Damzain: story of dishonoring agreements

By: Ahmed Alhaj (Site Admin)

Damzain, Sudan September (sudanow.info.sd)- For the civilians it was like a preacher giving a sermon about the white lam then suddenly  turning around to open fire on the worshipers. It was an irony to be pondered upon. The occasion was a sport celebration where competition is meant to develop a spirit of peace and tolerance that the man unleashed his bombshell.

The first signs of the rebellion began to unfold in the Blue Nile state when Governor Malik Aggar while  addressing a ceremony that marks the end of a soccer tournament dubbed "The Peace Trophy Tournament " he surprised all by telling youth and students assembled there to "be prepared for war and be ready for fighting." It was all surprising because the event was far from war and killing.

However it seems this was the first message Aggar has sent to his followers in the region: rebellion has started. He coupled his saying with deeds when, he withdrew from the town two days later, and blew up the whole situation in the entire peaceful region.

"In fact the Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA)  has launched that attacked on  the Sudanese Army troops within the Joint Armed Unit, despite the government endeavors to maintain peace and the Presidential decision to observe a unilateral ceasefire which went without positive response, is a clear indication that the Movement was premeditating  to go to war. Sudan has already reported to the UN Security Council , the repeated violations of the peace agreements committed by the Republic of South Sudan. Sudan also complained to the UN body about the support and backing provided by the Government of the Republic of South Sudan for the rebels in South Kordufan and the Blue Nile states." State Minister for Information, Ms Sanaa Hamad argued.

In fact when the Eid -Alfitr prayers ended, the most optimistic of all people would have never expected to bear witness to such a horrifying attack. It terrorized thousands of families, leaving  thousands without shelter. Other people were wondering in the wilderness outside the town. Kids have been deprived to relish the happy occasion of the Eid. Elderly were denied the chance to enjoy the holy days that follow the fasting of Ramadan: the attack were all the more painful because the attack occurred from an unexpected area, a partner.

The picture that followed the attack was bleak: bodies were laying around in the streets, new bridegrooms were denied the right to enjoy their rare happy moments, ululation were suffocated of war and gunshots overshadowed the all other forms of joy. That was on the 28th of August when Malik Aggar said nay to the unilateral ceasefire announced by the President of the Republic in South Kordufan State, in recognition of the holy month of Ramadan, and to allow civilians and displaced persons regain safety.

Aggar's rejection was premeditated and planned. It was not by coincidence that the rejection synchronized with the attack on two areas in South Kordufan, Al- Faidh and Hamdia. These areas are the backyard of South Sudan. The two areas were subjected to a war of attrition, civilians killed and maimed and a message was sent that something was being cooked behind the scene.

Aggar then retreated out of the town of Damzain. He was escorted by his family and his close aids, politicians and members of the legislative Council there. They travelled light, leaving behind their heavy belongings and possessions, a camouflage no doubt. But the Army and the Regular Forces never missed such signs. In fact some citizens leaked that they received instructions to pull out of the town, in preparation for what would happen. And it was clear this was not something good.

Shortly afterwards, that is on the first day of September 2011, a a brigadier, member of Joint Forces on the side of Aggar,  entered through the  southern Port and the Crops Market, in a convoy of trucks. And as it was not a custom to see such a convoy heading for the town, the check pointed had to ask the convey to identify themselves and their whereabouts. But, That question was met with a hail of bullets.

The check pointed took cover and responded, but declined to pursue the vehicles as they were carrying VIP on board.

"It was a surprise to us that the movement started evacuating its military and political leadership from Damazin town to kurmuk, and then just before midnight they attacked members of the joint military unit in the area of Um Durgha, Ulu and taliah." The minister explained in a statement to the Sudan News Agency SUNA.

But that was not the end of the story: eight other attacks were concurrently carried out against army positions. The attacks were led by units of about 800 fighters targeting area of Wad Al Mahi, Ulu, Um Garfa, Dindiro and other villages, terrorizing civilians and spreading chaos in the area. The attack was equally carried out inside the quarters of Erkweit and Al Nahdha and Zuhour, showering them with bullets that do not differentiate between civilian and military or between a child and a grown soldier.

The attack was random at a time most of the civilians were asleep. It was followed by intensive fire against army barracks inside the town: the aim is to initiate as much fear and terror as possible amongst the civilians who opted for peaceful coexistence.

"In such a situation you would not expected from the army but to carry out its duty and do its work. This is why the army and the police took to their duty of defending the security and safety of the civilians," Ms Hamad told SUNA.

She added that it became clear after the first dust of he battled settled own that the plan of the movement was to engage in street warfare inside the towns of the cities in the state. The police have ultimately discovered arms cachets; motorcycle to be used for this purpose as well as it was noted that big numbers of the assailants were dressed in civilian clothes as camouflage disguise.

The plan was that this attack would be coupled by the arrival of forces from outside the town, namely from areas south of the town, that is the Baw, the stronghold of Aggar. The aim was to strangle the town of Damazin. But the plan was foiled by the army which was monitoring the situation. But the question was why has this coordination and attack failed?

"the attack and the coordination failed because the meeting held in South Kordufan, attended by Hilou, Arman and Aggar as well as the Darfur rebel movements, with the intention to carry out a military offensive that covers south Kordufan, Darfur and the Blue Nile in addition to other calculation failed altogether after Sudan submitted a complaint to the Security Council. Added to this were the statement made by the newly appointed US charge D'affaires in the Sudan who expressed hope that the movements should respond in kind to the unilateral ceasefire declared by President Al Bashir.

"These developments pressed the movements into trying to attack and impose a fait accompli situation in the state of Blue Nile. This would be seen within the context that the Republic of Southern Sudan has only physically been declared independent but its forces and its political affiliations are still there in the North, "Obeid Murawih, the official spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said.

But these developments have led to the emergence of a clear cut government position: that if Sudan is endeavoring to achieve peace and to realize stability that would not be at the expense of the security and safety of its citizens and that if such a threat occurs, especially when an aggression lead to the martyrdom of civilians and the injury of other, beside the displacement of others, then it become more imperative for the government to act and to act promptly.


"It was clear from events and documents that we have been able to authenticate, all those actions and operations were coordinated by Aggar in collaboration with South Kordufan and Darfur rebels, and the assistance of the Government of the Republic of south Sudan." The Minister of Communication and official spokesman for the government, Dr Kamal Obeid said.


The Minister added that it appears Aggar and the others have misunderstood the reasons behind the unilateral ceasefire in South Kordufan and which was meant to prevent blood shedding and to protect civilians and at the same time give the rebels time to reconsider their stands.

Thus, with these developments, it goes in line with the constitution and with the law and political common sense when the president of the republic decreed relieving of Aggar as governor and declaring a state of emergency in the state. This is aimed to avert escalation of humanitarian and security in situation in the absence of a leverage that would restore the balance and maintain order. The ultimate objective is that citizens should have confidence in the ability of their government to act promptly when action is needed.





Sudanow is the longest serving English speaking magazine in the Sudan. It is chartarized by its high quality professional journalism, focusing on political, social, economic, cultural and sport developments in the Sudan. Sudanow provides in depth analysis of these developments by academia, highly ...


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