Saturday, March 21, 2009

Interesting analysis of JEM from African Confidential

Especially noting that Muhajiriyya was disaster for JEM politically. Very hard for me to evaluate this kind of reporting, without being an insider.
The SLM/A-Abdel Wahed sent senior commanders to Muhajeriya, including its number three commander, Abdel Rahman 'Terrada', to help settle the tensions. Yet the damage had been done. Minni had been undermined by reckless ground command and control and JEM was now in a position in which Muhajeriya had to remain under its control, since it was strategically essential to appear as a well-organised front. JEM does not usually hold territory.

JEM was on unfamiliar ground, politically and geographically. Almost immediately, the government organised a mixed Janjaweed/Sudanese army assault on the town. JEM not only fended this off, it obliterated the attackers, killing some 150 men and shooting down one or possibly two attack helicopters, which crashed on a column of Janjaweed. JEM was becoming a group seen as fighting for the people of Darfur, a group that could fight a major government offensive and win, something not seen for a long time. In addition, JEM could state it was protecting civilians, as the government had been targeting the Zaghawa community of Muhajeriya for years with repeated Janjaweed attacks.

The pressure became too much. JEM leaders told people to leave, though key members are reported to have refused, Muhajeriya-born Bakhit being one of them. JEM left on the eve of a huge government offensive and the next morning their departing forces were bombed en route to the north.

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