Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army - United Lam Akol (SPLM/A-United Lam Akol) (Sudan)

Country: Sudan
Details of Formation: Lam Akol had previously been a leading member (foreign affairs secretary) of the SPLM/A-United PGM. In February 1994, he was expulsed from the SPLM/A-United. Lam Akol then returned to his home region. After the SPLM/A-United PGM had dissolved in 1994, Lam Akol named his own Shilluk forces SPLM/A-United. This was a different group than the SPLM/A-United PGM (Human Rights Watch). Lam Akol began to approach the government, and in 1997 he signed the Fashoda peace agreement with the Sudanese government. News sources refer to the group as a pro-government militia after that signature. Lam Akol became transport minister in the government.
Details of Termination: In 2002, Lam Akol resigned from the ruling National Congress party and became an important member of the opposition Justice Party. Lam Akol remained in Khartoum, but his alternate commander James Gadwell broke away from the SPLM/A-United Lam Akol and joined the pro-government forces of Paulino Matieb. Despite Lam Akol’s defection to an opposition party, most news sources continued to refer to the SPLM/A-United Lam Akol as a PGM. In October 2003, Lam Akol officially joined the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) of Salva Kiir. One news source mentions that a SPLM/A-United Lam Akol rump faction, led by James Othow, did not defect to the rebels. That news source also mentions that the government sent militiamen to support Othow’s fight against Lam Akol, his former colleague. There is no further evidence on James Othow’s faction beside this one news source. In 2005, Lam Akol was appointed Sudan government’s minister of foreign affairs under the unity government with he SPLM/A. Still, Lam Akol remained SPLM/A member and we consider the SPLM/A a rebel group even after 2005 (for details, cf. Codebook entry).
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Organisation: The commander of the PGM is Lam Akol Ajawin, an ethnic Shilluk. He had been a senior member of the SPLM/A, before he broke away with Riek Machar and Gordon Kong Chuol to form the SPLM/A-Nasir. From 1997 to 2002 Lam Akol served as transport minister and was a member of the ruling National Congress Party. The Fashoda peace agreement, which the PGM signed in 1997, gave it a legal status. The government, especially the minister of federal rule Nafie Ali Nafie had some degree of control over the PGM even without Lam Akol. In 2002, he tried to transform the SPLM/A-United Lam Akol into different factions and organize it as pro-government militia. This by-passing angered Lam Akol who subsequently defected with his force.
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References: Human Rights Watch. 2003. “Sudan, Oil and Human Rights.” ISBN: 1564322912

Information was taken from news sources listed in the PGMD