or an attempt to strengthen his position in future negotiations concerning his group.[30] Civil society organizations supporting the SPLM-N claimed its operations sought to protect civilians from possible attacks by the RSF.[33]

Aims and ideology

The party describes itself as "a Sudanese national movement that seeks to change the policies of the centre in Khartoum and to build a new centre for the benefit of all Sudanese people regardless of their religion, gender or ethnicity background".[34] Since the resumption of conflict, the party has called for negotiations and a ceasefire, however some leaders of the SPLA-N have warned of a potential second partition of Sudan.[35]

Groups and factions

SPLM-N (Agar)

As of 2017, the SPLM-N (Agar) faction of the party is chaired by Malik Agar and Ismael Jallab is the secretary-general.[36]

SPLM-N (al-Hilu)

As of 2017, Abdelaziz al-Hilu heads the SPLM-N (al-Hilu) faction.[1]

SPLM-N (Arman)

As of May 2019, Yasir Arman was the deputy chair of SPLM-N (Agar) until he split 'amicably' from the group in August 2022 following disagreements with Agar over the October 2021 coup, to form the SPLM-N (Arman) faction.[37]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "SPLM-N Agar warns against renewed fighting with al-Hilu in Blue Nile". Sudan Tribune. 2017-12-16. Archived from the original on 2019-12-19. Retrieved 2019-12-19.
  2. ^ "Sudan's Burhan sacks paramilitary leader as his deputy". BBC. Retrieved 19 May 2023.
  3. ^ "Refinansiering av Forbrukslån Uten Sikkerhet via Splm".
  4. ^ Mahr, Krista (20 October 2011). "In Crumbling Sudan: Dodging Bombers with the Rebels of Blue Nile". Time World. Time. Archived from the original on October 20, 2011. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  5. ^ McConnell, Tristan. "Sudan rebels join forces against Khartoum". Global Post. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  6. ^ "SPLA-North gaining ground in South Kordofan". Radio Dabanga. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  7. ^ Boswell, Alan (2 September 2011). "Sudan's Conflict Spreads: Is This the Start of a New Civil War?". Time World. Time. Archived from the original on September 3, 2011. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  8. ^ -Radio Dabanga. "SPLA-N in Control Several Blue Nile Areas". Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  9. ^ Maasho, Aaron (14 October 2011). "Sudan's Blue Nile conflict forces painful return to Ethiopia". Reuters Africa. Reuters. Archived from the original on 17 October 2011. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  10. ^ "25,000 flee Sudan's troubled Blue Nile to Ethiopia". AFP. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  11. ^ "Activist and teacher faces death penalty" (PDF). Amnesty International. 25 September 2012. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  12. ^ "Sudan releases prisoner of conscience". Amnesty International. 20 January 2013. Archived from the original on 21 January 2013. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  13. ^ "Al-Mahdi rejects linking peace in Sudan to secular state". Sudan Tribune. 12 January 2020. Archived from the original on 2020-01-13. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  14. ^ FFC; TMC (2019-08-04). "(الدستوري Declaration (العربية))" [(Constitutional Declaration)] (PDF). (in Arabic). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2019-08-05. Retrieved 2019-08-05.
  15. ^ FFC; TMC; IDEA; Reeves, Eric (2019-08-10). "Sudan: Draft Constitutional Charter for the 2019 Transitional Period". Archived from the original on 2021-04-28. Retrieved 2019-08-10.
  16. ^ "SPLM-N El Hilu, Sudan govt agree on peace talks roadmap". Radio Dabanga. 2019-10-18. Archived from the original on 2019-10-21. Retrieved 2019-10-21.
  17. ^ a b Dumo, Denis; Miriri, Duncan; Graff, Peter (2020-01-24). "Sudan signs initial political and security deal with rebel group". Thomson Reuters. Archived from the original on 2020-01-24. Retrieved 2020-01-24.
  18. ^ "Sudan govt. rebels sign framework agreement in Juba". Radio Dabanga. 2020-01-26. Archived from the original on 2020-01-26. Retrieved 2020-01-27.
  19. ^ Dumo, Denis (2020-08-21). "SPLM-N El Hilu, Sudan govt agree on peace talks roadmap". Reuters.
  20. ^ Michael Atit (4 September 2020). "Sudan's Government Agrees to Separate Religion and State". Voice of America. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  21. ^ Reuters
  22. ^ "'Historic agreement' signed by Sudan govt, armed groups in Juba". September 2020.
  23. ^ "Sudan's Burhan sacks paramilitary leader as his deputy". BBC. Retrieved 19 May 2023.
  24. ^ "Rebel mobilization in Sudan raises fears of conflict spreading". al-Arabiya. 9 June 2023. Retrieved 15 July 2023.
  25. ^ "Sudanese army repels SPLM-N attack in South Kordofan". Sudan Tribune. 21 June 2023. Retrieved 15 July 2023.
  26. ^ "South Kordofan residents flee as Sudan war escalates". al-Arabiya. 2023-06-23. Retrieved 2023-06-23.
  27. ^ "Sudan army claims victory over rebel fighters in Blue Nile region". Radio Dabanga. 28 June 2023. Retrieved 15 July 2023.
  28. ^ "Battle For Key Police Base Kills At Least 14 Sudan Civilians". Barron's. 26 June 2023. Retrieved 27 June 2023.
  29. ^ "Sudan army claims victory over rebel fighters in Blue Nile region". Radio Dabanga. 28 June 2023. Retrieved 15 July 2023.
  30. ^ a b "South Sudan president persuades SPLM-N al-Hliu to refrain from attacking Sudanese army". Sudan Tribune. 2023-07-05. Retrieved 2023-07-16.
  31. ^ "Sudan army clashes with RSF and SPLM-N El Hilu in South Kordofan". Radio Dabanga. 18 July 2023. Archived from the original on 19 July 2023. Retrieved 19 July 2023.
  32. ^ "SPLM-N El Hilu launches new attack in Blue Nile region and wins terrain in South Kordofan". Radio Dabanga. 11 July 2023. Retrieved 15 July 2023.
  33. ^ "SPLM-N launches fresh attacks in South Kordofan amid calls for ceasefire". Sudan Tribune. 2023-07-18. Retrieved 2023-07-20.
  34. ^ "Die Welt der Kryptowährungen -".
  35. ^ "PLA-North General warns that Sudan risks further partition". Radio Miraya. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  36. ^ "Malik Aggar to head SPLM in the north", Official website of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (accessed 21 March 2011)
  37. ^ "Agar, Arman agree on "amicable split" of SPLM-N". 19 August 2022.
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Sudan People's Liberation Movement–North
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