Army recruiting drive to counter rebels in East Darfur

Central Darfur state is mobilising civilians to fight the armed rebel groups. Military training is the only way to cope with the repeated attacks by militiamen, a North Darfur locality commissioner said.

Central Darfur state is mobilising civilians to join the fighting against the armed rebel movements, a number of residents reported from Zalingei, the capital of the state.

“Border guards cruised through the villages around Zalingei in the past two weeks, asking people to join the fight against the armed movements in East Jebel Marra,” a citizen of Zalingei said. He stressed that the people do not share a connection to the fighting or political issues.

Several residents of Zalingei said they witnessed the arrivals of dozens of heavily armed vehicles to the city one week ago. “Men in about 45 Land Cruisers started collecting volunteers to join the military forces. They were led by Central Darfur militia leader Burhan,” Koran scholar and Sheikh Matar Younis claimed.

“Their mobilisation campaign is targeted at all sons, in particular those of nomadic shepherds, to fight in Guldo, in western Jebel Marra.” This is the territory of rebel leader Abdel Wahid El Nur of the SLM-AW. But not many have responded, Younis said. He called upon the people to refrain from joining the army. “Any war means more bloodshed and destruction of villages.”

“The only way for the people to cope with the militiamen's attacks, is to complete a military training, Tawila's commissioner told us”

The commissioner of Tawila, Mohamed Ahmed Abdallah, paid a visit tow Tawila town on Wednesday, according to Omda Mukhtar Bosh. “Ahmed Abdallah listened to the complaints the people raised, about the abuses by militiamen in the area.

“He claimed that the only way to cope with this problem, is to train 3,000 men with the Popular Defence Forces, so they can eventually protect themselves and their villages.” Bosh explained that the people agreed to doing this. “But on the condition that the training will take place in Tawila locality, and not in El Fasher.”