Sudan Liberation Movement/Army

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Sudan Liberation Movement
Participant in the War in Darfur, the Sudanese conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, and the Second Libyan Civil War
Sudan Liberation Movement logo.gif
Flag of Darfur.svg
Logo and flag of the SLM/A
LeadersMinni Minnawi - SLM (Minnawi)
Abdul Wahid al Nur - SLM (al-Nur)
Area of operationsWestern Sudan (Darfur), southern Libya
Part ofSudan Revolutionary Front
Allies Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (SLA-Unity; until 2011)[1]

The Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (Arabic: حركة تحرير السودانḤarakat Taḥrīr Al-Sūdān; abbreviated SLM, SLA, or SLM/A) is a Sudanese rebel group active in Darfur, Sudan. It was founded as the Darfur Liberation Front[2] by members of three indigenous ethnic groups in Darfur: the Fur, the Zaghawa, and the Masalit,[3] among whom were the leaders Abdul Wahid al Nur of the Fur and Minni Minnawi of the Zaghawa.[3]


General Omar al-Bashir and the National Islamic Front headed by Dr. Hassan al-Turabi overthrew the Sudanese government led by Ahmed al-Mirghani in 1989. A large section of the population in Darfur, particularly the non-Arab ethnicities in the region, became increasingly marginalized.[4][5] These feelings were crystallized by the publication in 2000 of The Black Book, which detailed the structural inequity in the Sudan that denies non-Arabs equal justice and power sharing. In 2002 Abdul Wahid al Nur, a lawyer, Ahmad Abdel Shafi Bassey, an education student, and a third man founded the Darfur Liberation Front, which subsequently evolved into the Sudan Liberation Movement and claimed to represent all of the oppressed in the Sudan.[2]

Libyan involvement[edit]

Before the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi during the Libyan Civil War (2011), the Libyan Armed Forces were known to support at least parts of the SLM/A, such as the SLA-Unity.[1] In turn, elements of the SLM/A reportedly became involved in the Second Libyan Civil War, fighting for different factions there in exchange for money and equipment. The SLM/A-Minnawi allied itself with the Khalifa Haftar-aligned Libyan National Army (LNA), and fought alongside it in the Battle of Derna (2018–2019), losing several fighters in combat for the town.[6] On 12 January 2019, SLM/A-Minnawi clashed with the Chadian CCMSR rebel group (an enemy of the LNA) at Gatroun in southern Libya.[7] Later that month, the SLM/A was accused by the CCMSR of aiding a LNA offensive in southern Libya.[8]

Groups and factions[edit]

Main factions[edit]

In 2006, the Sudan Liberation Movement split into two main factions, divided on the issue of the Darfur Peace Agreement:

Other smaller splinter groups[edit]

  • Sudan Liberation Movement (Historic Leadership) - this group split from the al-Nur faction and is led by Osman Ibrahim Musa. It signed a peace agreement with the government of South Darfur in January 2011.[14]
  • Sudan Liberation Movement (General Command) - formed in November 2010 by former members of the SLM factions and the former members of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). It is led by Adam Ali Shogar.[15][16]
  • Sudan Liberation Movement (Mainstream) - this group is led by Mohamed Al Zubeir Khamis.[17]
  • Sudan Liberation Movement (Unity) - This group emerged as multi-tribal alliance of rebel groups from northern Darfur after the Abuja peace talks. Though it has no real political plan, the alliance stresses good relations with the people of Darfur and rejected Minnawi's faction for its attacks on civilians. In general, it is poorly armed and rather weak.[1] At least one faction of the SLM-Unity joined the Sudan Liberation Forces Alliance (SLFA) in 2017.[18]
    • SLA-Unity (1) - The main sub-faction, led by several commanders with Abdalla Yahya, Ahmad Kubbur, and Sherif Harir being the most notable. SLA-Unity (1) was weakened by defections to JEM in 2009, but claimed they have recovered from that setback later on.[1]
    • SLA-Unity (2) - A splinter group led by Mahjoub Hussein, a former commander in the Minnawi faction and the leader of the short-lived "Greater Sudan Liberation Movement". Supported by Libya, he claimed to be the new leader of SLA-Unity in 2009, but managed to rally almost none of Unity group's militias to his cause.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Sudan Liberation Army-Unity" (PDF). Small Arms Survey. July 2010. Retrieved 3 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b Flint, Julie and De Waal, Alexander (2008) Darfur: A New History of a Long War Zed Books, London, p. 90, ISBN 978-1-84277-949-1
  3. ^ a b "BBC News - Who are Sudan's Darfur rebels?". Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  4. ^ Flint, Julie and De Waal, Alexander (2008) Darfur: A New History of a Long War Zed Books, London, pp. 16-17, ISBN 978-1-84277-949-1
  5. ^ Jok, Jok Madut (2007) Sudán: Race, Religion and Violence Oneworld, Oxford, p. 4 ISBN 978-1-85168-366-6
  6. ^ Safa Alharath (17 June 2018). "Sudanese rebels are fighting alongside Dignity Operation in Libya's Derna". Libya Observer. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  7. ^ Jamal Adel (19 January 2019). "Terror suspects killed in large LNA operation in south Libya". Libya Herald. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  8. ^ "La rébellion tchadienne "préoccupée par la situation sécuritaire délétère" en Libye". Al Wihda. 3 February 2019. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  9. ^ "Darfur Peace Agreement Fact Sheet" Office of the Spokesman, U.S. Department of State, May 2006, from Internet Archives
  10. ^ "Minawi announces withdrawal from Abuja Agreement". Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  11. ^ "Four Darfur armed movements to enter peace negotiations together". Radio Dabanga. 2019-09-02. Archived from the original on 2019-09-12. Retrieved 2019-09-12.
  12. ^ Staff (December 2006) "No Dialogue, No Commitment: The Perils of Deadline Diplomacy for Darfur" Sudan Issue Brief Number 4, p. 3, Human Security Baseline Assessment, Small Arms Survey, Geneva, Switzerland, from Internet Archives
  13. ^ "IDPs says security in Darfur remains unchanged". Sudan Tribune. 2019-11-15. Archived from the original on 2019-11-16. Retrieved 2019-11-16.
  14. ^ "Account Suspended". Archived from the original on 17 March 2012. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  15. ^ "مفكرة الإسلام : قيادات ميدانية بدارفور تنشق عن حركة الع". 10 November 2010. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Account Suspended". Archived from the original on 21 September 2011. Retrieved 17 December 2014.
  18. ^ "Three Darfur factions establish new rebel group". Sudan Tribune. 7 July 2017. Retrieved 20 July 2017.

External links[edit]