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35 detained in West Kordofan militia raids

April 1 - 2019 SUNUT
RSF militia convoy (File photo)
RSF militia convoy (File photo)

The number of detainees of a disarmament campaign in West Kordofan has risen to 35 people, who are being held in Abu Zabad prison, according to their relatives.

On Wednesday March 27, a hybrid of Sudan’s police, army, and members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the main government militia, reportedly detained people at the Um Kireidem market in Sunut in West Kordofan and took them to the prison of Abu Zabad as part of a campaign “to collect weapons and arrest suspects wanted for criminal offences”.

Relatives of the detainees told Radio Dabanga that joint forces have been carrying out a widespread campaign throughout West Kordofan which includes various areas of El Sunut, under the State of Emergency since Wednesday.

Witnesses told Radio Dabanga the people detained were “held in one of the squares of the market in a humiliating manner”. According to relatives, most people have no connection to previous crimes and did not have weapons.

Two women whose children are reliant on them for milk are included in the group of detainees. Relatives have appealed to the authorities to stop humiliating campaigns such as this.

Disarmament campaign

Last year in July, the Sudanese government announced a disarmament campaign in the country, to begin with in Darfur and Kordofan.

Members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Sudan’s main government militia, and the army were tasked to collect illegal arms and unlicensed vehicles from civilians. In North Darfur alone, more than 12,500 RSF troops were deployed for this purpose.

The phase of the voluntary handover of weapons ended and compulsory collection began in end October. By then, about 30,000 weapons had been collected, out of an estimated 700,000 illegal weapons circulating in Darfur. 

In November 2017, the commander of RSF, deployed more forces for its disarmament campaign in Darfur. This was followed by a re-enforcement campaign in May 2018, announced by the Sudan’s second vice-president.

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