Sudan: A former rebel leader appointed governor of Darfur

Minni Minnawi, a former rebel leader of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), was appointed governor of Darfur on Sunday, May 2, by the Sudanese Prime Minister. He becomes the highest-ranking state official in the province, which is still torn apart by violence.
The choice is not a surprise. The name of Minni Minnawi had been circulating since the beginning of the year. The 52-year-old former educator, an early rebel and former adviser to deposed President Omar al-Bashir, and a native of North Darfur (from the Zaghawa tribe), was also an official candidate for the position.
He had already held a similar position between 2006 and 2010. At the time, Minni Minnawi complained about the lack of cooperation from the former government, before leaving. But today, the context is quite different. Several foreign representatives based in Khartoum have welcomed this appointment as further progress in the implementation of the peace agreement. The compromise signed in Juba provided for the appointment of a governor for all of Darfur, currently divided into five regions, as a step towards the future federal Sudan envisaged in the document.
After his appointment, Minni Minnawi himself said he hoped to “work well” with the transitional authorities. No law has specified his prerogatives, but it is known that he will have to organize, as soon as possible, a conference on Darfur, where the situation is very worrying. The province is experiencing regular ethnic clashes with localities under attack.
The last ones were in April. They left 130 people dead. According to OCHA, more than 230,000 people have been displaced since the beginning of the year in Darfur. A joint force of soldiers and former rebels – still not in place – and the main Darfuri rebel group, Abdelwahid Al Nur’s SLA, still refuse to negotiate. The movement considers the former rebels as opportunists who signed the peace agreement to gain power.
Minni Minnawi had been Abdelwahid Al Nur’s assistant in the early 2000s. We will see if this old collaboration will be useful, twenty years later.

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Khalid Al Mouahidi : A binational from the US and Morocco, Khalid El Mouahidi has worked for several american companies in the Maghreb Region and is currently based in Casablanca, where he is doing consulting jobs for major international companies . Khalid writes analytical pieces about economic ties between the Maghreb and the Mena Region, where he has an extensive network