London, Asharq Al-Awsat- Dr Khalil Ibrahim, the leader of the Justice and Equality Movement [JEM] who is currently being pursued by Sudanese security forces after Saturday’s attack on the Sudanese capital, said his forces have carried out successfully the “Long Arm” operation in Khartoum. He said in an interview via satellite phone with Asharq Al-Awsat that he led the battles himself and returned safely with being caught. He said he was “ready for a new phase in the struggle”.
Ibrahim was contacted from London through a three-way link via JEM’s spokesman Ahmad Hussein. “I am now in the middle of my forces and people, having tea,” he said. “I learned they are pursuing me in Khartoum, and I defy this group to come and face us.” A Sudanese Government source said Ibrahim was now on the Chadian-Sudanese borders, in Hur valley, and that government forces were hounding him. He said Ibrahim has asked N’Djamena to send a plan to evacuate him to Chad. “Khartoum and N’Djamena each in its own way are in a race to get him,” he said.
Meanwhile Sudanese President Umar Bashir announced breakage of negotiations and dialogue with JEM and “renegade agents” because of Saturday’s attack. He addressed thousands of supporters who converged at the General Army Command headquarters yesterday [ 14 May], emphasizing that JEM was pursuing foreign agendas that have nothing to do with Darfur. “They brought children and paid them money to go and occupy Khartoum,” he said.
Two military experts confirmed to Asharq Al-Awsat that there was inadequacy in the work of the Sudanese Armed Forces and security bodies and that this led to losses and to delays in dealing with the raiding forces. Former Sudanese Army spokesman General Muhammad Bashir Suleiman told Asharq Al-Awsat that the military performance with which the Sudanese forces faced the JEM rebels was not well planned and suffered from weakness of intelligence information and analysis.