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26 dead as Sudanese militia, human traffickers clash

September 24 - 2017 KHARTOUM / SARAF OMRA
Migrants crossing the Sahara desert into Libya from Agadez, Niger (Joe Penney/Reuters)
Migrants crossing the Sahara desert into Libya from Agadez, Niger (Joe Penney/Reuters)

At least 26 people were killed in a clash between Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and militiamen on the Sudanese-Libyan border last week.

The dead include Suleiman Daoud, a bodyguard of former janjaweed leader Musa Hilal.

Lt. Col. Hassan Abdallah, RSF Field Commander told the official Sudan News Agency (SUNA) on Friday that his militiamen clashed with members of “the largest armed gang operating in human trafficking and illegal immigration” on the Sudanese-Egyptian-Libyan border on Thursday. Seventeen traffickers and two RSF troops were killed, and six others were injured.

Abdallah further reported the arrest of “seven gang leaders”, and 48 migrants on their way to Libya (three Bangladeshi, eight Somalis, 11 Syrians, 16 Ethiopians, and 10 people from the Comoros) and the seizure of six armoured vehicles, a ZY vehicle, and 10 cell phones.

The spokesman for Musa Hilal’s Revolutionary Awakening Council (RAC), Haroun Medeikheer, confirmed the killing of Hilal’s relatives and militiamen, along with militant tribesmen from the Zayadiya and Kababish on Thursday.

He denied that the men were smugglers, and spoke about “traders” instead..

In early August, the RSF held Mohamed El Rayes, a bodyguard of Hilal, and six members of the Border Guards on their return from Libya.

According to Medeikheer, the seven men had visited Libya for personal reasons. He called on the RSF to stop monitoring the Border Guards and warned that the detention “will lead to undesirable consequences”.

Visit

In a statement early last week, the spokesman for the RAC condemned the visit of the Sudanese president to Darfur.

“The president is not welcome. He is wanted by the people of Darfur, because he has brought to them only war, death and destruction,” Medeikheer said.

“Al Bashir’s visit to the region will be useless and full of false promises,” he added, pointing to the president’s former visits.

The spokesman described the government’s disarmament campaign in Darfur as “a right word meant to do wrong. It is an attempt to deceive the international community, especially America. Al Bashir wants to convince the world that the war has ended and that they have collected all illegal weapons in the region”.

“There are more weapons in Khartoum than in Darfur,” he claimed.


 


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