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Darfur security committees to re-enforce arms collection

May 8 - 2018 NIERTETI
A number of weapons collected during the arms collection campaign in states of Darfur last year (RD)
A number of weapons collected during the arms collection campaign in states of Darfur last year (RD)

The national committee for the collection of weapons and vehicle registration held a meeting with all security committees from the five states of Darfur in Nierteti.

The national committee, led by Sudan’s Second Vice-President Hasabo Mohamed Abdelrahman, informed the press after the meeting that the goal was to re-mobilise all forces and “harness the possibilities to supplement the national campaign to collect weapons”.

Nearly one year ago, Khartoum announced a large 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.

Now, the vice-president has threatened those who do not collaborate in the process of collection illegal weapons of serious consequences they will face. “There are punishments awaiting some of them to the extent of life imprisonment and execution.

“We are serious in this control and restrict weapons only to the regular forces. They themselves are bound by regulations for carrying weapons.”

Abdelrahman called on the leaders of the legislative councils in Darfur to conduct a campaign to raise awareness in their villages about the consequences for those who keep their illegal weapons, and the seriousness of Khartoum in the protection of villages for voluntary returnees.

Compulsory arms collection

At the end of October, the window for the voluntary handover of weapons ended and compulsory collection began. Darfuri government officials reported that about 30,000 weapons were collected during the voluntary phase. The number of illegal weapons in the region, however. is estimated at about 700,000 pieces.

People in Darfur have repeatedly reported that soldiers of the RSF used violence while carrying out the collection campaign of illegal weapons in the region. In November, following a ‘show of force’ in Kalma camp for displaced people, the hybrid peacekeeping mission Unamid called on the Sudanese authorities to coordinate the search of illegal weapons in the Darfur camps for the displaced with the UN-AU peacekeepers.

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