Sunday, December 25, 2011

Rebel Group Leader Khalil Ibrahim Killed In Darfur Region

Profile: Rebel group leader Khalil Ibrahim in Darfur region 2011-12-25 18:15:22

KHARTOUM, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) -- The Sudanese army announced Sunday that Khalil Ibrahim, founder and leader of the rebel group Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in the restive western region of Darfur, had been killed at Wad Banda area in North Kordofan State.

Since the eruption of the Darfur conflict in 2003, the name of Khalil Ibrahim has been associated with the developments that followed in the region.

In a short time, Khalil Ibrahim has transformed from a doctor healing patients to a rebel fighting against the central government in Khartoum under claims of marginalization and lack of development in the region which borders Chad.

Khalil Ibrahim, who is now in his 50s, was born at Tina village (also known as Tine village) in North Darfur on Sudan's border with Chad. Belonging to Zaghawa tribe, he has a blood relation with Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno.

Khalil Ibrahim had his primary school education at Tina village and secondary education at El Fasher high school. He graduated from the Department of Medicine at Gezira University in 1984.

He worked as a doctor for a while in Saudi Arabia but returned to Sudan after Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir assumed power in 1989, and then served as a doctor at Omdurman hospital.

Khalil Ibrahim has assumed many political posts, including Minister of Education in North Darfur State, Adviser of Bahral- Jabel State Government, Minister of Health in North Darfur State, and Minister of Engineering Affairs in Blue Nile State.

During 1989-1999, Khalil Ibrahim was a prominent leader in the People's Defense Forces, formed by the National Salvation Revolution, which fought alongside the government against South Sudan. He was then known as "Emir of the Mujahideen" in the south.

After the fragmentation in the ranks of the Islamic movement between President Omar al-Bashir and Hassan Al-Turabi in 1999, Khalil Ibrahim was among those who sided with al-Turabi.

Khalil Ibrahim defected from the ruling government in 1999 and in the same year issued a book titled "The Black Book" that was secretly circulated. The book contained ethnic assessment of top posts in Sudan, together with accusations that a small number of people were in control of the country while most of the populations, including those in Darfur, were marginalized.

Khalil Ibrahim founded the JEM in 2001, and the movement started its military activity alongside the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) in February 2003.

The movement is considered of Islamic inclination, with most of its supporters belonging to African tribes, particularly the Zaghawa tribe and the Sinnar and Masaleet. The JEM is the second major military and political group in Darfur after the SLA, led by Abdul-Wahid Mohamed Nur who belongs to Fur tribe.

In May 2006, the Sudanese government and the SLA's Minni Arko Minnaw faction signed the Abuja agreement for peace in Darfur, but Khalil Ibrahim refused to join the agreement under the pretext that it did not fulfill the demands of his movement. The SLA's Abdul-Wahid Mohamed Nur faction also refused to join the Abuja agreement.

The JEM allied with other movements rejecting the Abuja agreement in what was known as the "National Salvation Front" against Khartoum.

Following the eruption of unrest on Feb. 17, Khalil Ibrahim left Libya and returned to Sudan.

Editor: Tang Danlu

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