‘6,000 young Darfuris recruited by Khartoum’: sources
Sources from Darfur and Kordofan states have confirmed that the Sudanese security authorities have recruited and mobilised large numbers of young people from those states and transferred them to training camps in Khartoum and River Nile states.
Speaking to Radio Dabanga, sources acknowledged that some 6,000 young Darfuri men have been “recruited by Khartoum as fuel for war in the name of Jihad”.
However, a witness asserted that “most of the sons of Darfur do not want to repeat the experiences of the past with the Popular Defence Forces and Mujahedeen”.
“The government has failed to recruit many young men of Darfur and Kordofan for the army and Central Reserve Forces (Abu Tira), but the government has resorted to tempting them with recruitment in the security apparatus because of its attractive salaries and privileges,” a source said.
The military spokesman of the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement’s Minni Minawi faction (SLM-MM), Adam Saleh, called via Radio Dabanga on all young people in Sudan not to respond to what he described as “a second deception after they were deceived the first time and turned into fuel for war in the name of Jihad."
Background on government armed forces in Sudan:
Sudan Armed Forces (SAF)
The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) is a conventional armed force with a mandate to protect and to maintain internal security. It carries out its mandate mainly through ground forces, including Popular Defence Force (PDF) militia, as well as an air force and navy. The Supreme Commander of the armed forces, Marshall Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir, holds both the posts of National President and Commander-In Chief of the Armed Forces and People’s Defence Forces (PDF). He exercises his power through the Minister of Defence Major General Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein. He appoints the Chief of General staff Lieutenant general Ismat Abdel Rahman being the Commander of the Armed Forces together with five Deputy Chiefs of Staff for Operations, Intelligence, Logistics, Administration, Training and Morale. The air force and navy are separate services under the commander-in-chief.
Military Intelligence (Istikhbarat El Askariyya)
Military Intelligence (Istikhbarat El Askariyya) is a branch of the General Staff with its own administration and command. Under emergency laws, it has the power to arrest, detain and interrogate. With regard to communication and reporting, it passes information through the operational chain, as well as directly to the Presidency.
Border Intelligence Guards – Border Guards (BIG), (Istikhbarat El Hudud)
Border Intelligence Guards (BIG) now called border guards. It is part of the Military Intelligence and headquartered in Khartoum with the primary role of which is to monitor and gather information in the border area, mainly Darfur. Members of this unit are recruited from the local population. They are deployed to their areas of origin, according to their experience in the area, knowledge of the tribes, and ability to differentiate between people of different tribal and national origins based on local knowledge. Border Intelligence guards are under the operational control of the Military Intelligence Officers in the particular Division where they are deployed and otherwise fall under the regular chain of command for the armed forces. They were initially considered to become the elite, with military identity cards and monthly salaries. While initially border guards officers were recruited in relation to the conflict in southern Sudan, the Government began recruiting them during the early stages of the armed conflict in Darfur in late 2002 and early 2003. Apparently, border guards soldiers are recruited directly into the army in the same way as regular soldiers. In the past advertisements were made through media channels for volunteers.
Popular Defence Forces (PDF) - (El Difa’ El Shaabi)
The PDF are locally based, organised, trained, and equipped Islamists units raised by the government to protect local communities. The PDF are defined by the Popular Defence Forces Act of 1989.They were mainly mobilised from Darfur, sending tens of thousands of Darfuris to fight against southern rebels. It is operational in Darfur and Southern Kordofan. In addition it plays a major role in the distribution of weapons to, and military training for, tribal militias. When rebellion was declared in Darfur in 2003, the PDF was the first paramilitary force to be mobilised. Army headquarters urged local officials to mobilise and recruit forces through tribal leaders and sheikh. The UN Panel of Experts on Sudan has reported that PDF recruits come under regular army command once integrated into the regular army for operations, and normally wear the same uniform as the unit into which they are inducted. In 2011 three battalions of PDF were dispatched to North and South Darfur early in 2011 to spearhead an offensive against the armed movements of East Jebel Marra. The local PDF units are answerable to the governor of North Darfur, Osman Kibir. The active part of this paramilitary force is estimated between 35,000 -45,000. Currently the lines between PDF and the Border Guards are blurred. Both received training at the Misteriha barracks in North Darfur and went on operations together. The PDF is receiving uniforms, guns, ammunition, and food, but no salaries. The Small Arms Survey authenticated PDF arms including 12- and 40-barrel rocket launchers, Howitzer shells, D-30 shells, 100 mm and 130 mm artillery shells and portable, shoulder-fired SAM-7 surface-to-air missiles.
National Security (NISS)
National Security and Intelligence Service (NISS) is not part of the Sudan Armed Forces but is part of the Ministry of Interior, formed in February 2004 as a move to create one unified service dealing with both internal and external intelligence. Its main headquarter is in Khartoum and is headed by a Director-general who is appointed by the President. The previous Director-General, Major-general Salah Abdallah (also known as Salah Gosh) who was detained for being involved in an alleged coup attempt, had to report at least every second day to the President (not the minister of interior). Its mandate derives from the National Security Force Act (NSF).
The term Janjaweed has been widely used to describe the attackers (the words fursan -horsemen, knights- or mujahedeen). The term was used by the Security Council in resolution 1564. Victims of attacks have indicated that the Janjaweed were acting with and on behalf of Government forces, but no formal evidence has been provided. “Janjaweed” is a generic Darfuri term that can be translated as “bandits”. Historically, this word describes armed horsemen performing ‘pogroms’ against farmers and villagers. They were spontaneous militias or self-defence forces (nomads or farmers) often armed by the government. Currently, Central Reserve Police troops (locally known as Abu Tira) operating in the Darfur are often identified by its victims as Janjaweed.
Central Police Reserve/Central Reserve Forces (El Ittihad El Markazi), (Abu Tira)
The Central Reserve Police (CRP) are combat-trained forces, known in Darfur as ‘police soldiers’ and armed with weapons not used by regular police. These include light and heavy machine guns, RPG7s, 82 mm mortars and, when they participate in joint combat operations under the tactical control of the Sudanese Army, reportedly also 105 mm and 130 mm artillery. They drive Land Cruisers mounted with 12.7 mm machine guns. The CRP has become increasingly important in the conflict in Darfur (and neighbouring Kordofan), and like other forces, members have staged visible protests, including against alleged non-payment of salaries accusing the government of ‘deceiving’ them. They said they would join the armed opposition movements in fighting against the government. In 2004, the CRP opened a training centre in North Darfur by Musa Hilal. Victims call them ‘Janjaweed’ for example in May 2008 after an attack on a camp for displaced persons in Tawila, in North Darfur. Representatives of the local community complain ever since about killings, violent assaults and rapes that occurred during attacks. During the attacks in Nyala, July 2013 they were mixed with Border Guards targeting National Security Forces, NGOs, police forces and the Sudan Armed Forces.
Main sources used:
- Reports of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur to the United Nations Secretary-General
Pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1564 of 18 September 2004:
- Sudan Human Security Baseline Assessment, Small Arms Survey, Geneva (Switzerland)
- Radio Dabanga reports
File photo: Sudan’s President Omar Al Bashir inspects a parade of the Sudanese Armed Forces
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